Sound leaves no ruins and no residues, even though it is experienced constantly. It is ubiquitous but fleeting. Even silence has sound, even absence resonates. Sound and the Ancient Senses aims to hear the lost sounds of antiquity, from the sounds of the human body to those of the gods, from the bathhouse to the Forum, from the chirp of a cicada to the music of the spheres.
Sound plays so great a role in shaping our environments as to make it a crucial sounding board for thinking about space and ecology, emotions and experience, mortality and the divine, orality and textuality, and the self and its connection to others. From antiquity to the present day, poets and philosophers have strained to hear the ways that sounds structure our world and identities.
This volume looks at theories and practices of hearing and producing sounds in ritual contexts, medicine, mourning, music, poetry, drama, erotics, philosophy, rhetoric, linguistics, vocality, and on the page, and shows how ancient ideas of sound still shape how and what we hear today. As the first comprehensive introduction to the soundscapes of antiquity, this volume makes a significant contribution to the burgeoning fields of sound and voice studies and is the final volume of the series, The Senses in Antiquity.
"A superb guide to the burgeoning field of sound studies and a fitting capstone to the hugely successful series, The Senses in Antiquity. The range covered is as wide as classical antiquity itself: from embodied, urban, and literary soundscapes to noises emitted by objects to animal cries and intelligible voices to numinous and cosmic echoes, all of this at various pitches and decibel levels, likewise running from the sound of silence to silencing sounds. Antiquity will never sound the same again."
James Porter, University of California, Berkeley, USA
List of figures and audio
List of contributors
Introduction: Sounding Hearing
Shane Butler and Sarah Nooter
Part I. Ancient Soundscapes
1. The Sound of the Sacred
2. Hearing Ancient Sounds Through Modern Ears
3. Sounding Out Public Space in Late Republican Rome
Erika Holter, Susanne Muth, and Sebastian Schwesinger
4. Vocal Expression in Roman Mourning
Part II. Theories of Sound
5. Sound: An Aristotelian Perspective
6. Greek Acoustic Theory: Simple and complex sounds
7. The Soundscape of Ancient Greek Healing
8. Lucretius on Sound
Part III. Philology and Sound
9. Gods and Vowels
Joshua T. Katz
10. The Song of the Sirens Between Sound and Sense
11. Auditory Philology
12. Sounds of the Stage
13. The Erogenous Ear
14. Principles of Sound Reading
Like us, ancient Greeks and Romans came to know and understand their world through their senses. Yet it has long been recognized that the world the ancients perceived, and the senses through which they channelled this information could operate differently from the patterns and processes of perception in the modern world. This series explores the relationship between perception, knowledge and understanding in the literature, philosophy, history, language and culture of ancient Greece and Rome.
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