Imagery of psychological motivation in Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica and early Greek poetry
Livingston, James Graham
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This thesis adopts a cognitive-phenomenological approach to Apollonius’ presentation of psychological imagery, thus eschewing the cultural-determinist assumptions that have tended to dominate Classical scholarship. To achieve this, I analyse relevant theories and results from the cognitive sciences (Theory of Mind, agency, gesture, conceptual metaphor), as well as perceived socio-literary influences from the post-Homeric tradition and the various advances (for example, medical) from contemporary Alexandria. This interdisciplinary methodology is then applied to the Argonautica in three large case studies: Medea and the simile of the sunbeam (3.755-60), Heracles and the simile of the gadfly (1.1286-72), and, finally, the poem’s overall psychological portrayal of Jason. In so doing, I show that Apollonius conforms to cognitive universal patterns of psychological expression, while also deploying and deepening his specific culture’s poetic, folk, and scientific models.