Some ancient Greek monuments of victory concentrate solely on the depiction of the defeated’s suffering, without showing the victor. Calling upon a spectator with a high degree of aesthetic awareness, they do not seem to incite compassion. The gap between aesthetic attention on one side and and an ethical attitude of compassion on the other gives rise to several questions: is compassion a specific cultural variable? Does the modern, Christian influenced general willingness to overall compassion have any correspondence in antiquity? And if so: what is exactly the difference between modern and ancient compassion? A good basis for an answer can be found in the theory of compassion in Aristotelian rhetoric which itself might also help to a better understanding of the visual representations of suffering.
Luca Giuliani, born in Florence in 1950, teaches Classical Archeology in Munich. 1999 through 2000, he was a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Selected publications: Bildnis und Botschaft: Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Bildniskunst der römischen Republik, Frankfurt 1986; Bilder nach Homer: Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Lektüre für die Malerei, Freiburg 1998; Bild und Mythos: Geschichte der Bilderzählung in der griechischen Kunst, München 2003.