Evil in Graeco-Roman religion and literature
DOI link for Evil in Graeco-Roman religion and literature
Evil in Graeco-Roman religion and literature book
There is no single principle of evil in Graeco-Roman literature. Rather, both evils and blessings for humans can originate from the gods, fate, or man himself. Not only do gods send evils among mortals, evils are often personified as gods (e.g., Nemesis, Ate), whereas fate remains morally neutral. Even though Greek philosophers were the first to treat evil in an abstract way, ancient Greek literature did not often focus on evil as a central theme; nonetheless, a theodicy of sorts emerges. The origins of evil in Greek and Roman literature are multiple. In Homeric epic, evils are tied closely to what mortal’s experience, with pain as the most basic evil. The sources of evil for humankind are the gods, mortals themselves, and fate. In Hesiod's accounts of early humankind and in Graeco-Roman literature in general, there is a notable lack of discussion of the sources of evil in humans themselves.