Were the ancient Athenians ever lonely?
The issues around loneliness and social isolation are amongst the most pressing problems facing modern society. In this paper, I ask the question ‘Does loneliness have a history? And if so, how might we write it?’ In attempting to answer this question, I focus on a curious absence in our record. Namely, the seeming absence of loneliness in our records for Classical Athens. This papers examines why loneliness might be so rare in ancient Athens and what the implications of this might be for modern society.
The papers also considers the implications of the scarcity of ‘alone time’ in Athens and how this impacts on the nature of society, the representation of intellectual pursuits, and the aesthetics of divine revelation.