Research Projects


The Translation of the Emotions: from Greece to Rome

This project aims to investigate the depiction of the emotions in Seneca's Medea by paying particular attention to the ways in which the play can be seen as a rewriting of the Medea of Euripides.

We are interested on one level in the issue of the translation of the emotions from Greek into Latin, in order to try to grasp the origins and nature of Seneca's language of the emotions within its relationship to the broader question of the reception of the Greek language of the emotions in Latin literature and thought.

As a result, we will also be investigating earlier literary uses of the Latin emotional vocabulary in some key writers (especially Vergil and Ovid, who are also working directly with Greek models and paradigms), in order to attempt to integrate Seneca's debt to both Greek tragedy and earlier Latin poetry. We are also investigating the philosophical dimension in Seneca's tragedy. The Medea of Euripides became the focus of intense philosophical investigation, especially by the Stoic Chrysippus, making it necessary to integrate our work on Seneca's literary imitation of Euripides with his possible simultaneous use of Stoicizing readings of the Greek original. Our three key research goals are, therefore:

1) to identify and evaluate the precise nature of the intertextual relationship between Seneca's language of the emotions in his Medea and its Euripidean model
2) to integrate this question of translation into a study of Seneca's use of earlier Latin literary models and their use of emotional vocabulary
3) to investigate the relationship between Seneca's play and Stoic philosophy of the emotions.


Damien Nelis

Institution : University of Geneva


Georgia Tsouni
Post-doctoral Researcher