The attitude to war and violence in early societies
(January – March 2014)
The way that violence has been used and viewed has always been subject to cultural and social rules. Although the use of violence is sanctioned as legitimate for punishment or in war or even on religious grounds, its unauthorized employment is considered a transgression. Violence was and is only one of many means of exercising power outside legal frameworks; it can be employed by supposed superiors or enemies. In ancient times, it was also believed to be something that could be used by the gods and the spirits of the dead.
The ways in which violence was used by different cultures in ancient times, its underlying forms and contexts, how it was experienced by those affected by it, and how and why it was observed and recorded in written form are questions that academics from the recently established Institute of Classical and Ancient Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz will be considering in this year’s University in the City Hall lecture series.