Cambridge University Press, 2010
This is the first modern attempt to put aesthetics back on the map in classical studies. James Porter traces the origins of aesthetic thought and inquiry in their broadest manifestations as they evolved from before Homer down to the fourth-century and then into later antiquity, with an emphasis on Greece in its earlier phases. Greek aesthetics, he argues, originated in an attention to the senses and to matter as opposed to the formalism and idealism that were enshrined by Plato and Aristotle and through whose lens most subsequent views of ancient art and aesthetics have typically been filtered. Treating aesthetics in this way can help us reveal the commonly shared basis of the diverse arts of antiquity. Reorienting our view of the ancient vocabularies of art and experience around matter and sensation, this book dramatically changes how we look upon the ancient achievements in these same areas.