Brill’s New Pauly

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(525 words)

[German version]

Is there an ancient equivalent to the modern concept of a 'person', and are there parallels to the characteristics associated with 'being a person'? As asked in modern contexts, the question of personhood includes further issues. Is a person's essential self based on their biological makeup or their psychological characteristics (Am I my body or my spirit?)? Is 'being a person' independent of social class, gender and perhaps species (Are animals persons?)? In ancient thought, an important issue was was whether a human being was essentially a ψυχή/psychḗ, 'soul' (sep…

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Gill, Chris (Exeter), “Person”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 20 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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