'Sadness' in the Ancient Egyptian lexicon: a lexical-semantic analysis of the Lexeme ind
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 22:20 by Madeline Victoria Jenkins
The social constructionist position on emotions argues that emotions are, to an extent, constructed by the cultural and temporal contexts in which they are evoked. In the context of the ancient past, this insight is perhaps even more crucial: as the world of the ancient Egyptians is culturally and temporally removed from the 21st Century context, it cannot be presumed that ancient Egyptian emotions mirrored modern understandings. A method that takes this new insight into perspective is thus needed. The History of Emotions approach aims to examine how emotions (particularly, though not exclusively, via emotion words in textual sources) were conceptualised, triggered and expressed in the past. Considering that the understanding of much of the Egyptian emotional lexicon is imprecise, this Master of Research (MRes) thesis explores the usage of emotion vocabularies in the ancient Egyptian textual record by employing the rigorous analytical apparatus of lexical semantics. Through a case study approach, this research examines a single lexeme belonging to the SADNESS semantic field, namely ind (Wb 1, 102.16-18), and in doing so, directly responds to the limitations in the understanding of the Egyptian emotional lexicon by sharpening its definition. This thesis first elucidates the precise meaning of the lexeme, before examining the usage of ind in the textual record. Such close contextual analysis illuminates how the emotion concept(s) denoted by ind could have been linguistically conceptualised, such as the contextual situations that motivated its usage, the potential experiencers of ind, as well as how ind was expressed and described to be alleviated. Key theoretical concepts from the History of Emotions approach then frame the insights of the lexical-semantic analysis by highlighting the limitations and biases of the Egyptian documentary record. In sum, this research contributes to the growing field of emotion research in Egyptology by shedding light on emotion concepts that are expressed in the Egyptian textual record.