Simulacrum of Love


  • Maja Sunčič Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis, Fakulteta za podiplomski humanistični študij, Breg 12, 1000 Ljubljana



anciant history, mythology, love


Mourning the absence of the beloved ones causes gradual desintegration of Admetus and Laodameia therefore they have the statue of their deceased beloved made. Euripides treated the motive of female and male statue in Alcestis and in Protesilaos. Protesilaos’ statue has not been as thoroughly debated as has been Alcestis’ although beside Euripides’ treatment of the substitution for the beloved Alcestis of all the version of the myth of Alcestis and Admetus only Alcestis Barcinonensis remotely takes on the issue. Apollodorus and Hyginus treated Protesilaos' statue with the focus on sexual connotations, whereas Lucianus’ version is primarily concerned with the love in absence, which must be resolved with the death of the living lover.

Faced with the fact that the figure of the beloved is only an illusion (phasma), the substitution offers cold delight but it simultaneously endangers both Admetus and Laodameia. Alcestis' simulacrum is a talisman (agalma), whereas Laodameia, after recognising the fakeness of Protesilaos' statue, commits suicide because the substitution is not enough to sustain her alive. The function of the statue as a fetish or a good object depends significantly on gender, because to a man a substitution is not denied, whereas woman’s substitution is taken away and destroyed. The statue represents a materialisation of the invisible beloved, (kolossos) which temporarily allows restraint from death by loving the substitution.


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6. 12. 2003



Scholarly Articles

How to Cite

Sunčič, Maja. 2003. “Simulacrum of Love”. Keria: Studia Latina Et Graeca 5 (2): 85-96.