The Animus Behind Animus: How We Chose Our Name

By Don Harmon & Jonathan Kim

We selected a journal name that exemplified both the wide scope of Classical Studies and our dedication to intellectual curiosity. Ultimately, the Latin word animus was chosen for several reasons. Animus has many definitions, all of which align with our expectations for this journal: it refers to the rational, intellectual soul (humanus animus decerptus ex mente divina), or the life-force of a human being. We also believe that animus shares important associations with various passions and the broad power of emotion itself. The modern English derivatives of animus, such as animation and animosity, retain the active, dynamic sense of the original Latin. As Animus, we hope to present a journal dedicated to intellectual excellence and the enrichment of Classics in all its forms. 

Our logo is a stylized rendering of Aeneid 1.50-83, in which Juno exerts her divine prerogative on Aeolus to break the bonds holding back the roaring winds and unleash a storm over sea, earth, and sky. We believe this image captures the full, multivalent spirit of animus. Juno, as a caelestis animus, herself represents animus in the sense of “spirit”. Juno’s pronounced emotions in the epic her devotion to Carthage, her love for Argos, her “animus,” in the modern sense, towards Aeneas and the Trojansinstantiate the animus of strong emotions and passions. Embodying animus in the sense of mind and intellect, Juno carefully lays traps for Aeneas, including by persuading Aeolus to release the winds. In the image itself, the goddess’ outstretched hand signifies her divine will, her numen, which breathes life into her authority over Aeolus and humanity more broadly. The winds themselves, forming animus in their wild dance across the sky, recall the word’s semantic history—a word meaning “mind,” “life,” “breath,” ultimately from the Greek ἄνεμος, “wind.” Our logo displays the emotional, rational, natural, and divine elements of animus

Τhe interplay of animus and Ἄνεμοι also speaks to our mission. The four winds – Aquilo, Notus, Eurus, and Zephyrus – are powerful forces that carry environmental reckoning in all cardinal directions. The interests of the scholars we publish, and the topics they write on, are as broad and deep as the Mediterranean Sea traversed by the Ἄνεμοι. Our journal aims to advance classical scholarship while breathing new life into the field, reviving important discussions regarding the discipline. We hope you will join our efforts to further promote the studies of the exciting, dynamic ancient Mediterranean world.

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