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Making Men: Sophists and Self-Presentation in Ancient Rome

By Maud W. Gleason

The careers of 2 well known second-century rhetorical virtuosos provide Maud Gleason interesting insights into the methods historical Romans built masculinity in the course of a time marked via anxiousness over manly deportment. Declamation used to be a thrilling artwork shape for the Greeks and bilingual Romans of the second one Sophistic circulate, and its top practitioners may go back and forth the empire acting in entrance of enraptured audiences. The mastery of rhetoric marked the transition to manhood for all aristocratic electorate and remained the most important to a man's social status. In treating rhetoric as a strategy of self-presentation in a face-to-face society, Gleason analyzes the deportment and writings of the 2 Sophists--Favorinus, a eunuch, and Polemo, a guy who met traditional gender expectations--to recommend the methods personality and gender have been perceived.

Physiognomical texts of the period convey how carefully males scrutinized each other for minute indicators of gender deviance in such gains as gait, gesture, facial features, and voice. Rhetoricians knowledgeable to advance those features in a "masculine" model. studying the profitable profession of Favorinus, whose high-pitched voice and florid presentation contrasted sharply with the traditionalist type of Polemo, Gleason indicates, even if, that excellent masculine habit was once no longer a monolithic abstraction. In a hugely obtainable examine treating the semiotics of deportment and the clinical, cultural, and ethical matters surrounding rhetorical task, she explores the probabilities of self-presentation within the look for acceptance as a speaker and a man.

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Hopkins makes this commentary of upwardly cellular litterateurs yet fails to do justice to the colossal quantity of attempt expended by way of aristocrats on constructing their rhetorical ability accurately so one can be "good with no seeming to attempt. " "Elite Mobility within the Roman Empire" in reports in historical Society, ed. M. 1. Finley (London, 1974), one hundred ten. I N T ROD U C T ION XXI notwithstanding, have been in simple terms the end of the iceberg: all aristocrats needed to be in a position to practice as public audio system, if merely to do their responsibility at marriage ceremony banquets, protect their estate in litigation, and take part as an informed equivalent in self-consciously discovered discussions on the baths. Paideia, for either Greek and Roman gents, was once a kind of symbolic capital. Its improvement required time, cash, attempt, and social place (as Lucian observed clearly);lO eloquence was once the fundamental precondition of its demonstrate. The culture of euergetism within the historical urban presents an analogy. prosperous electorate have been anticipated to supply many city facilities at their inner most price: gas to warmth the baths, oil for the health club, porticos for undefined, and public leisure for the vacations. hence the elite confirmed with their fellow-citizens a courting that was once asymmetrical, yet now not with no reciprocity: what the benefactor bestowed in fabric presents to his fellow-citizens was once lower back to him in symbolic shape as deference or gratitude. this is often an instance of what Pierre Bourdieu might name the conversion of monetary capital into symbolic capital, generating "relations of dependence that experience an financial foundation yet are disguised less than a veil of ethical relatives. " this alteration works simply by way of grace of one of those collective disavowal of what's rather occurring; the trade of munificence for deference needs to seem on each side to be voluntary, or the sport is spoiled. basically, the voluntariness of the trade transforms arbitrary social kin into valid family, producing as a type of "symbolic surplus price" the legitimation of the euergetist's political strength. eleven hence the dependent exhibit of fabric generosity served as a technique of political legitimation for the liturgical classification, defining it vis-a-vis different teams in society and delivering a stylized and dependent context within which the rich might compete with each other with out harm to their classification pursuits. The demonstrate of paideia in public conversing served the same functionality. All well-born men have been proficient in formative years, through competing with their friends, to demonstrate the "cultural capital" that exceptional genuine individuals of the elite from different individuals of society who may really actually communicate a special language. The superstar performers who attracted huge audiences valorized paideia through making it seem to be the prize of a bruising festival for prestige dominance. via this sort of dramatization, more suitable by way of the entire charms of symbolic violence, the distance among the expert and the uneducated got here to appear under no circumstances arbitrary, however the results of a virtually organic superiority.

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