Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens by Nancy Worman

By Nancy Worman

This research of the language of insult charts abuse in classical Athenian literature that centres at the mouth and its appetites, specially speaking, consuming, ingesting, and sexual actions. Attic comedy, Platonic discussion, and fourth-century oratory usually install insulting depictions of the mouth and its excesses so that it will deride specialist audio system as sophists, demagogues, and girls. even if the styles of images explored are very popular in historic invective and later western literary traditions, this can be the 1st e-book to debate this phenomenon in classical literature. It responds to a transforming into curiosity in either abusive speech genres and the illustration of the physique, illuminating an iambic discourse that isolates the intemperate mouth as a visual brand of behaviours ridiculed within the democratic arenas of classical Athens.

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In the Odyssey this circumstance is uttered as a threat against low-status types (Od. 362–63 [Eumaeus]). 29 But unlike Briseis or Andromache, they add to these pitiful images a harsh desire for revenge. 30 An example may bring this contrast into clearer focus. 476). The verb identifies her words as a mourning speech (cf. 723, 747, 760), and what she says follows along traditional lines. 496). She thus mourns the loss of social rituals accorded the aristocratic young man, similar to the kind of commensality that Odysseus advocated in book 19.

In Frogs, for example, the sophistic Euripides promotes a style too glib and finely wrought, while Knights contrasts this polished style with that of the shouting, gobbling, agora-swaggering Paphlagon – a stage name for Cleon, the demagogue whom Aristophanes repeatedly depicts as a threat to Athens. His opponent the Sausage Seller is an equally reprehensible denizen of the marketplace, although he shows signs of more effeminate, lubricious behaviors that indicate his self-prostituting type. Like tragedy, comedy often employs the imagery of sacrifice, but Knights in particular formulates this as an analogy between politicians’ slavish pandering and the manipulations of mercenary chefs.

In 67 See Dover 1978: 75; for a contrasting view, see Yunis 2001. 6) he aligns types of intemperance (akolasia) with faults of excess or weakness. Both Aristotle’s treatments of character (especially those in the Rhetoric) and Theophrastus’ portraits in Characters indicate the importance of such distinctions to rhetorical technique, as well as their centrality to the public performance of the orator more generally. Chapter 6 examines the realm of rhetorical theory, assessing how Aristotle and especially Theophrastus characterize the relationship between oral activities and oratorical styles.

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