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PostSubject: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:12 pm

Roman Honour.
C.Barton

"With what earnestness they pursue their rivalries! How fiercetheir contests! What exultation they feel when they win, and whatshame when they are beaten! How they dislike reproach! How they yearnfor praise! What labors will they not undertake to stand first amongtheir peers! How well they remember those who have shown them kindness and how eager to repay it!"
Cicero, DE FINIBUS

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:13 pm

"The Roman way was the way of the ancestors, the mos maiorum. Itwas like “the refining fire” described by T.S. Eliot, “where you mustmove in measure, like a dancer.” It was the script of tradition thatframed the performance of the Ro- man spirit, the acting, the action,the agon, the work that proved the soul, the ani- mus, the effectiveenergy at the core of one’s being.
...For the Romans, like the Confucians, to submit to ancestral customs and rituals was a form of honing, pol- ishing, measuring, self-overcoming. It was the meticulous cutting of a diamond. “As physical beauty, by the apt arrangement of the limbs, stirs the eyes and delights them for the very reason that all the parts of the body combine in harmony and grace, so this decorum, shining out of the conduct of our lives, inspires the approval of our fellow man by the order, constancy, and self-control it imposes on every word and deed” (Cicero, De officiis).
Decorum was, for Cicero, mod- eration and temperance “with a certain polish” (moderatio et temperantia . . .cum specie quadam liberali)."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:13 pm

"Ellen Oliensis re- marks, “The concept of decorum is never innocent. Decorum is always an ex- pression of power. In any sphere—aesthetic, sexual, political, moral—decorum enforces subordination: of parts to whole, woman to man, slave to master, desire to reason, individual to state.” At their worst, formalized behaviors are, for Westerners, deadening and oppressive; at best, they are frivolous and lacking depth. As Michelle Rosaldo writes: “For us, the attributes of individuals describe the core of what we really are.
Ritual actions, things we do ‘because of ’ roles and norms, become mere artifice and play.”

But to grasp the infrangible bond between form and effectiveness implicit in Roman concepts of ritualized behavior, as Mario Perniola suggests, “we must first free ourselves of the prejudice that considers ceremony as stereotyped, superflu- ous, residual, idolatrous, maniacal, desperate behavior, seeing it as formalism and sclerosis, lacking in depth and substance.”
The Roman was radically present in a role or game where life or reputation was at risk. Rather than “mere” ritual, Roman self-conscious and formalized be- havior was more like our English “propriety” (from proprietas, the word from which we also derive our word “property”): the nature or quality proper to some- one or something. Roman decorum, quod decet (what befit, what was appropriate and becoming to one), with its elaboration of roles and masks, was proprius, one’s own, appropriate to oneself, one’s way of defining, of realizing, of creating a self.

The goal of formalized action, for the Roman, as for the Confucian, was an en- hanced state of being: a state of grace.38 In a long fragment of Ennius preserved in Gellius, the poet describes the charming behavior and eloquence of the “good companion” (i.e., the client) who, even with the handicap of inferior status, man- ages a stylized but most delicate and self-satisfying performance. Deft and suave, he knows exactly the measure of his stature and the weight of his words. He knows when to remain silent and when to speak. Speaking, he knows the right word for the right time. He knows the ancient manners and the laws of god and men, and he knows the new ones as well. He is as proud as he is modest (Noctes Atticae).
In this delicate balancing act, the point of greatest stress and drama was the middle.39 The Roman way succeeded for centuries because, like the Confu- cian, it endowed compromise and balance with an emotional glamor.One approached the Roman way, like the tao, “in fear and trembling, with caution and care, as though on the brink of a chasm, as though treading thin ice” (Analects)."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:14 pm

"For the ancient Romans, honor pivoted on the Heroic Middle; it was a tense and dramatic high-wire act on a line at once taut and perilous. Aurea mediocritas was not the timid restraint, the joyless surrender to conventionality of the modern bourgeois, nor was it an excuse for complacency or inactivity. On the contrary, in the Roman mind, moderation was a sort of firebreak against the conflagration of ambition and passion that threat- ened at all times to engulf the commonwealth. Poise, equanimity, came hard and unnaturally. To be modest, to be “measured,” showed the determination, the will of men and women to take their fates in their hands, to direct their own behavior in face of endless temptations to self-indulgence or self-pity.Cicero equates Ro- man decorum with “what is done with a great and ‘virile’ spirit” (quod enim viriliter animoque magno fit, id...decorum videtur)."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:14 pm

"The Roman discrimen, the “moment of truth,” the equivocal and ardent moment when, before the eyes of others, you gambled what you were. This was the agon, the contest, when truth was not so much revealed as created, realized, willed in the most intense and visceral way, the truth of one’s being, the truth of being.

When, before the eyes of the enemy Etruscans and their king and commander Porsena, Livy’s would-be assassin Mucius was threatened with torture by fire, the unarmed youth confounded the enemy by thrusting his right hand into the flames of the altar and standing, unflinching, while it burned. He said to the king, “See how cheaply men hold their bodies when they set their sights on glory”. With those words and that gesture he responded to the threat of torture. It was a terrifying scene, but insofar as generations of Romans were the
audience for this act, it brought down the house.

As the art historian Bettina Bergmann points out, the Romans had a taste for moments of high tension, frozen instants of “explosive emotions,” “excruciating suspended animation,” “moments of decision”: Medea contemplating her chil- dren with a dagger on her lap; the sacrificial bull poised to receive the blow of the ax; the wounded gladiator anticipating the death blow; Phaedra clasping her letter to Hippolytus; Helen resisting the blandishments of Paris. Because of their desire to find and express the “truth” of their being in action, the Romans were eager to interpret any and every confrontation as an ordeal, an opportunity for the exercise of will."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:14 pm

"Undergoing the ordeal (labor, periculum, discrimen, certamen, contentio, agon) was the act of defining one’s boundaries, of determining one’s share or portion. It was necessary for one’s sense of being.6 And because in a contest culture no one’s part was fixed, the discrimen established, momentarily, one’s position. It located one
in a field, in a pecking order. One gambled what one was. To have a glowing spirit, one needed to expend one’s energy in a continuous series of ordeals. Labor, industria, disciplina,
diligentia, studium, vigilentia were, for the Romans, the strenuous exertions that one made in undergoing the trial and in shouldering the heavy burden."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:15 pm

"Here it is important to point out that in Roman culture, as in very many cultures, a male was not necessarily a man. One was ontologically a male but existentially a man. Born a male (mas) or a human (homo), one made oneself a man (vir). A vir was not a natural being. In the words of David Gilmore, “manhood . . . is a precarious or artificial state that boys must win against powerful odds.

. . . Manhood is problematic, a critical threshold that boys must pass through testing.”
It is with the words “if you are men” that Lucretia challenges Brutus and Col- latinus to avenge her violation (Livy). “The kingdom is yours, Servius,” declares Tanaquil, “if you are a man” (Livy). Compare the words of Apuleius’s Fotis to Lucius: “Fight,” she said, “and fight vigorously, for I will not retreat before you nor turn my back on you. Stiffen up and close in for a vigorous frontal assault—if you are a man! Slay, for you are about to die. There’s no leav- ing alive from today’s battle” (Metamorphoses).

Tullius incites the Volsci by saying, “Rome has declared war on you, and she will be sorry for it...if you are men” (Livy). It is with the words “if you wish to be men” that Publius Umbrenus incites the Allobroges to join the rebel- lion of Catiline and Lentulus (Sallust, Catilina). Lentulus, in turn, charges Catiline:
“Consider well the predicament that you are in and remember that you are a man”. The survivors of Cannae, relegated to Sicily in disgrace and inactivity (resides ac segnes), demand the very toughest of perils and dangers (asper- rima quaeque ad laborem periculumque).
“It is neither an end to our disgrace nor a reward for our valor that we ask; only let us prove our spirit (experiri animum) and ex-ercise our courage (virtutem exercere).

We ask for hardship and danger that we might fulfill the office of soldiers and of men” (ut virorum...officio fungamur (Livy). Seneca’s Achilles, warned to run away from war and told to sit at home and live to ripe old age, “chose the sword and professed himself a man” ( fassus est armis virum [Troades]). “Who,” Seneca asks, “only let him be a man and intent upon honor—is not eager for the honorable ordeal and prompt to as- sume perilous duties? To what energetic person is not idleness a punishment?” (De providentia).

A male was transformed into a man by the willful expenditure of energy. Above all, a man willed himself to be expendable. Like the sun, a man fed the fire of his honor on his own substance. The magnus animus, the animus virilis, squadered itself in contempt of its own dear life. Virgil’s Euryalus declares to Nisus: “Here, here is a soul that scorns the light of life and holds that honor you are aiming at as cheaply bought if all its price is life” (Aeneis)."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:15 pm

"Manhood,” as Gilmore explains, “is the defeat of childhood narcissism.”
In the Roman contest culture, then, to will death was not to deny life but to carve its contour.50 The contest drew its profile on the moment between exhilara- tion and annihilation, the electric and terrifying moment of the sacred.
“Who, with the prospect of envy, death, and punishment staring him in the face, does not hesitate to defend the Republic, he truly can be reckoned a vir” (Cicero, Pro Milone)"

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:16 pm

"At least until the age of Augustus, as Paul Zanker points out, Latin had no vo- cabulary to speak of “salvation” as an ultimate value in the Christian sense.53 In Cicero’s day, Roman history was still filled with examples of Romans putting the dangerous and honorable before the salutary and expedient, “led by the splendor of honor and without any thought for their own interest” (De finibus).

“That which appears most splendid,” he asserts, “is that done with a great and exalted spirit and in disregard of the concerns of mortal life” (De officiis).

The willingness to expend everything—up to and including the state—was, para- doxically, the final insurance of the continued existence of both the state and the spirit. Sulla, anticipating a fight with the enemy Iugurtha, admonishes his small force: “You will be the safer the less you spare yourself ” (Bellum Iugurthinum). When the slave Libanus, anticipating torture, offers his hide without reserve to Leonida’s dangerous plot, the latter exclaims: “Hold on to this firmness of spirit and we will be safe” (Plautus, Asinaria)."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:16 pm

"To extrapolate from a fragment of a speech of Tiberius Gracchus preserved by Plutarch, the fighting words of the Roman soldiers were all defensive: “the ances- tral lands,” “the tombs of our ancestors,” “the altars of our gods” (Tiberius Gracchus) The Romans needed to see themselves as fighting for patria, domus, di penates.

And so, strangely to our modern preconceptions, when the great imperialists of the ancient Mediterranean recreated themselves as Homeric heroes, it was as defeated Trojans rather than victorious Achaeans. Silius’s general Varro, his army smashed at Cannae, was thanked for not abandoning in despair the city of the Trojan “sons of Laomedon” (Punica). It is not the story of the victorious Achaeans but that of the defeated Trojans that thrilled the heart of Virgil’s Dido, as it did the hearts of Virgil’s Roman audience (“We were Trojans. There was a Troy”).

Erich Gruen points out that this identification allowed the Romans to associate themselves with and simultaneously to distinguish themselves from the Greeks. I agree with Gruen, but I would add that the Roman identification with the Trojans was also an emotional one: they romanticized the challenge of desperation. Pliny the Elder points out that of all the rewards given by the Romans for glorious deeds—the jeweled crown, the golden crown, the crown for scaling enemy ramparts, the crown for boarding men-of-war, the triumphal crown, the civic crown for saving the life of a citizen—none was as ancient or as respected as the crown of grass (corona graminea), the crown conferred upon the leader of a for- lorn hope (graminea numquam nisi in desperatione suprema contigit [Naturalis historia]). For Pliny this was the highest honor a human being could attain.

Indeed, the edge that desperation gave to valor is a theme appearing through- out Roman literature. The consul Cato, in his first major battle near Emporiae in Spain deliberately chose his position in order to cut off his troops from any possibility of escape, so that there would be no hope for them except in their courage (nusquam nisi in virtute spes est [Livy]."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:17 pm

"As a mortal, what one risked in the contest was one’s “face.” Latin facies (from facere, to be effective, to pose, place, make) was not, like our “face,” something one was born with; it was something that one made, that one willed into existence. It was the manifestation of one’s being, the thing presented to view, the spectacle, form, or aspect. “Some think that the facies of a man refers only to the face, eyes, and cheeks, what the Greeks call prosopon: whereas facies refers to the whole form, the dimensions and, as it were, the construction ( factura) of the entire body, being formed from facio as species is from aspectus and figura from fingere” (Gellius, Noctes At- ticae).

“In its proper sense facere, ‘to make,’ is from facies ‘appearance’; he is said to facere, ‘to make,’ a thing, who puts a facies on the thing which he makes. As the fictor, when he says fingo, ‘I shape,’ puts a figura, ‘shape,’ on the object” (Varro, De lingua latina).
...One’s face was one’s persona, one’s mask.The persona was composed of the reputation (existimatio, fama, and nomen), supported by effective energy (virtus), and enforced by a sensitivity to shame (pudor). The persona guaranteed the existence of the will, the driving vitality at the core: the animus. Accius’s captive Andromache showed
by her face that her spirit had not been broken (Astyanax, frags.).

Valentinus showed by his face that although he had been captured, he had not been defeated in spirit (Tacitus, Historia). Young Hip- polytus would not alter the ferocious expression on his face when the bull from the sea rose up to dismember him, but thundered that the vain terror could not break his spirit (Seneca, Phaedra). The persona and the role
expressed by it were the very boundary and definition of one’s being, the sine qua non of exis- tence. For the Romans there was no depth without surface.

The face was also a provocation; whatever persona you publicly professed was a line drawn in the sand. “I am a Roman. My name is Mucius,” Livy’s captive hero proclaims Marcus, the son of Cato Uticensis, fell at the battle of Philippi. While the army fled, he stood his ground, and, as a final act, shouted out his name and
that of his father (Plutarch, Brutus). The bleeding, shivering, pain-wracked Porcia says to Brutus: “I am Cato’s daughter” (Plutarch, Brutus)."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:17 pm

"Note: One looked for the contest when one professed one’s nomen or identity. The Romans, for in- stance, assumed that the man or woman who proclaimed Christianus sum or Joudaios eimi were doing so as challenges. One can think of Cassius Clay or Lou Alcindor presenting to the public their new names. Would their audiences respect them? It was a wager. Britannicus refused to call his newly adopted brother by his adoptive name “Nero” and continued to call him “Ahenobarbus,” to the lat- ter’s fury (Suetonius, Nero). When Vipsanius Agrippa became Marcus Agrippa, dropping the name that signaled his humble origin, his detractors continued spitefully to refer to it (Seneca Rhetor, Contro- versiae). Cf. Terence, Eunuchus, prologus."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:18 pm

"I am a man among men; I stroll about with my head uncovered.
Trimalchinio in Petronius, SATYRICON 57.5122

For the Romans, being was being seen. Cicero regretted serving in Cilicia (as he had regretted serving in Sicily) because it meant acting in squalid obscurity, far from the urban limelight (Ad familiares). He wanted to be, in Horace’s scorn- ful words, “the good man whom the forum and every tribunal sees” (vir bonus, omne forum quem spectat, et omne tribunal [Epistulae]). One made oneself as conspic- uous, as tender a target as possible. As Richard Brilliant points out, the full frontal posture with arm extended was the stance of honor in Roman art.

Conversely, seeing was the privileged source of knowledge. In the words of Plautus, “Look, and then you’ll know” (em specta, tum scies [Bacchides]). “Those who see, they know distinctly” (qui vident, plane sciunt [Truculentus]). “They be- lieve because they see” (credunt quod vident [Asinaria]).

Being visible was a basic biological risk, to borrow a phrase from R.D. Laing. The proven person had weathered that risk. The proven person was probatus, spec- tatus, expertus, argutus.
...[I]t’s that everyday conduct that shows, finally, what a person’s ingenium is” (Heautontimorumenos).

...To his comrades intending to test their wives by returning unexpectedly from the front, Livy’s Collatinus declares: “Let every man regard as the surest test (spectatis- simum sit) what meets his eyes when the woman’s husband enters unexpectedly” (Livy). Antiphila and Lucretia are “proven” by their testing. Cicero’s brave Caecilia was a spectatissima femina (Pro Sexto Roscio).

Tacitus’s Octavia was a woman of probitas spectata (Annales). The wife of Quintus Metellus was pudicitia conspicua (Valerius Maximus). Proven men were spectati viri (Plautus, Mercator).
When Simo discovers that his son has frequented the house of the prostitute Chrysis but has not slept with her, he declares, “I consider him to be sufficiently tested (spectatum satis) and a great example of self-control (magnum exemplum continentiae” [Terence, Andria]). It is important to understand that, in ancient Rome, looking was not passive but active. To look was a challenge. The spectator was inspector, judge, and con- noisseur. In the prologue of the Heautontimorumenos, Terence presents his com- edy as a case being tried in court, with the actor as the orator and the spectatores as judges. Plautus’s goddess is judge and mistress (spectatrix atque era [Mercator]).

“You know what a refined judge of beauty I am,” declares Terence’s Chaerea (quom ipsus me noris quam elegans formarum spectator siem [Eunuchus]). “None of the generals...was a keener observer and judge of bravery” (neminem omnium impera- torum . . . acriorem virtutis spectatorem ac iudicem fuisse [Livy]).

Who failed the test of being seen was improbus, “unsound,” not satisfying a standard, improper, incorrect, morally defective.The improbus claimed more than his or her due; he or she was shameless, greedy, presumptuous, immoderate in size or extent. The word of the improbus was worth nothing.

When Sallust’s Turpilius, commander of Vaga, alone survived the slaughter of his garrison by the inhabitants, he lost credibility. Because, in this critical moment, he preferred his miserable life to an inviolate reputation, he was considered
improbus and intesta- bilis: his word no longer counted (Bellum Iugurthinum])."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:18 pm

"The relationship between the viability of one’s word and the viability of one’s body, between losing all credit and being castrated, is illustrated by the funny scene in Plautus’s Curculio, where, playing on the two meanings of testis (witness and testicle), the slave Palinurus warns his young master Phaedromus to be care- ful
in loving, “so that it will not disgrace you if the people should come to know what you love; take care you do not become intestabilis” (ne id quod ames populus si sciat, tibi sit probro / semper curato ne sis intestabilis. “Love, but with your ‘wit- nesses’ present” (quod amas amato testibus praesentibus.

The Romans judged the weight of a person’s word not against an abstract stan- dard of truth but by how much was risked in speaking; they considered the stakes (the sacramentum, the “deposit” or “forfeit” that backed up one’s words). Words had weight when the speaker’s reputation, persona, fama, nomen, life were risked in speaking.

When Vitellius refused to believe the intelligence reports given him by the centurion Julius Agrestis, the latter declared, “Since you require some deci- sive proof . . . I will give you a proof that you can believe.” He slew himself on the spot, thereby, according to Tacitus, confirming his words (Historia). When a common soldier arrived at the camp of Otho bringing news of defeat, he was called a liar, a coward, and a runaway by the other soldiers. To certify his words, he fell on his sword at the emperor’s feet (Suetonius, Otho). (Suetonius tells us that it was this act by a common soldier that challenged the emperor Otho to hold his own life cheaply.)"

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:19 pm

"The Romans lost their souls when they lost their faces. The penetrable, false, or broken persona enclosed only emptiness; the exposed Roman was vanus, inanis, cassus. ...the proven person, the person with the praeclarus facies, the radiant visage, presented a heightened challenge, even an insult, to others. It was the industry and proven chastity (spectata castitas) of Livy’s Lucretia, toiling at the loom late into the night, that won her the “Contest of Wives.”

Having proved her self-control, her boundaries, and so her inviolate spirit, she became the target of the tyrannical Tarquin (Livy). Just so, successfully enduring the tests of Appius Claudius’s bribes and promises, the hard-to-get Verginia, “hedged about, guarded against all shamelessness” (omnia pudore saepta), incited the arrogant Claudius with the desire to
violate her and the honor of her family (Livy). “It was not beauty alone and a comely body that incited Tiberius’s lust, but the youthful modesty of some and the noble ancestry of others” (Tacitus, Annales)."

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"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:19 pm

"A Roman’s hyperconsciousness of his or her “face” produced a keen sense of em- bodiment. The person who underwent surveillance in a contest, who risked death or humiliation, lived critically in the moment, like a deer trapped in the head- lights of an oncoming car. For the Roman on the spot, up against the wall, the world was sharp, immediate, visceral. As in archaic Greek thought and much of Japanese thought—and for similar reasons—the Romans tended to physicalize everything, to make everything present. Reality was immanent; it was spectatus, ex- pertus, probatus, perspicuus, argutus, manufestus. It hit you in the face; you could smack it with your hand."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:20 pm

"As a result of living in a contest culture, Roman ideas of truth (like Roman no- tions of the sacred) were more active, palpable, and embodied than our own. How much more active and embodied they were can be gleaned from a compari- son of a few of our English words with their Latin cognates. Our “fact” is passive; for us a fact just “is.”

The Roman’s factum was something made or done. To our idealizing and compartmentalizing thought, some essential quality is captured and expressed in a category like “species.” But for the Romans (especially of the Republic), the species was the thing presented to view, the spectacle, sight, or visual appearance. Something manufestus was something that one could catch in the hand; it was palpable, evident. “Existence” for us is ontological. But Latin exis- tere was to come into view, to appear, come forward, show oneself, come into be- ing; exstare was not only to exist, it was to project, protrude, stand out, be conspic- uous, to catch attention.

For us, “to experience” is primarily passive. But in Latin experiri meant to try, to test, to find or know by experience, to make a trial of, to contend with, to measure strength with.
...In Plautus’s Mercator, the cook, angry at old Lysimachus for claim ing he does not know him and did not hire him, challenges the old man:
“Do you want to try me?” (vin me experiri?). “Let us decide the matter of life and death by the sword; let us test our virtus in battle” ( ferro . . . vitam cernamus, . . . virtute experi- amur [Ennius apud Cicero, De officiis]). The Roman soldiers who survived Cannae, banished to Sicily, longed to “try their spirit” (experiri animum [Livy])."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:20 pm

"Note: As Richard Onians points out, Latin sapere, to know, was to have sap, blood, juice, because consciousness was in the chest with the
lungs, heart, breath, and blood (The Origins of European Thought about the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time, and Fate, Cambridge).
Many Latin words for knowledge express the physical aspects of what are, for us, principally metaphysical notions. Comprehendere, deprehendere, capere, and their relatives all stress the no- tion of grasping, seizing; cognoscere, like “to know” in archaic English usage, was to have sexual inter- course with as well as to know."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:20 pm

"Verus as an adjective was a very old Latin word that had several meanings. It could be used as a simple explicative or affirmative (verum!). Most often, in Plautus and Republican literature, it meant “true” in the sense of firm, capable of with- standing a test or trial. For example: “Farewell,...continue conquering with true [vera, stalwart] courage as you have done so far” (Casina). In this sense the Romans seem to have related verus to words with similar sounds and meanings: as- severe, persevere, severus. Cicero’s Laelius affirms that “a public meeting, though composed of very ignorant men, can, nevertheless, usually see the difference be- tween a ‘demagogue’ (popularis), that is, a shallow, flattering citizen, and one who is constans, verus, and gravis” (De amicitia).

Veritas seems to have begun its Latin life as the abstraction of a quality of hu- man behavior, like gravitas or simplicitas. It appears in a few instances as early as Ter- ence and has a meaning not far from severitas (rigor, sternness, austerity, integrity of judgment), as opposed to compliance or levity: “There was stern veritas in his face, fides in his words” (Tristis veritas inest in voltu atque in verbis fides [Andria]). “Obse- quium secures friends, veritas only enemies” (Obsequium amicos, veritas odium paret [Andria]). Livy’s Capitolinus declares, “I know that I could say other things that you would be happier to hear, but necessity compels me, even if my ingenium did not admonish me, to speak vera pro gratis, the vera rather than the gratis. It is not that I do not wish to please you, Quirites, but I wish, much more, for you to be safe” (Livy).

Cicero, the first to make frequent use of the word veritas to translate the abstract truth, the aletheia of Greek philosophers, still, on occasion, employed it with its ancient associations with selflessness, severity, and constancy. “Friendships are nurtured by veritas, alliances by fides, close relationships by pietas” (veritate amicitia, fide societas, pietate propinquitas colitur [Pro Quinctio]."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:20 pm

"According to the logic of the ancient Romans, the truth of a Roman’s words corresponded to the truth of his or her being, and that truth was enacted—most forcefully, as in these
instances, by the very unnatural act. The provisional and contested nature of reality (including the reality of one’s being) and the immediacy and particularity of experience infused all Roman ways of thinking.179 The Romans did not have an “integrated psychic whole,” and they tended not to synthesize or carefully correlate parts to a whole.180 Boundaries and obligations tended to accumulate and to overlap without being codified or systematized.181 The Romans were slow to deduce principles or create Utopias. There is a reason that modern philosophers and political theorists ig- nore the Romans: though rich and complex, the thought of the Romans is not easily translated into the categories or linearities of modern Western thought, with its rigid dichotomies and principle of noncontradiction. Rather than idealize, the Romans reified and dramatized.The exemplum of the Romans, according to the Auctor ad Herennium, “places its subjects before the eyes since it describes everything so vividly that I would say it can almost be touched with the hand”."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:21 pm

"As a result of living in a contest society, the Romans, like the Homeric Greeks, the Japanese, and the Bedouin, were sensitive to their “face”; they were delicatus, “thin-skinned,” liable to blush. The os durum, the os ferreum, the hard, stony, brazen face, belonged to the stupid and shameless. With our love of dichotomies, we have a tendency to see in the Romans a “hard” and inviolable manliness and a “soft” and vulnerable womanliness. But this opposition does not begin to cover the complex Roman dialectic between hardness and softness.

The adjective callidus meant callused and shameless as well as wily. “Consider the terms used for a fool: blockhead, woodenpate, dolt, leadenwit” (quae sunt dicta in stulto: caudex, stipes, asinus, plumbeus [Terence, Heautontimorumenos])
“My master,” Palaestrio declares in the Miles gloriosus, “has the hide of an elephant and the stupidity of a stone”. “No stone is more stolid.”"

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:21 pm

"Last words (ultima verba) were compelling to the Romans, as they are to us— but not because they summed up or grasped the eternal essence of life. When Vespasian and Petronius make light of their own deaths, or when Seneca’s Leonidas tells his doomed soldiers, “Eat your breakfast, for tonight we sup in Hell” (Epistulae).
We are affected by their words because they reveal the will of the speaker, the fantastic will of the doomed to let go of what there was the most extreme urgency to grasp.

The ability of the Roman gladiator to carry through with the “play” right up to the moment of death proved, perhaps more than anything, his terrifying courage. “How exalted his spirit!” (quam elato animo est!) Cicero exclaims at Theramenes’s ability to jest while drinking the fatal poison (Tusculanae disputationes). Again, you were what you could live without."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:22 pm

"For Goffman, “One’s face...is a sacred thing, and the expressive order required to sustain it is therefore a ritual one.”
As Takie Lebra explains, “Face is most vulnerable in unpredictable situations.
The most common means of keeping it safe, then, is to minimize the options and uncertainties that might arise in a situa- tion. Ritualism is the answer."

The formalized game or rite was employed in ancient Rome when the desire to preserve the community was stronger than the desire to break the spirit of the opponent. Precisely because they alleviated shock, games were most effective precisely at moments of grief and terror.236 Gladiator- ial games and decursiones funebres, like funerals themselves, allowed for vigorous and ritualized activity at the very moment when one was most shocked by grief. Fa- miliar and formalized behaviors facilitated action in emergencies, because, as the ethologist Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt points out, “the more ritualized the behavior, the more easily it is released.”"

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:22 pm

"Closely related to the shock-relieving function of rituals was the shock-relieving function of roles. The Latin persona was not only the mask but also the part ex- pressed by that mask. Latin professio, aside from being an open avowal, was the affirmation of the role or part presented by the persona—and the challenge pre- sented by that affirmation. Horace’s Lollius fears, for example, that, having professed himself a friend, he might appear only as a wit, a scurra (Epistulae).

It was the discipline and training, the habituation to a particular role or roles, that gave one the ability to be truly present at the moment of truth. How is it that stalwart gladiators endure the death blow? How is it they offer their necks without flinching? “They are well trained” (bene instituti sunt), Cicero explains. “Such is the power of exercise, of practice, of habit!” (Tusculanae disputationes)."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:22 pm

"Many Roman stories express admiration for those able to preserve their roles under great stress. Livy tells of the dauntless Gaius Fabius Dorsuo, who at the time of the Gallic sack nonchalantly descended from the besieged Capitol, in the midst of the enemy, to perform the family’s traditional rites. He tells of the brave seniores who faced the invading Gauls dressed in their finery, with their emblems of office, sitting like statues on their curule chairs in the vestibules of their houses.

...Going on with the show, then, was not a sign of delusion but a supremely defining moment for Roman society as well as for the men and women who could play their roles with grace, honoring their obligations even while threatened with death or chaos. The tremendous calm and deliberation with which Tacitus’s Valerius Asiaticus committed suicide, taking scrupulous care—like Cato of Utica or the emperor Otho in similar situations—for others, moving his pyre lest it singe the trees, demonstrated his ability to play his role to the end (Annales). It kept alive the play in which he had a part and through which he lived.256 One can compare the polite “thank you” that Julius Canus mustered in reply to his con- demnation to death by Phalaris, servant of Caligula. The centurion who came to drag him to his execution found him playing chess. Canus blithely bid his guard to check the state of the game—in which he was ahead—lest his opponent should later claim to have won (Seneca, De tranquillitae).

It is the very absurdity, the impossibility and unnaturalness of Julius Canus’s behavior that renders it fe- rocious. He saves nothing, clings to nothing, grasps at nothing, and in doing so asserts the magnificence of his spirit and the potency, the reality of the code by which he lives. The gladiator who bared his throat to the death-blow, who ad- hered to the etiquette of the arena to the moment of his death, was an actor who turned what might be a farce into a supremely transcendent moment.257 Just as the artificiality, the “unnaturalness,” of his acts made the “true” man, so the the- atricality, the “unnaturalness,” of his acts allowed for the vivid reality of that world in which for an hour the Roman strutted and fretted."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:23 pm

"The most closely bound unit, the family, was also, necessarily, the focus of compe- tition: one emulated, above all, one’s ancestors and kin. The inscriptions from the tomb of the
Scipiones offer wonderful illustrations of intergenerational competition. The following words were carved on the sarcophagus of Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Hispanis around the year: “By the way I lived my life I added to the achievements of my family. I aimed at equaling the deeds of my ancestors. . . . I succeeded in obtaining public esteem so that they rejoice that I was born to them. My honor ennobled the stock.”"

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:23 pm

"Friends being, as Sallust explains, those who wanted the same things (quos omnis ea- dem cupere, eadem odisse, eadem metuere [Bellum Iugurthinum]."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:23 pm

"Moreover, as Bourdieu points out, “To challenge someone is to acknowledge that he is a man, an acknowledgment which is the prerequisite for any exchange.”266 “To make someone a challenge is to credit him with the dignity of a man of honour, since the challenge, as such, requires a riposte and therefore is deemed capable of playing the game of honour, and of playing it well. From the principle of mutual recognition of equality in honour there follows a first corollary: the challenge confers honour.”

But there was another and stronger sort of bonding effected by the good contest: the Roman was radically present in a role or game in which life or reputation was at risk. In preserving one’s role to the end of the ordeal, one demonstrated both “sin- cerity” and “authenticity” in their Roman senses. Radical presence was sincere in the sense that one held nothing back, that everything one had was at stake in one’s role.268 Sincerity was the positive version, the vivifying version of self-exposure: will.

The perception of sincerity created mutual sympathies within Roman culture.269 The Romans identified with a role that was voluntary. When they had the sense that someone was doing something ex anima, they had the sense that someone was “authentically” there, that he or she had “earned” their role."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:23 pm

"One might also compare the Roman sensibility to the radical subjectivity of Zen, the warrior’s Buddhism, with its fragile sense of all that is and its ideal of keeping nothing in reserve, of expressing everything fully.271 I think the Romans of the Re- public would have understood the notion of sunyata: emptiness as fullness. It was for the vivid, translucent emotions of bonding that a Roman audience witnessed with pleasure a great performance in the ordeal.
The highest values of any person or state are not only indicated but created by what people within that community are willing to suffer or die for. The values of the community—in- deed the very existence of the community—were formed in Rome by those who were willing to risk all. As long as there were men like Mucius Scaevola, Mar- cus Curtius, or Publius Decius Mus, there would be a Rome."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:24 pm

"Valor was glass and fire, but humiliation was stone and ice. The captured Jewish generals were, according to Josephus, displayed on the triumphal floats of Titus and Vespasian frozen in the postures in which they had been taken (Bellum Iudaicum).

Ovid’s prostrate and defeated Phineus was turned to stone by the victorious Perseus in the very act of begging for his life (Metamorphoses). Every day in the slave’s life was an
exhibition of defeat; as Reginald Haynes Barrow expressed it, “To enslave an enemy rather than to slay him was a device to reap his labor, but it was also a way of enjoying a perpetual triumph over him.” Abasement stopped time; it stupefied and petrified.

The Capuan nobles who witnessed the retreat of the Roman soldiers from their humiliations at the Cau- dine Forks judged by their paralytic silence that the Samnites had won “a victory not only brilliant but perpetual” (Livy). When Apuleius’s Lucius, tried in a kangaroo court by the people of Hypata, realized that he had been totally ex- posed and his persona destroyed, he was frozen and turned to stone (fixus in lapidem steti gelidus)—“indistinguishable from any of the statues or columns that stood in the theater in which he was being tried” (Metamorphoses)."

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:24 pm

"In the late Roman Republic and early Empire, precisely because boundaries had become an act of will (and thus of honor), not to choose, simply to submit to a system of taboos or boundaries, was experienced as a lack of will and a dis- honor.

If cosmopolitanism and relativism liberated, they also debilitated, be- cause one’s will was incessantly challenged, and because one felt that one should not, given one’s freedom, feel so frustrated.40 (One can compare the effects of evolutionary theory on modern European and American thought. The under- mining of the Enlightenment view of human nature set in motion a great mael- strom of possibilities, of hopes, and desires—including the desire to be free of all restraining, imprisoning instincts—which, in turn, engendered feelings of impotence. As an instinct-free creature, one feels impotent precisely because one feels that everything is possible, and that therefore one’s limitations, one’s inability to be and have everything, are the result of one’s own inadequacy.)

The Romans were, in the words of Erik Erikson, “victims of an overgrown and insatiable po-
tentiality.”42 Their own effective energies had turned against them.
"Rome", Horace says sadly, “collapses from her own strength” (suis et ipsa Roma viribus ruit [Epodi]).

The Romans sensed that the joke was on them. To be unbound, unobligated, in Latin was to be immunis. But to be immunis was also to be unfortified. The im- munes were free, but they lacked vitality; they were idle, inactive, inert, contribut- ing nothing. The Romans were conquerors who, paradoxically, found themselves diminished. The
more they had, the more cheated they felt. Sallust’s Memmius addresses the assembled Romans: “You, the Roman people—unconquered by your enemies, rulers of all peoples—have all you can do to barely retain your ani- mus” (Bellum Iugurthinum)."

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:25 pm

"At all times in Roman culture, in order to preserve the spirit, nothing apart from that spirit could be preserved. To have anything that one would not expend, to cling to anyone or anything made humiliation inevitable. The bonds of love, in particular, held one hostage."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:25 pm

"Virgil’s bees, conceived under Augustus, understood that the health of the hive depended on the health of their “king.” With him, they were of one mind; if anything
should happen to the “king,” the bees would “break their faith” and tear the hive to pieces. Moreover, it was for the “king” bee—and not for the hive—that the bees exposed their bodies to the risks of battle and sought a glori- ous death (Georgica).

For the sake of the “good” emperor, Seneca de- clared, “The people would throw themselves in an instant against the assassins’ swordpoints; they would lay their bodies beneath his feet if his path to safety could be paved with slaughtered men; they guard his sleep by nightly vigils, they defend his body with an encircling barrier, they make of themselves a rampart against assailing dangers” (De clementia). One owes everything to Caesar (to- tum te Caesari debes): he is dearer to you than your own life (carior tibi spiritu tuo [Seneca, Ad Polybium]). To Nero, he says, “You are the soul of your state” (tu animus rei publicae tuae es [De clementia]). “The king is the bond through which the Republic coheres, the very breath of life which these many thousands draw, who, on their own, would only be a burden to themselves and the prey for others if the Mind of the Empire should be withdrawn” (De clementia)."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:25 pm

"But the result of valuing anything more highly than one’s honor (including, or especially the emperor or god), however selfless the motive, was humiliation. Re- call Livy’s story of the soldiers who returned home alive but disgraced from the Caudine Forks. While still trapped in the gorge, the soldiers had been persuaded to live through
their terrible humiliations by the argument that Rome would be defenseless if they died. They would live and so be of further service to the state (..‒). But when, according to Livy, the Romans heard of the surrender and the peace made by Postumius at the Caudine Forks, they were more disturbed than they had been by the news of the soldiers’ peril.

The people spontaneously, without the command or authorization of the magistrates, went into deep mourning. All action was suspended; they closed their shops; a iustitium reigned in the forum. Such contempt did the Romans feel for the soldiers and their officers who had chosen to live that they wished to deny them admission to city and home (negare urbe tectisve accipiendos). The soldiers entered the city at night, hiding them- selves in their own homes so that, on the following day, not one of them could be seen in public (Livy).

...Unfortunately, the desire to be “useful,” to serve the state or the emperor (once the state was embodied in the emperor) made it hard for Tacitus and his father- in-law Agricola to “keep face.” The path of compromise, he discovered (like Seneca before him and Thomas More after him), was less a path than a minefield. Service to the king
easily slipped into servitude; the adviser to the tyrant easily became his tool.137 And useful men, like good parents, could not throw away their lives without ceasing to be instrumental to their king, their god, their country, or their children."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:26 pm

"With the ideal of survival or salvation came the idealization of “nat- ural” man and of “living according to nature.”147 Natural man did not have to prove he was a man, and so he did not need the contest. But the life of a “natural man” was, paradoxically, the life of a rock. Commitment to life made the non- being of dishonor unbearable. When the Romans begin to talk about saving things, when they begin to talk about salvation, the stone—once the image of cal- lousness and stupidity—became an ideal. There was a hardness of the spirit, like a hardness of the body, that, when it was burned, could not feel it. (eam...animi duritiam, sicut corporis, quod cum uritur non sentit [Cicero, De domo sua].) “Stand by a stone and slander it: what effect will you produce? If a man listens like a stone, what advantage has the slanderer?” (Arrian, Epicteti dissertationes). It was a desperate strategy to preserve both life and honor. The loss of the good contest helps to explain the reception in Rome of the Cynic or Stoic anaideia (shamelessness), apatheia (apathy), and autarkeia (indepen- dence): “Surround yourself with philosophy, an impregnable wall; though fortune assault it with her many engines, she cannot breach it. The spirit that abandons external things stands on unassailable ground; it vindicates itself in its fortress; every weapon hurled against it falls short of its mark” (Seneca, Epistulae)."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:27 pm

"It is not just the philosophers who are influenced by this thinking:
for Sallust (himself the sensitive object of calumny), the good man is ultimately self-made and autonomous. Nothing and no one can touch his spirit: “The uncorrupted, eternal spirit, governor of the human race, acts and possesses everything and is not itself possessed” (Bellum Iugurthinum).

“He has no need of fortune who is incapable of either giving or snatching away probity, industry, and the other honorable skills” (Bellum Iugurthinum). The miserable Ovid, banished by Augus- tus, writes from the shores of the Black Sea: “My ingenium is my companion and my resource. Caesar has no jurisdiction over it” (Tristia). “Beyond the last inner tunic, which is this poor body of mine, no one has any authority over me at all” (Arrian, Epicteti Dissertationea). Seneca imagines Socrates’s reaction to insults: “The hardness of a stone is felt by no one more than the one striking it. I present myself no differently than the lonely rock in the sea: on all sides there is commotion; I am continually buffeted, but not for that reason do they move that rock nor consume it—though the battery continue through the aeons” (De vita beata).

Shamelessness—in the form of apathy and autonomy—was raised to a high virtue among the Epicureans, Cynics, and Stoics of the Empire. Caligula was wont to say that there was nothing in his own nature more to be praised and ap- proved that his Stoic immobility (adiatrepsia).
That, Suetonius explains, was his word for shamelessness
(inverecundiam) (Gaius).

Cato does not respond to insult; he does not blush; he does not defend himself; he does not play the game; it is beneath him. Everything might move around him, but
Seneca’s Cato is unmoved (Epistulae). “Through it all,” according to Velleius, “he was nearer in spirit to the gods than to other human beings”. “It is possi- ble,” asserted the sad emperor Marcus Aurelius—affirming his greatest fear as if it were his greatest hope—“to become an entirely godlike man and yet not be rec-
ognized by anyone” (Meditations)."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:27 pm

"The face became a façade. The persona went from being primarily expressive to primarily defensive.160 In Tacitus’s world, all (including the emperor) were compelled to hide behind the façade of their faces."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:27 pm

"A king did not want to see the expression of the spirit, the will, in his subject’s face, any more than a master wanted to see will in his slave’s face: “First of all, I want to see a clearer expression on your face when you talk to me; it is stupidity for you to scowl at one who is more powerful than you are” (Plautus, Casina). Just as the master could dictate the face to be worn by his slave, or the patron by his client, the emperor could dictate the face to be worn by his courtier. And if one could not take off one’s mask, it petrified. The role-playing that had no end, like the game that had no temporal limits, was slavery.170 The person compe led to speak and act a formalized script felt “inane.” In the prologue of Persius’s first satire, the parasite and client, compelled to speak at the dinner party of the rich patron, describes himself as a “magpie” or “puppet.” As time went on, even—or should I say especially—the victorious Roman elite came to know, profoundly, the experience of the defeated and the dependent."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:27 pm

"The hardened skin is the disposable skin; it could be applied and peeled off like papier-mâché or painted on and washed off like greasepaint. The subject, like the dependent, delighted in being callidus, wily as well as hard; he or she enjoyed being a Vertumnus or a versipellis, a protean creature who changed his or her skin to suit the moment.173 Tacitus’s aristocrats often adopted the survival strategy of Plautus’s slaves: metamorphosis. It is important to add,
however, that if being a trickster made one like the slaves in Plautus or Petronius, it also made one like a god.174 Jupiter was, of course, the ultimate versipellis (Plautus, Amphitruo). Like the god, the slave was not attached to his face. To borrow a phrase from Jerome: “either a stone or a god” (vel saxum vel deus [Epistulae]."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Roman Honour Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:28 pm

"Otium, vacatio, immunitas, withdrawal, leisure, the absence of tension and distur- bance, became values in Roman society at the moment when it became impossi- ble to maintain one’s being by contest and when the isolation of withdrawal was less painful than the humiliation that came with the active negotiation of one’s honor.

The ideal of a stable, permanent, benevolent status quo, a state free from the endless equilibrations, the tensions and disturbances of the Republican balancing systems, an otium commune, a pax civilis, appears in Cicero’s thought simultaneously with the perception that the tensions of public life had become insufferable.

Virtus, the active principle par excellence, congeals into patience, endurance, pas- sive resistance; it began to be used of internal qualities, even those unseen or un- acknowledged.187 It looks more and more like our “virtue.” But the idea that one could have virtus in otium, that one could have virtus without the strenuous expendi- ture of energy, without contest, without witnesses, was nothing short of a revolution in Roman values."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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