Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens by Nancy Worman

By Nancy Worman

This learn of the language of insult charts abuse in classical Athenian literature that centres at the mouth and its appetites, specifically speaking, consuming, consuming, and sexual actions. Attic comedy, Platonic discussion, and fourth-century oratory usually install insulting depictions of the mouth and its excesses to be able to deride specialist audio system as sophists, demagogues, and girls. even if the styles of images explored are very trendy in historic invective and later western literary traditions, this can be the 1st publication 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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His words, thus sanctioned, would carry a special, even divine, force – as indeed they often seem to in the denouement of the Odyssey. , Od. 357–64. See also Bakhtin 1984: 197 regarding the objectification of and thus the physical violence directed toward the target of abuse. 46 O’Higgins 2003. Rosen 1988b; see further below. 110), although her Arai is from the Hellenistic period. , retribution, blood vengeance). Cf. Rosen 1988a: 15–16, who points to the association of iambos with physical pain, the verbal equivalent of a blow.

Strepsiades’ depairing conclusion to being hounded by his debtors: “bereft of money, bereft of skin,/ bereft of soul,/ and bereft of shoe” (froÓda t‡ cržmata, froÅdh croi†,/ froÅdh yucž, froÅdh d’ –mb†v, Nub. 718–19). Cf. Barthes’ analysis of the castrato’s voice: “[It is] as though, by selective hypertrophy, sexual density were obliged to abandon the rest of the body and lodge in the throat, thereby draining the body of all that connects it” (1974: 109). , calling the belly a ship’s hold [skaphos] in Euripides’ Cyclops).

90, where the menoeik¯es dais in Agamemnon’s tent is specifically mentioned. Again, see Nagy 1979: 127–41. I am arguing that the imagery of the dais eis¯e focuses the differences between the two heroes; but Nagy also notes that the famous neikos of Achilles and Odysseus (Od. 72–82) happened at a dais of the gods, and relates the dais especially to Achilles’ heritage and fate. 178). The imagery suggests a connection between the balanced social practices that Odysseus promotes in the Iliad and the balanced quality of his mind in the Odyssey.

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