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Nature Embodied : Gesture in Ancient Rome - Anthony Corbeill

Nature Embodied

Gesture in Ancient Rome

Hardcover Published: 4th December 2003
ISBN: 9780691074948
Number Of Pages: 224

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Bodily gesture. A Roman worshipper spins in a circle in front of a temple. Faced with death, a Roman woman tears her hair and beats her breasts. Enthusiastic spectators at a gladiatorial event gesticulate with thumbs. Examining the tantalizing glimpses of ancient bodies offered by surviving Roman sculptures, paintings, and literary texts, Anthony Corbeill analyzes the role of gesture in medical and religious ritual, in the gladiatorial arena, in mourning practice, in aristocratic competition of the late Republic, and in the court of the emperor Tiberius. Adopting approaches from anthropology, gender studies, and ecological theory, "Nature Embodied" offers both a series of case studies and an overarching narrative of the role and meanings of gesture in ancient Rome.

Arguing that bodily movement grew out of the relationship between Romans and their natural, social, and spiritual environment, the book explores the ways in which an originally harmonious relationship between nature and the body was manipulated as Rome became socially and politically complex. By the time that Tacitus was writing about the reign of Tiberius, the emergence of a new political order had prompted an increasingly inscrutable equation between truth and the body--and something vital in the once harmonizing relationship between bodies and the world beyond them had been lost.

"Nature Embodied" makes an important contribution to an expanding field of research by offering a new theoretical model for the study of gesture in classical times.

Industry Reviews

"In this widely accessible study Anthony Corbeill applies anthropological and sociological approaches to aspects of gesture and body language in ancient Rome... Corbeill examines textual and verbal evidence ... to offer innovative and often bold interpretations."--Philip Hardie, Religious Studies Review

List of Illustrationsp. ix
List of Abbreviationsp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction Gesture as a Cultural Systemp. 1
Participatory Gestures in Roman Religious Ritual and Medicinep. 12
Physicality of Wordsp. 15
Handsp. 20
Romans and Earthp. 24
Physicality of Prayerp. 26
Physicality of Curesp. 33
Conclusionp. 37
The Power of Thumbsp. 41
Textual Appearancesp. 42
Visual Representationsp. 51
The Sign for the Deathblow in the Arenap. 62
A Riddlep. 64
Conclusionp. 65
Blood, Milk, and Tears: The Gestures of Mourning Womenp. 67
Gendered Funeralsp. 68
Gendered Gesturesp. 70
Greekand Etruscan Mourning Gesturesp. 72
Legal Evidencep. 75
Roman Mourning Gesturesp. 77
Women as Scapegoatsp. 84
Woman's Workp. 85
Roman Death Ritual as Double-Birthp. 89
First Funeralp. 90
Second Funeralp. 95
Milkas Nurture for an Adultp. 100
Conclusionp. 105
Political Movement: Walking and Ideology in Republican Romep. 107
Philosophy in Actionp. 108
Body Movement and Political Competitionp. 111
Movement in Oratory and Philosophyp. 114
Movement in Daily Lifep. 117
Incessus in Cicerop. 118
Cinaedi and Elite Politiciansp. 120
Enforcementp. 124
Conclusionp. 137
Face Facts: Facial Expression and the New Political Order in Tacitusp. 140
Gesture as Metaphorp. 140
The Politics of the Facep. 144
Eye-Movement in Roman Antiquityp. 146
Aspectus in Republican Traditionp. 147
The Decline of Rhetoric as the Decline of Physical Representationp. 151
Aspectus as Appearancep. 157
Conclusion: Tiberius and the New World Orderp. 165
Bibliographyp. 169
Index Locorump. 187
General Indexp. 198
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691074948
ISBN-10: 0691074941
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 4th December 2003
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.71 x 17.83  x 1.96
Weight (kg): 0.48