Synopses & Reviews
The concept of manhood was immensely important in ancient Athens, shaping its political, social, legal, and ethical systems. This book, a groundbreaking study of manhood in fourth-century Athens, is the first to provide a comprehensive examination of notions about masculinity found in the Attic orators, who represent one of the most important sources for understanding the social history of this period. While previous studies have assumed a uniform ideology about manhood, Joseph Roisman finds that Athenians had quite varied opinions about what constituted manly values and conduct. He situates the evidence for ideas about manhood found in the Attic orators in its historical, ideological, and theoretical contexts to explore various manifestations of Athenian masculinity as well as the rhetoric that both articulated and questioned it.
Roisman focuses on topics such as the nexus between manhood and age; on Athenian men in their roles as family members, friends, and lovers; on the concept of masculine shame; on relations between social and economic status and manhood; on manhood in the military and politics; on the manly virtue of self-control; and on what men feared.
There were many social and cultural pressures put on Athenian men: to be a good husband, father and son, to be a model of honour and integrity, a good lover, a considerate citizen, hardworking and intelligent. This study examines the ideology of manhood through speeches from the Athenian law courts of the 4th century. In so doing, Joseph Roisman finds that values and opinions on manhood were not uniform, but encompassed a range of roles, practices and beliefs which altered according to socio-political context. Speeches by orators such as Demosthenes, Lysias, Aeschines and Andocides are explored to determine the perceptions and values of manhood that they reflected and openly debated, and in what circumstances men gave in to their desires, behaving disgracefully, aggressively and inconsiderately. Roisman's thematic discussion looks at manhood in youth, a man's role as kurios, husband, son, friend and citizen, manly shame, social standing, men in the military, struggle over power, desires and self-control and their fears.
"Roisman's profound but accessible study of ancient Athenian ideologies of manhood takes us straight to the heart and soul of the world's first democratic society."Paul Cartledge, author of Alexander the Great
"This literate, witty, and meticulously documented study tells us who was in, what was out, and how the ancients defined themselves as citizens, warriors, husbands, fathers, and sons. This is humanistic scholarship in the best sense of the term."Barry Strauss, author of The Battle of Salamis
About the Author
Joseph Roisman, Professor of Classics at Colby College, is author of The General Demosthenes and His Use of Military Surprise (1993), editor of Alexander the Great: Ancient and Modern Perspectives (1995), and editor of Brill's Companion to Alexander the Great (2003).
Table of Contents
1. Manly Youth
2. The Roles and Responsibilities of the Adult Male: Kurios, Husband, Son, Kinsman, Friend, and Citizen
3. Manly Shame
4. Manhood and Social Standing
5. Man in the Military
6. The Struggle over Power
7. Men, Desires, and Self-Control
8. What Men Fear
Conclusion. Old Age and Manipulating Manhood