By Dominic Montserrat
First released in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.
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Additional resources for Changing Bodies, Changing Meanings: Studies on the Human Body in Antiquity
4– 5). 51 Self-violation was harder to comprehend, although on occasions it became a source of power or a weapon of the trickster. Iunius Brutus is such an example. 52 Hegesistratus’ self-disablement by hacking off his foot to escape the Spartan stocks and certain death earned Herodotus’ unqualified praise as the bravest act of which he had ever heard (Hdt. ix 37). 55 Acts of mutilation recorded by Herodotus were committed by non-Greeks on themselves, on their enemies, slaves, and on Greeks.
At Athens, too, the contest of manliness (euandrias agôn), open only to Athenians, was not simply for beauty, but also for ‘bodily stature and strength’ (sômatôn megethos kai rhômê: Xen. 8 This choice of the most beautiful seems primarily a means to select people to perform special religious rites. But we also learn that it can elsewhere be a way to choose a leader. In his Ethiopian History, Bion relates that among the Ethiopians, a race about whom many stories circulated, the handsomest men were chosen to be the kings (FHG iv 351 F4), ‘for it seems that beauty is a criterion of kingship’.
H. Ant. Rom. 2 (one eye lost in a prior battle); Plu. Publ. 4 (either an eye lost in battle, or had the appearance of Cyclops); Publ. 6–7 (lamed escaping); Pol. 1–4 (drowned); also De fort. Rom. 3 (317). According to Walbank 1957:740, his lameness, blindness, and even the defence of the Pons Sublicius, were later additions to the tradition. In Liv. 11–12 the account is very dramatised, and Horatius heroised. Here, Horatius has no physical blemish, survived unscathed, and was honoured with a statue erected in his honour.
Changing Bodies, Changing Meanings: Studies on the Human Body in Antiquity by Dominic Montserrat