The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans: The Gladiator and the Monster

Overview

This inquiry into the collective psychology of the ancient Romans speaks not about military conquest, sober law, and practical politics, but about extremes of despair, desire, and envy. Carlin Barton makes us uncomfortably familiar with a society struggling at or beyond the limits of human endurance. To probe the tensions of the Roman world in the period from the first century b.c.e. through the first two centuries c.e., Barton picks two images: the gladiator and the "monster."

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Overview

This inquiry into the collective psychology of the ancient Romans speaks not about military conquest, sober law, and practical politics, but about extremes of despair, desire, and envy. Carlin Barton makes us uncomfortably familiar with a society struggling at or beyond the limits of human endurance. To probe the tensions of the Roman world in the period from the first century b.c.e. through the first two centuries c.e., Barton picks two images: the gladiator and the "monster."

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
Barton amasses an impressive collection of ancient evidence and treats it to an even more impressive interpretation, reinforced by references to modern psychological and anthropological studies. The thesis is enriched and underscored by countless examples from contemporary films, plays, and literature. . . . This provocative volume deserves a wide audience.
— Richard E. Mitchell
Journal of Roman Studies
The main achievement of the author is a wealth of documentation of some rather odd-looking aspects of Roman culture. . . . [Barton] is especially stimulating on the subject of the gaze in the Roman context, on the dynamics of watching.
— James Davidson
The Voice Literary Supplement
Surely the most erudite treatment of Latin sadomasochism around and a model of literary-history digging.
— Scott L. Malcomson
American Historical Review - Richard E. Mitchell
Barton amasses an impressive collection of ancient evidence and treats it to an even more impressive interpretation, reinforced by references to modern psychological and anthropological studies. The thesis is enriched and underscored by countless examples from contemporary films, plays, and literature. . . . This provocative volume deserves a wide audience.
The Voice Literary Supplement - Scott L. Malcomson
Surely the most erudite treatment of Latin sadomasochism around and a model of literary-history digging.
Journal of Roman Studies - James Davidson
The main achievement of the author is a wealth of documentation of some rather odd-looking aspects of Roman culture. . . . [Barton] is especially stimulating on the subject of the gaze in the Roman context, on the dynamics of watching.
From the Publisher
"Barton amasses an impressive collection of ancient evidence and treats it to an even more impressive interpretation, reinforced by references to modern psychological and anthropological studies. The thesis is enriched and underscored by countless examples from contemporary films, plays, and literature. . . . This provocative volume deserves a wide audience."—Richard E. Mitchell, American Historical Review

"Surely the most erudite treatment of Latin sadomasochism around and a model of literary-history digging."—Scott L. Malcomson, The Voice Literary Supplement

"The main achievement of the author is a wealth of documentation of some rather odd-looking aspects of Roman culture. . . . [Barton] is especially stimulating on the subject of the gaze in the Roman context, on the dynamics of watching."—James Davidson, Journal of Roman Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691010915
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 3
The Gladiator
1 Despair 11
The Scandal of the Arena 11
2 Desire 47
Wine without Water 47
The Monster
3 Fascination 85
A Vain, Barren, Exquisite Wasting 85
4 Envy (Part One) 107
Embracing the Monster 107
5 Envy (Part Two) 145
Striking the Monster 145
6 Conclusions 176
The Widening Gyre 176
Modern Works Cited 191
Index 203
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