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Lecture 2

CLA233 Lecture 2 Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Michael J.Dewar

CLA233 Lecture 2 Notes Mucius Scaevola - major sources of Roman thought – education system – mainly male poets, etc. – very small amount of female text - belief that not everyone is equal – every passage in some way tells how to be a good Roman male - dates are less important than the message – how to be a good Roman citizen – good warrior - what Romans thought of themselves – as much legend and mythmaking as actual historical events - Scaevola – may or may not have actually lived – more an example of courage - seven original kings of Rome – the number seven is a magical number – city of Rome built on seven hills – none of these seven kings are shown to be historically real - later kings are more likely to have existed - the first king of Rome – Romulus - the name Romulus means “guy from Rome” – shows that Rome existed before the man - kings associated with warrior abilities and personality – Romulus - second king – Numa – religious man – various cults of Rme - king Servius – means “son of slave” - fifth and seventh kings – Etruscan kings - last king of Rome – Tarquin the proud – the “uppity” – Romans had conceptions of the limits of what the kings could get away with - drove out kings and declared a republic – kings were considered too “uppity” - Tarquin – Tuscan – related to other royal families in the area – King Porsena - Tarquin goes to Porsena to fight his people and regain the throne - Romans like noble enemies – understood what was good in human endeavor - Porsena – historical/factual existence cannot be proven – nothing known about him other than stories told by Romans - Lars Porsena – wants to impose system of government that has just been rejected – however he is noble despite being a foreigner – a good foreigner – could be a Roman with the amount of dignity/nobility he possesses - Mucius Scaevola – ambiguous character - assumption in reading passage – everyone knows what he is talking about, assumption that reader is a male Roman citizen - Etruscans are besieging Rome – shortage of food - Mucius – individual heroism – balance duty to community with desire to become famous – do something daring on his own - Livy – follows practice of other historians – presents “fiction” – what Mucius likely would have thought - some men left the city to join Tarquin the Proud – believed themselves patriots, but were considered deserters by the Romans who had just broken free and driven the kings from Rome – deserters were executed - Scaevola – wants to be brave, but is a Roman soldier – must remember the requirements of a military officer - Senate – council of elders – higher up in prestige and power than commanding officers – made up of the heads of the great aristocratic families – addressed as “fathers” for this reason - kill a man in battle – everything they have belongs to the killer - Mucius – not going to enemy side out of greed or to avenge the devastated farmland (destroyed property) – not to get rich or out of personal vengeance - individual heroism vs. community - expected that when enemy is killed – Roman strips the body of anything of value - community – Mucius makes a great personal risk for the good of the community - to get close to the king – difficult and dangerous – king is protected - target Porsena – in the camp - no disguise – Mucius bluffs his way into the camp – does not even bother with disguise - biggest challenge – getting out of Rome - Mucius goes to the camp of pay day for the Etruscan soldiers - Romans soldiers were regularly paid in salt amounts – reason for current term ‘salary’ - salt was a very valuable commodity - scribe – makes sure soldiers to not attempt to cheat and get double pay - scribe is dressed in the same fashion as the king – to Romans it is considered a good thing – king is not posh – not like the average Etruscan – down to earth, good king - bad for Mucius – cannot distinguish the king from the scribe - person who seems to be in charge is the one speaking to the soldiers – Mucius kills the scribe by mistake - scribe – the one who speaks to the sodiers - Mucius – means “son of snot” – both heroic and silly – marks difference of their rustic ancestors – the idiot who couldn’t tell the king from the scribe – but still considered heroic - Mucius is one man – hundreds of Etruscan soldiers – however he is more fearful than fearing – killed Etruscans as he attempted to escape - calls himself a Roman ‘citizen’, not ‘subject’ – free Roman, no leader – all men are equal - Romans know how to act and endure with courage – can give it and take it – true courage - ‘we are a community’ – army of individuals with the same agenda – to be feared – Porsena should fear execution by assassin - Porsena – angered, attempts to see if there is a true plot – demands that Mucius be thrown into the fire as torture - Mucius – lying through his teeth – wants to scare the king – takes away Porsena’s advantage and sticks his right hand into the fire - sending message – can try to scare me – doesn’t care – burns right hand - right hand is important – Romans are superstitious – holy hand - left hand is evil – from hell - burns his right hand to show the truth in his words and to show contempt toward Porsena – burns the pure hand - to attempt to kill he king while not on the battlefield – considered cheating - Porsena respects the dignity of the Roman citizen – considered noble and admirable – gives up the right that no one would have disputed – to kill Mucius for an attempt on his life - each respects the other – Mucius and Porsena - bravery shown by Porsena – Mucius tells him the ‘truth’ – tells him of the 300 others willing to risk their lives to kill him – from the Roman point of view this is considered to be cunning – goes on lying to scare the king, but also acknowledges that he is worthy of respect - brave and courageous but also smart – respects the king but also has a duty to the community – attempts to scare the king into giving up his campaign - Scaevola – less negative term for the left hand - strong impression of Porsena – scared by the threat of 300 men - despite messing up the assassination – shows enormous amount of courage and tricks Porsena by bluffing – king makes proposals of peace out of fear - Scaevola – simultaneously noble and funny; courageous and cunning – loved by Romans - uncertain which parts of the story Livy has made up – doesn’t truly matter to culture - sacrifice of the right hand – important - incredibly rich te
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