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Cla233 - test 1 review.doc

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Michael J.Dewar

Cla233 – test 1 review Dignitas Cato the slave: - Story is written by Seneca the younger (poet, philosopher, tutor to Nero, he adapted traditional roman morality by reinterpreting it in a Greek context). This story is an allusion to Cato the younger who killed himself rather than ask the emperor for pardon after a failed rebellion against the dictatorship (symbol of roman commitment and aristocratic freedom) - The german in the story was probably a prisoner of war (because he was in the gladiator arena). Gladiators usually didn’t have their gladius (sword), for amusement they would be given just enough weapons to make their death not so quick. Since they were by definition criminals no one really cared that they died so grimly. The humiliation as more of the punishment (lots of romans finding amusement at his death) - Romans werenot very inhibited by their body like most western societies, accustomed to public nudity in baths or gymnasium but one thing they were anxious about was bodily excrement. That’s why they let cato into the bathroom without a guard (otherwise a guard everywhere so people wouldn’t miss his spectacular death). It was aploy so that he could kill himself with one of the sponges-on-sticks (what they sued as toilet paper back then) by shoving it down his throat - Catoa nd the german prisoner both have courage and the heroic refusal to submit, their dignitas was not damaged by submitting and cato lived on in the works of seneca for thousands of years (german prisoner no one cared about) Emperor Hadrian: - He was famous for travelling, building, and liking greek things. Would have shocked old fashioned roman xenophobes (like cato the elder) but at that point being xenophobic was somewhat petty. He kept his dignitas in good standing by serving in the army like every roman citizen and also played the part of a regular citizen (would take baths in public baths) as a sort of public service, would let people come to him with their problems - Baths were not with water or soap (meant for washing clothes), actually they took baths by smothering themselves in olive oil and scraping it off. You would get a slave or close family member to scrape it off for you - If you were a rich man (or emperor) you would keep your dignitas by doing certain public services like git giving (munificentia). Taxes were low so the rich would support their community with things like acqueducts or road repairs. Emperors did this on large scales, but always needed a balance (shameful for ruch not to give anything, but also for poor to be too needy) - The man who was rubbing himself on the wall had a bond with the emperor through their years of military service, the guy was poor and lonely so he had no one to rub the oil off him. The emperor did a really lavish munificentia by giving him more than one slave and paying their food/board - When the group of people did that the emperor was put into a sticky situation. If he punished them he would be considered to mean (lower dignitas) but fi he did nothing then that would be shameful (lower dignitas) and if he gave them each a slave they would walk all over him (lower dignitas). So he gave a command in the form of a joke for them to rub each other (also considered dirty colloquially). Therefore emperor wasn’t so concerned about his dignitas that he couldn’t joke around, but was also someone you couldn’t take advantage of. Mucius Scaevola: - In most of roman history it was male dominated in literature, and school boys were taught history foremost because it taught them how to be good roman citizens(this also means being a good warrior). Roman history is confusing because sometimes they do not differentiate between myth and reality, no one knows whether or not mucius scaevola was actually real - Rome was founded in the 8 century BC, people say the name rome was from Romulus (actually Romulus means “person from rome” so it had be other way around). The kings were famous for each having special qualities, Romulus was a warrior, the one after him was very religious, third king was son of slave, some kings weren’t even born romans. The last king however was known for being a tyrant and they drove him out, declaring Rome a republic. His name was tarquin and he asked his cousin ( a king in Tuscany names porsena) to help him get Rome back. Rome was besieged - Romans loved stories about enemies that you could respect, and enemies who emulated the roman ideals of virtue. Porsena was one of these. Back then however people were allowed to write historical fiction (as truth?). - Mucius scaevola was a roman youth who wanted to help end the siege. He went to the senate and asked the senex (latin for group of old men, council of elders) which was the highest ruling body in rome after the king was thrown out. He told them of his plan to go behind enemy lines and try to assassinate porsena because if he didn’t then the guards might see him sneaking out and brand him as a traitor. (sidenote: romans thought after killing your enemy it was perfectly honorable to loot his body). Mucius is doing his plan for the community and for rome, which is virtuous according to roman tradition - He went behind lines and saw the kings encampment, made his move there. The king however was dressed just like his secretary because he didn’t differentiate himself form the people under him (humble king, part of why romans think he is a virtous enemy, even though most of his people the Etruscans were lavish). Mucius is then captured - Mucius then lies about his plan (he is lying in order to help rome and show courage, so its okay). He says that every night while they are beseieged another youth will come and try to do the same thing, stating that they don’t care about their bodies as long as they can help rome (he himself says that he doesn’t care if the king kill him because he has his eye on great glory). Mucius then puts his right arm on a brazier and burns it (right arm is the holy one for taking oaths and stuff, mucius shows his disdain for torture by doing this). King sets him free because he is astounded by the selflessness. - He gets back to Rome and that’s when people start calling him mucius scaevolla (scaevola means left handed), story is important as it gives the backstory of an important family name - Story is reported by both Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus (greek name, pay attention?) Father and Husbands: - Patria potestas (rome was a patrairchy which means rule of the fathers, the fathers rule is law and even the emperor could not intervene), the father could execute any member of his household if he wanted. The non roman kings tried to downplay this and make it less violent. However, custom was usually in conflict with the law in such that the wife was more powerful in the house. In the house there was a large family room (atrium) where everyone would be usually, the familes of that time were genial enough to not be totally under patria potestas. - In patria potestas there were rules regarding certain things like marriage and such, if you were a daughter than you would strill be under the patria potestas of your own father not the husband. If you r husband beat you not only would he lose his dignitas he could also have his wife taken away by his father in law. Sometimes however people took patria potestas too far, eugenius killed his wife because she partook of a little wine. (back then in the early days of rome patria potestas was held in really high regard. A woman who drank wine would become a loose woman and lose all virtues, and open the door to vices.)he beat her to death with a club. There is another story. Virgil, in his aeneid, showed that patria potestas could be used to immortalize yourself, especially In gruesome ways. Brutus had become consulate(?) for the tarquin king, but his sons rose up in rebellion against him. The rebellion as stamped out, and brutus has the choice to either let his boys go free or do the “lawful” thing and execute them (with a fasces, which was a bundle of sticks with an axe in it, signifying unity and strength snd the authority of the king.. Romans had respect for people like this, who chose their fatherland over the natural love of their children (fame rather than the love of his sons). Seneca the younger showed some rules around patria potestas for sons, they should follow their fathers word even if it is irrational and the end result is to compete with your father for fame and fortune. It would bring his dignitas(?) up if he raised a successful son.Pliny the younger, in one of his letters to junius mauricus, shows the concept of marriage in ancient rome. Most people would marry not for love but for status (and by default dignitas), you would have to look at several individuals of the family based on their own rank and dignitas to gage whether or not the daughter/son was the right match. Ex: father was humble and didnt accept praetor position, but son has ambition and does - side note: marriage's were not always for status, sometimes people married for love. In the case of the freedwomens husband they were bound by mutual love. She begs the spirits of purgatory (perhaps husband wasnt all that good?) to look after him ultill she joins them in the house of the dead. Slaves and freedman: • back in the day especialy in Eurasian slavery was quite common and the backbone of several economies including the romans. Because rome was the biggest city int he world at that time they required a lot of labor in order to keep it running. By ad 100, the popoulation of rome was overwhelmingly slaves or slave ancestry. The difference in roman slavery however was that when he became free (bybuying his way out, master being nice, time of servitude ended) he could take his masters name, get all the rights of a roman zitizen like serving in the army, and his family would be indistinguishabe from the former masters. A lot fot he slaves in Rome would come from their area's of conquest, which at that time was east. So greeks made the majority of roman slaves, and through this assimilation greek became a common language (like hindi). The christian church even used greek as its language of scripture rather than latin. When rome stopped expanding the bulk of the slave trade came from commerce. Criminal activity and slave breeding were some of the ways to keep the slave population up. Many people volunteered to be slaves to extinguish debt or just get some financial security, others sold their children into slavery because they had too many and they could be assured that the children would be well treated. Some were just foreigners who wanted to become roman citizens after being set free. The romans did ot have any racial biases
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