Texts and Violence
in the Roman World
Monica R. Gale and J. H. D. Scourfiele (eds.)
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018, 396 pp.
From the bites and scratches of
lovers and the threat of flogging that hangs over the comic slave, to murder,
rape, dismemberment, and crucifixion, violence is everywhere in Latin
literature. The contributors to this volume explore the manifold ways in which
violence is constructed and represented in Latin poetry and prose from Plautus
to Prudentius, examining the interrelations between violence, language, power,
and gender, and the narrative, rhetorical, and ideological functions of such
depictions across the generic spectrum. How does violence contribute to the
pleasure of the text? Do depictions of violence always reinforce
status-hierarchies, or can they provoke a reassessment of normative value-systems?
Is the reader necessarily complicit with authorial constructions of violence?
These are pressing questions both for ancient literature and for film and other
modern media, and this volume will be of interest to scholars and students of
cultural studies as well as of the ancient world.
Introduction – reading Roman violence. Monica R. Gale and J. H. D.
1. Comic violence and the citizen body. David Konstan and Shilpa Raval
2. Contemplating violence: Lucretius’ ‘De rerum natura’. Monica R. Gale
3. Discipline and punish – Horatian satire and the formation of the self. Paul
4. Make war not love: militia amoris and domestic violence in Roman elegy.
5. Violence and resistance in Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. Carole E. Newlands
6. Tales of the unexpurgated (Cert PG) – Seneca’s Audionasties (Controversiae
2.5, 10.4). John Henderson
7. Dismemberment and the critics – Seneca’s ‘Phaedra’. Duncan F. Kennedy
8. Violence and alienation in Lucan’s ‘Pharsalia’ – the case of Caesar.
9. Tacitus and the language of violence. Bruce J. Gibson
10. Cruel narrative: Apuleius’ ‘Golden Ass’. William Fitzgerald
11. Violence and the Christian heroine – two narratives of desire, J. H. D.
Monica R. Galeis Professor in
Classics at Trinity College Dublin.
Scourfieldis Professor of Classics at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
Tiziano (1488-1576). El castigo de Marsias (ca. 1570-1576)