This paper bears on the gesture consisting in slapping one’s thigh(s), in Greco-Roman antiquity, from a literary and historical point of view. It offers a list and study of relevant passages as complete as possible from Homer and archaic Roman authors to Imperial and Byzantine periods. On the basis of this collection of sources, one can conclude that such a gesture was meant to express sorrow, vexation and rage, and was used throughout antiquity and Middle Ages. It was recommended as a tool for oratorical delivery (e.g. in Rhetorica ad Herennium), but was also exposed to criticism as improper and demagogic (e. g. in Quintilian and Plutarch). Although slapping one’s thigh(s) remained in use as a demonstration of grief during Modern era (e.g. in Dante and Ariosto), an additional step occurred, which reveals itself as an anthropological turn: the same gesture assumed a new meaning in twentieth-century texts (e.g. in Kafka and Antunes), in which it is associated with noisy and rude laughing.

Battersi la coscia: ricorrenze e contesti di un gesto dell'actio oratoria greca e romana

ALESSANDRA ROMEO
2019

Abstract

This paper bears on the gesture consisting in slapping one’s thigh(s), in Greco-Roman antiquity, from a literary and historical point of view. It offers a list and study of relevant passages as complete as possible from Homer and archaic Roman authors to Imperial and Byzantine periods. On the basis of this collection of sources, one can conclude that such a gesture was meant to express sorrow, vexation and rage, and was used throughout antiquity and Middle Ages. It was recommended as a tool for oratorical delivery (e.g. in Rhetorica ad Herennium), but was also exposed to criticism as improper and demagogic (e. g. in Quintilian and Plutarch). Although slapping one’s thigh(s) remained in use as a demonstration of grief during Modern era (e.g. in Dante and Ariosto), an additional step occurred, which reveals itself as an anthropological turn: the same gesture assumed a new meaning in twentieth-century texts (e.g. in Kafka and Antunes), in which it is associated with noisy and rude laughing.
gesture, rhetoric, actio, emotion
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/296712
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact