Maurizio Bettini

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199211524
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History


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Anthropology and the humanities both deal with man, but they deal with utterly different kinds of man. To put them together was a difficult task, therefore: it was not a simple question of reconciling two disciplines, but of reconciling two different types of human being: the Romans and the ‘savages’, ‘classical’ and ‘primitive’ man. The more comparative the anthropology of Rome demonstrates itself to be – proposing a comparison of Roman culture with the culture of others, with non-Romans in the broadest sense of the term – the more it is perceived to be distinct from the rest of Classical Studies. There is so much emic attention in details and their related historical aspects, but so much etic freedom in using concepts linked to the culture of the observer. Clyde Kluckhohn insisted several times in his work on the indissoluble connection between anthropology on the one hand, and an interest in what we could define as ‘oddities’ on the other. This article discusses anthropology and the textuality of Roman culture.

Keywords: Roman culture; anthropology; textuality; humanities; Rome; etic; emic; Clyde Kluckhohn; oddities

Article.  7082 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical History ; Ancient Roman History

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