Manhood and Social Standing

Joseph Roisman

in The Rhetoric of Manhood

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780520241923
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931138 | DOI:
Manhood and Social Standing

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  • Greek and Roman Archaeology


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This chapter explores the ways in which perceptions of masculinity were colored by social and economic status, and how the elite and the masses perceived each other's manhood. Erōtikos is an essay addressed by a man to a prospective young male lover named Epicrates. The association between superior manhood and superior social class seems to have been made by the demos as well. Oratorical references to the elite as unmanly focus on several interrelated themes: sexual excesses, self-indulgent lifestyles, the use of wealth in the pursuit of false honor, and hubris. Two speeches in Demosthenes' oratorical corpus that defended people in scorned occupations actually reflect the scorn in which those occupations and the people who earned their living by them were held. The orations presented generally show strong associations between manhood and social position.

Keywords: manhood; social position; Demosthenes; Erōtikos; Epicrates; masculinity; social class

Chapter.  8974 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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