Men in the Military

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:
Men in the Military

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  • Greek and Roman Archaeology


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This chapter explores the ethos that sustained masculine perceptions, and the tension that existed between the realities of war and its ideology. Three speeches reveal that hoplitic values and ideology remained highly relevant to the assessment of men and of government policy in the second half of the fourth century. Courage and contribution to the city's war efforts are juxtaposed with poor performance or cowardice. The ambiguities surrounding the questions of what courage was and when it was displayed also informed the rhetoric of war and peace. Despite the changing realties of war in the fourth century, Athenian public discourse held on tenaciously to archaic values and perceptions of military service. The importance of military service as a measure of manhood and a man's fitness for public office did not mean that military men were unequivocally idealized, or that all men who failed to serve were unequivocally condemned.

Keywords: war; military men; peace; Athenian public discourse; military service; government policy; courage

Chapter.  11240 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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