Men, Desires, and Self-Control

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, Desires, and Self-Control

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This chapter revolves around a different sort of power struggle between a man and his own desires or appetites. It seems that concerns about yielding to erotic desire and other pleasures were balanced by an acknowledgment that succumbing to them was common, and hence deserving of sympathy. A prime example of the appeal to the jurors' empathy for men defeated by eros is surely Against Athenogenes. The ethics of drinking wine, like that of sexual activity, reflected masculine concerns and tended to privilege male consumers. Drunkenness was pleaded both in a bid to excuse violent conduct and as evidence of an opponent's violent nature and lack of restraint. Greed disrupted the quality of life at home and in the city and subverted the values and the security that sustained both institutions. Self-control enabled men to resist the undesirable and incapacitating influences of desire and, hence, to behave morally.

Keywords: power struggle; man; erotic desire; appetites; wine; sexual activity; drunkenness; greed; self-control

Chapter.  9788 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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