Old Age and Manipulating Manhood

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:
Old Age and Manipulating Manhood

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This chapter presents a discussion of old men and old age in the oratorical corpus. The old fall short of several masculine and communal ideals. Aristotle's observation that old men cling to life reflects the perception that their fight against the inevitable is pathetic. It shows the sympathy and responsibility for the old, especially for parents and relatives. Athenian speakers depict the old, not only as powerless and in need of care, but also as men of authority and wisdom. Masculine expectations, then, were conflicting and uncertain. Athenian masculinity disdained individuals and groups who fell outside its categories, and it contributed to social inequality, discord, and even oppression. In the final analysis, it was too demanding, too ambitious, too pervasive, and too ill-defined, even though Athenian men continued to try to talk their way through it.

Keywords: old men; old age; manhood; Athenian masculinity; Aristotle; Athenian speakers; Athenian men; social inequality

Chapter.  4367 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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