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Les larmes romaines et leur portée : une question de genre ?

Abstract : In Republican and Imperial Rome, weeping often accompanied private or public events. To embellish their speeches and establish their authority, senators, emperors and outstanding soldiers did not hesitate to shed tears when the situation was serious. The effect of such sobbing in public depended on their social positions and their fame: an aristocrat’s laments had more influence than a simple soldier’s. For women, on the contrary, tears were often prohibited (except in mourning), even though their “nature” and their imbecillus animus (Livy, 3, 48, 8) were assumed to predispose them to cry. Emotional blackmail was generally considered a female phenomenon by the Romans. Despite its insistence on composure, the philosophy of the time, particularly that of the Stoics, was unable to prevent this major recourse to tears, which was gradually diverted and given renewed value by Christian authors in their praise of repentance.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 15, 2021 - 11:39:39 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 6:38:17 PM

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Sarah Rey. Les larmes romaines et leur portée : une question de genre ?. Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire, Belin, 2015, pp.243-263. ⟨10.4000/clio.12447⟩. ⟨hal-03379908⟩

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