University of Wisconsin Press colophon
 
 

 

 

University of Wisconsin Madison crest that links to main university site

Association of University Presses member logo that links to main AUPresses site

 

 

Catalog Archive / Spring 2020

Insults in Classical Athens

Wisconsin Studies in Classics
Laura McClure, Mark Stansbury-O'Donnell, and Matthew Roller, Series Editors

“Inherently interesting, entertaining, and timely. Kamen strikes a good balance between details and the big picture. In analyzing material intelligently and considering insults and abuse across a wide variety of sources, this volume seeks to understand this significant and sometimes problematic feature of citizen experience under the Athenian democracy.”
—Matthew Christ, Indiana University-Bloomington

Scholarly investigations of the rich field of verbal and extraverbal Athenian insults have typically been undertaken piecemeal. Deborah Kamen provides an overview of this vast terrain and synthesizes the rules, content, functions, and consequences of insulting fellow Athenians. The result is the first volume to map out the full spectrum of insults, from obscene banter at festivals, to invective in the courtroom, to slander and even hubristic assaults on another's honor.

While the classical city celebrated the democratic equality of "autochthonous" citizens, it counted a large population of noncitizens as inhabitants, so that ancient Athenians developed a preoccupation with negotiating, affirming, and restricting citizenship. Kamen raises key questions about what it meant to be a citizen in democratic Athens and demonstrates how insults were deployed to police the boundaries of acceptable behavior. In doing so, she illuminates surprising differences between antiquity and today and sheds light on the ways a democratic society valuing "free speech" can nonetheless curb language considered damaging to the community as a whole.

 

Deborah Kamen. Deborah Kamen is an associate professor of classics at the University of Washington and the author of Status in Classical Athens.

 

 

 

Praise

Insults in Classical Athens examines a decidedly understudied subject that is vast and multifaceted, successfully introducing the reader to the complexities and reasons why further study is necessary and important. Overall, this is a thoughtful and learned volume by an experienced scholar.”
—Konstantinos Kapparis, University of Florida

 

Resources

Download Cover: color | b/w

Download Author Photo: color | b/w

Request Review Copy

Request Exam/Desk Copy


 


Of Related Interest


Cover

Tragic Rites
Narrative and Ritual in Sophoclean Drama
Adriana E. Brook

Cover

Silenced Voices
The Poetics of Speech in Ovid
Bartolo A. Natoli

Insults in Classical Athens: cover art of the painting 'The Death of Socrates' zoomed in on Socrates, sitting on his bed, his left arm extended into the air. His fingers are blurred, to give it the appearance that he is making a vulgar hand signal that must be censored.

Larger images

August 2020
LC: 2019044534 D
272 pp. 6 x 9

Book icon
Cloth $99.95 S
ISBN 9780299328009
Shopping cart

ADD TO CART
Review Cart