Changing Bodies, Changing Meanings: Studies on the Human by Dominic Montserrat

By Dominic Montserrat

First released in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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70 Our body, able-bodied or disabled, is our social self, our social location; it forms our identity within the world beyond. The body of the disabled person, therefore, whose body the community has ascribed with values, has been judged according to the community’s ideals of body, community needs, and socio-religious perceptions. 71 Attributing evil consequences to an evil cause is a universal trait. To the Graeco-Roman world, Oedipus had transgressed natural and social boundaries; and his punishment had to suit the crime.

5). In other words, morality was becoming concomitant with the care of the body, complementing the medical advice, recorded by Soranus, on the moulding of young bodies into socially acceptable shapes. An important message of Soranus was the favouring of the right hand to ensure right-handedness, which perhaps emanated from the Hippocratic notion that the male foetus was formed on the right side of the body, while the female came from the left. 43 Roman pledges were taken with the right hand (Liv.

The Homeric heroes were well built, never suffered bad health, and lived long lives. Their antithesis was Hesiod’s Iron-Age, fifth generation who suffered disease, old age and death (Op. ). ). 4– 5). 51 Self-violation was harder to comprehend, although on occasions it became a source of power or a weapon of the trickster. Iunius Brutus is such an example. 52 Hegesistratus’ self-disablement by hacking off his foot to escape the Spartan stocks and certain death earned Herodotus’ unqualified praise as the bravest act of which he had ever heard (Hdt.

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