From BMCR 01.09.2
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Carlin A. Barton, Roman Honor. The Fire in the Bones.  Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2001.  Pp. xiii, 326.  ISBN
0-520-22525-2.  $47.50.

Reviewed by Bob Kaster, Department of Classics, Princeton University
(kaster@princeton.edu)
Word count:  4453 words
-------------------------------

[Full disclosure: the reviewer is writing his own book on the Roman
construction of the emotions, to be published by Oxford University
Press; and Carlin Barton was a gracious referee of that book's
prospectus.]

Thirty pages into Carlin B(arton)'s new book I began to think,
irresistibly, of "This Is Our Music," an LP released by the Ornette
Coleman Quartet in 1960.[[1]]  Following Coleman's first album,
"Something Else!" (1958), and especially the landmark "Shape of Jazz to
Come" (1959), "Our Music" gave notice that the new sound ('free jazz,'
as it came to be known)--a form that retained some ties to melody while
largely abandoning conventions of harmonics, chordal 'changes,' and
fixed time signatures, to allow the musicians to improvise freely off
the melody's 'mood'--was not going away. This notice was likely to be
the more dismaying the more adept you were as a musician: while the
casual listener could enjoy Coleman's melodies, many of which were
quite hummable, and be taken by the flights of improvisational fancy,
musicians who heard only dissonance in place of known harmonic
structures and rhythmic values were not amused ("Man, you've got to
have something to improvise off of" was the initial response of Charles
Mingus, a musician of no small experience and imagination). The title
"This Is Our Music" was not so much a provocation ("This is our music:
wanna make something of it?"--though bassist Charlie Haden's hooded
glare on the LP cover suggests a bit of that) as it was a statement of
fact. This is our music: get used to it.

Roman Honor is B.'s "This Is Our Music." Coming eight year's after B.'s
first book, The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans, Honor quickly confirms
that the manner and method of the earlier work were not momentary
gestures but the sincere and authentic B., here redeployed in a new
direction.  Sorrows was a work of cultural psychology that used the
figures of 'the gladiator' and 'the monster' as tropes or heuristic
devices to get at the place of despair, desire, and envy--the emotions
of "homo in extremis"--in the imaginary of early Roman imperial
culture. Honor asks "what it was that the Romans fought hardest to
preserve": "What did the Romans think was the core and definition of
being? When everything solid melted into air, what would they cling
to?" (1). And what was their emotional experience as they clung there?
 

These are worthy questions, to which B. gives answers that are probing
and passionate, if not always precise and persuasive, as she tries "to
coax Roman history closer to the bone" (xi). The new book shares the
virtues of the old: plenty of observations both astute and profound; an
extensive familiarity with relevant literature in related fields
(anthropology, social psychology, psychiatry);[[2]] and a willingness
to take intellectual risks ("if I must fall and fail..., I prefer to go
careening off the roof rather than trip on a flat sidewalk" [17]). It
also shares Sorrows' faults: arguments that proceed by
overgeneralization and hyperbole; footnotes that do not prop up the
text or are too ill-sorted to guide further study; and a way of
handling the Romans' words that struck even a generally sympathetic
reviewer of Sorrows as lacking in finesse.[[3]]

B., on balance wisely, does not attempt yet another formal definition
of 'honor' but instead allows the concept to unfold in the story she
tells. The story has three main parts: (a) "The Moment of Truth in
Ancient Rome: Honor and Embodiment in a Contest Culture"--Chapter 3
"Light and Fire" (34-87), Chapter 4 "Stone and Ice: The Remedies of
Dishonor" (88-130); (b)"Confession and the Roman Soul"--Chapter 5 "The
Spirit Speaking" (136-58), Chapter 6 "Confession and the Remedies of
Defeat" (159-95); (c)"On the Wire: The Experience of Shame in Ancient
Rome"--Chapter 7 "The Poise of Shame" (202-43), Chapter 8 "The Poison
of Shame--and Its Antidotes" (244-69).  These are preceded by an
"Introduction" that does some ground-clearing (1-17) and a "Sort of
Prelude" ("The Tao of the Romans," 18-28), which excellently summarizes
the principles of decorum and restraint that structured Roman public
life. At the end are some conclusions that point a moral ("Choosing
Life," 270-88) and a "philosophical coda" in which B. reflects on her
methods and herself (289-95). We can survey each of the three main
parts in turn.

"Folk Tale"
In the beginning (chapter 3) Rome developed, and for long maintained,
the values of a warrior culture, in which a person's identity was
shaped through the good contest--a contest between relative equals that
was public, strenuous, and framed by accepted boundaries (32). This
contest--or "ordeal," as B. prefers to call it[[4]]--established your
portion, of respect no less than material goods, and your 'face,'
understood as both the public role you maintained and the credit you
received for maintaining it.  The contest called for the exertion of
your will, and by exerting your will within the rules of the contest
you became a vir, which was not a biological/ontological condition
(that was a mas) but an existential status achieved by choosing,
learning, and playing your role.[[5]] Playing the role produced and
expressed virtus, and virtuswas expressed nowhere more insistently than
in the generous readiness of the vir to treat himself as expendable on
behalf of the collectivity. As B. says in a fine sentence, "In Roman
contest culture...to will death was not to deny life but to carve its
contours" (43), and she gathers many story-fragments to suggest how
deeply the Romans drank of "The Elixir of Desperation" (47-56: that the
Romans might often have told themselves these scary but edifying tales
less to convey something present in their culture than to conceal an
absence does not necessarily detract from B.'s point).

In this culture, to lose your 'face' was to lose your 'soul': "Relieved
of the burden or mask, removed from the endless challenges of the
contest,...a Roman was not the authentic, genuine, original self as we
imagine it, but a void" (64). Conversely, by acting with a
"hyperconsciousness" of his 'face' a Roman of honor "lived critically
in the moment," where "the world was sharp, immediate, visceral" (65).
Indeed, in an important sense there was no clear distinction between
your performance and an external world, because the 'truth' was not
something 'out there' as an objective reality against which you were
measured: "Generally, in earlier Roman thought, the 'truth' of what one
said was intimately linked with the ability of the speaker to endure a
test or trial of some sort" (68: this generalization about "earlier
Roman thought" is said, n. 175, to be "especially true" in the versions
of Greek New Comedy by Plautus and Terence).  Creating the world act by
act and test by test was understandably a strain and a shock, producing
a sense of fragility and doom (76); but the strain was relieved by the
formalization of the rules and rituals (80), and that formalization in
turn set limits on the competition.  You played the game not to win or
to humiliate your competitors but for the sake of the game itself (84):
for that was the way you most radically created yourself--the way you
established your sincerity and authenticity (86)--and at the same time
honored the collectivity that honored you for playing the game.  The
"fire in the bones" of the book's subtitle both kindled your desire to
play the game and warmed you when you played it well: the manly men of
the good contest culture burned with a hard, gemlike flame that would
have reduced old Walter Pater to ash.

But then (chapter 4), something very bad happened: the contestants
ceased to be equals but were distinguished by gross disparities of
status and power; the rules of the game ceased to be generally accepted
and became "arbitrary or unknown"; and the contest was not played only
up to a certain limit and fundamentally for its own sake but to defeat,
indeed to debase, the competitor at all costs (89-90). And so, "this is
the sad chapter" (90). It is sad because, as the bad contest supplanted
the good, the fire in the bones was damped down and died: where honor
could no longer depend on the vivid, willful creation of an existential
self and the stressful, exhilirating maintenance of a public 'face,'
the concept of an ontological self--a self that just is, independent of
external exigencies--became dominant, and the protection of that self
became the highest goal: "As a result of the collapse of the
traditional limitations, the erasure of the scripts...of Roman social
and psychological life, it was increasingly difficult to alleviate the
shock of embodiment" (94). Hence, instead of the virtus of a self
realized in action, we get a 'virtue' that stresses the blandness of
moderation and self-restraint; instead of the 'honor' that depended on
the self's embeddedness in continual contests, we get an 'honesty' that
depends only on oneself; and instead of an authenticity created from
moment to moment, we get an authenticity that can be preserved only by
being freed from the momentary. In fact, we already have one foot out
of this world and are ready (as B. ultimately will say, 283) to enter
the Kingdom of Heaven.  For B. this is not a good thing.

When I say that the bad contest supplanted the good, I use the verb
"supplanted" advisedly: for though B. says (33) that the patterns of
the good contest abided through the Republic and into the early Empire,
and also says (90-91) that there had always been bad contests at Rome,
her argument is dominated by the distinction between early and middle
Republic, as the time of the good contest, and late Republic and early
Empire, as the time of the bad contest.[[6]] Which is to say, her
argument largely transposes into different terms the Romans' own
understanding of their history.  The watershed is (variously) the
conquest of the Mediterranean in the second century BCE or the civil
wars of the first century BCE (B. is not entirely consistent here, but
neither were the Romans): that is when the rules changed forever, as
various "rogue males" (Sulla, Marius, Pompey, Caesar...) sought, and
one of them finally achieved, total victory at any cost, engrossing all
'honor' for himself (see esp. 99-105).  In that context even to
participate in the contest was a form of humiliation; and so "the
Romans" sought various alternatives or therapies (115-26): turning
"servitude" into "service," seeking "the life of a rock" (this is how
B. conceives the Stoics' "living according to Nature"), choosing
hypocrisy, or simply opting out.  It is, as B. says, a sad chapter.

But having read these two chapters, which are much the most important
in the book, are we closer to the "really real" that B. wants to give
us?  Certainly, parts of the story are familiar from other tellings.
As already noted, some elements recall the stories that the Romans told
themselves about their fall from a kind of grace. Other elements recall
the way we used to explain the development of Hellenistic philosophy,
as the ambulance that gathered up survivors of the old polis-world, to
succor them once Alexander had turned that world to rubble.  Still
other elements recall the Maussian distinction between the socially
embedded, externalized ethics of the personne and the internalized,
highly individualized ethics of the moi.[[7]]  And the two models of
contest and honor that B. presents are rich and useful to think with,
or to push against; they might even capture the ways in which some
individual Romans, at some times, experienced their lives.  But that
the experience of "the Romans" en bloc was as B. describes it is
difficult to believe.

There are two obvious and broad weaknesses, and a puzzle. First, B.'s
schema is so little differentiated, so generalized, and so little
reflective of life's messiness that it is hard to feel the real. It's
unpersuasive to generalize, as B. does, to "the Romans" as a whole from
Cicero in one of his funks, or from Seneca at any time, but it's not
just unpersuasive: the generalizations manage to flatten out, to
deprive of their particular humanity both Cicero or Seneca on the one
side and "the Romans" on the other. Second, the perennial problem that
bedevils any reconstruction of the social and psychological life of the
early and middle Republic--the fact that virtually all our sources were
produced generations later, by men filtering uncertain traditions
through their own sensibilities and concerns--is aggravated by the
terms of B.'s own argument: for, if she is right about the seismic
shift that occurred, entailing "the erasure of the scripts...of Roman
social and psychological life," then Cicero, Sallust, Livy and the rest
should have been so demoralized, deracinated, and generally bouleverse/
that it's hard to see how we could trust their testimony on anything,
even themselves. Finally, there's the puzzle. Since mostly the same
authors and texts are cited for both models, B. is by implication
conducting a kind of archaeology, digging about in the texts and
sorting this fragment into the "good old contest" bin and that fragment
into the "bad new contest" bin. But it remains unclear where the bins
themselves come from, and why we should find just these bins--exactly
these bins, and only these bins--intellectually satisfying.

"Kaleidoscope"
I can be briefer concerning Part Two ("Confession and the Roman Soul"),
in part because it is the least controlled portion of the book, and I'm
not sure what it is doing here: concerned as it largely is with "homo
in extremis"--with defeat, torture, and extorted confessions, with men
broken and humiliated--it seems to be a reprise of Sorrows.  It starts
(133) from the assertion that "it was above all one's word that
realized, that reified one's spirit in the world" (despite the core
contention of Part 1 that it was not one's speech but one's
actions--the strenuous deeds of the contest culture--that developed
virtus, gave you your 'face', and realized your animus).  Accordingly,
"confession..., insofar as it was the suppression or appropriation by
one person of another person's voice, was a humiliation" (134: not many
readers will guess that in this semi-definition of "confession" B., as
she reveals many pages later, is thinking specifically of coerced
confession, and that the "suppression or appropriation" of voice
mentioned here is that achieved by the person doing the coercing, not
the person doing the confessing). As a result all confession becomes a
form of "humiliation": this is the how the topic enters a discussion of
"honor."  "It was more honorable to exhaust all possible means of
defense, including lying and blaming others even for one's manifest
crimes" (140): that some Romans behaved this way is certainly true,
though I do not take this to be a distinguishing feature of their
culture; that it was "honorable" to do so is supported by no Latin text
that B. cites and is contradicted by texts she cites later on (156).

But suppose you were a broken spirit (164): what could you do?  The
bulk of chapter 6 seeks the remedy: in denial (182-83), in aggressive,
shameless profession (185-90), and above all by throwing yourself on
the mercy of the "father" (164-79)--in the first instance, the literal
father, with his vitae necisque potestas, and by extension the emperor,
as pater patriae, the father of all.  But to accept such mercy (B.
says) was to admit guilt and accept humiliation: you might save your
animus, but "the soul that was redeemed was the very inverse of the
ancient Roman soul; the animus that was saved by the Emperor, or Isis,
or by the Christian God filled a vessel that...had been emptied of its
will" (194).

It is also in Part 2 that Winston Smith--the protagonist of 1984, who
first enters the discussion in chapter 4 (108)--becomes a recurrent
presence, allowing B. to assimilate "the Romans" of the Empire to the
denizens of a totalitarian state (the novel will at the end provide the
book's final epigraph [295]: "His thoughts wandered again.  Almost
unconsciously he traced with his fingers in the dust of the table: 2 +
2 = 5"). But this trope does not do justice either to the evils of
Roman autocracy or to the evils of Orwell's nightmare vision.  For all
the worst deeds of Rome's wackiest tyrants, Rome was not a totalitarian
state. In fact, it was not even much of a state. It was a very large
and terribly complex aggregate of many interlocking and overlapping
communities and mini-cultures. The book's unwillingness to face this
complexity squarely is especially apparent in these chapters.

"Poise"
Parts 1 and 2 were concerned less with emotions than with norms and
strategies of behavior. Part 3 is concerned with the emotions of shame,
which B. rightly understands as inseparable from (not the opposite of)
honor; and overall it is very good indeed.  The discussion is organized
according to the "ordering" and "socializing" forces of shame on the
one hand--"the fear that inhibited one from transgressing one's bounds
and the remorse that one felt as a result of transgressing"--and the
"disordering" and "desocializing" forces on the other, "the more
extreme and destabilizing emotions...that alienated one human being
from another: irremediable inadequacy and inexpiable guilt" (200).
Though "inadequacy" is not an emotion, and though B. leaves unclear
what distinction she means to draw between "remorse" and "guilt" (an
interesting question), the basic distinction works well, as does each
of the chapters devoted to these forces.

Chapter 7, on the "ordering" force of Roman shame, is easily the best
thing in the book.  In an alert and patient survey guided by the work
of the phenomenologist Max Scheler, B. draws out the importance of
shame in Roman thought as an emotion that, above all, made people
present and responsive to each other.[[8]] As an "emotion of
relatedness" (207), it kept those with a sense of shame attentive to
others and attuned to reciprocities, and could impel them to exceed
their limitations. In B.'s apt governing metaphor, persons with a sense
of shame walked a high wire of self-control and self-awareness,
observed by others and observing themselves: the involuntary blush that
followed slips was both a mildly painful punishment and a prelude to
reintegration, insofar as it signaled to others that you were aware of
your fault and ready to make amends.  On all these things and more B.
has excellent things to say.

Chapter 8, on "The Poison of Shame--and Its Antidotes," while not at
the same level, still covers the ground.  B. begins by considering
"incorrigible inadequacy" (244-46) and "inexpiable guilt" (246-48):
though as with 'remorse' and 'guilt' B.'s examples do not clarify the
difference between these terms, the important point is that
"incorrigibility" and "inexpiability" depended less on the specific
character of the deed than on the reception of it by others and their
readiness to allow you to correct or expiate it ("The distinguishing
quality of severe and alienating shame was the lack (or perceived lack)
of collaboration from others in maintaining one's face," 250).  When
you were thus "beyond the pale" there were four forms of relief:
"Isolating withdrawal, impenetrable masking, brazen shamelessness
[basically the same thing as masking], or rage" (256). B. then surveys
these forms of relief (257-68, giving less attention than I expected to
suicide as a form of "withdrawal"). The survey is rapid, and that is in
accord with the evidence, which suggests that instances of irremediable
shaming were in fact relatively rare: it is not the least attractive
trait of the Romans that they devised many ways of claiming for
themselves, or cutting each other, a good deal of slack.

"Humpty Dumpty"
It comes as a shock, then, to find that in B.'s conclusions (270-88)
the paralysis of irremediable shame plays a very large role--far larger
than B.'s discussion or the evidence allows. Here the expansion to
empire and the rise of the bad contest, of the need to win at all
costs, produce an epidemic of pitiless shaming and irredeemable
disgrace. As one of the consequences, the soul is driven in on itself,
becomes "exsanguinated" (282), and withdraws into a pusillanimous
'virtue' that makes us unsuited to life on the edge and fit only for
baptism.

And I do mean "us": we, now, are the fallen heirs and successors of the
bad contest, and it is B.'s purpose in these conclusions to call us
back to the vigorous, trusting collectivity of the prelapsarian good
contest. That is the aim of B.'s own version of the folk tale, and it
is not at all a despicable aim. But for it to succeed we must accept
not only B.'s version of the tale but also her version of "us," as
morally obtuse and pretty dumb to boot (272): "when we read that Brutus
and Torquatus slew their sons or that Aeneas left behind his beloved
Dido, we...do not want to think that the very point of these stories is
the terrible choice, the anguish of a father having to follow a code
that conflicted with a father's intense feeling for a child, or the
agony of a man whose duty to the gods conflicted with his commitment to
the woman whom he loved.  We do not want the double-bind to be "real."
We do not want irresolvable paradoxes to be at the heart of our
spiritual lives. We want the choices to be clear to Brutus and
Torquatus and Aeneas, and the heroes to be spiritually in harmony with
the choices they have made and the demands of the code by which they
have lived."

On second thought, if the desires catalogued here do us justice, then
it's probably best that we not try to enact B.'s ideal.  So many
simpletons rushing about attempting strenuous deeds of vivid, willful
virtus...  Really, it's not a pretty thought.

B. offers two interesting models of honor, even if she does not make a
convincing case that these models developed as she describes, or for
the reasons she presents, for "the Romans" tout court.  Where the book
most seriously fails, however, is in its attempt to get "closer to the
bone." This attempt might be doomed in any case, given the limits of
what we can know; but B.'s version of the attempt is condemned by its
own method to remain too generalized, too schematic, and above all too
removed from the stories that are the closest we can come to the bone
and blood of Roman life.  It is B.'s primary expository-argumentative
mode to construct paragraphs by making an opening assertion that is
followed by four or five or six disembodied quotes meant to support or
exemplify it: the quotes are presented with little more than a "Livy
explains" or "Sallust declares," and very often without even that;
there is no necessary sequence or other relation among them, and no
commentary or context provided by B.[[9]]  The effect is as enlivening
as reading the "Sententiae Antiquae" in Wheelock at one go: the Romans
become stick-figure cartoons, their mouths sprouting dialogue balloons
filled with fortune-cookie apothegms. This is a consequence of B.'s
method of handling texts, one that, as I've noted before, does not
require an unsympathetic reader to find heavy-handed and reductive.

But this reductiveness is more than a methodological flaw, in this book
especially; and there is no very gentle way of putting the point.
Seeing B. refer (for example) to the time "Macrobius met the young poet
Servius at a dinner party" (229), a reader who knows the text will
wince at the error, comparable to citing the conversation that Plato
had with the orator Agathon in the Symposium.  But when B. goes on to
speak of Servius, whom Macrobius represents as blushing modestly and
becomingly before his elders and socio-cultural betters, as
incapacitated by, specifically, shame (230), the reader will not just
wince at an inconsequential slip but be brought up short by a claim
that rather badly mistakes the significance of the blush in its
context. And when B. later offers Servius's supposedly 'shame'-induced
silence as "a last-ditch strategy for preserving his self-control and
self-sufficiency" (258), the reader will see that B. is pushing the
initial misreading to a false and melodramatic conclusion (so far from
being a setting of crippling shame, Macrobius's Saturnalia imagines a
non-competitive collective in which status differences are minimized in
pursuit of a shared cultural goal). The reader will then think that,
well, the author might not exactly be playing by the rules here.

Or when, in another example, to confirm a sweeping generalization about
the "hard brutishness" that came to dominate Rome after the rogue males
had their way (275-76), B. invokes Cicero's statement, at the outset of
the pro Roscio Amerino, that the "ignoscendi ratio" has been lost from
the community,[[10]] a reader who happens to know the text will
recognize the statement as part of Cicero's opening captatio, will
recall that Cicero is referring specifically to the indulgence that his
youth should be accorded, and will know that Cicero is in effect
seeking to shame his audience into 'forgiving' him his youth. That
reader will accordingly know that the statement means the opposite of
what B. represents it as meaning, as it enacts the belief that the
capacity for 'forgiveness' has not been lost, in a community that has
not become simply brutish.

And when such examples have been joined by many, many other places
where the reader is offered unreliable versions of texts in which B.
has seemingly made no attempt to discern the author's will or
discursive strategy, the reader will be led to consider two
conclusions: that the bond of trust between author and reader crucial
to an interpretive community is not reliably in force here; and that B.
too often treats the texts she excerpts as the autocrat of her
imagination treats the people whose confessions he seeks, to achieve
"the suppression or appropriation...of another person's voice."  Is it
just that we come to be like what we hate?

B.'s manner of reading and citation does not just distance us from the
Romans' lives rather than bringing us "closer to the bone," and it is
not just that the quotations B. collects too often fail to support,
when they do not actually subvert, her contentions.  This manner of
reading is simply unaccountable in a book that so plainly values a
community built on trust and abhors the erasure of another's will. To
be sure, we cannot always get at the will behind the texts we read; and
even when we can, the production of meaning does not stop there. But if
we do not even make the sustained attempt, then I do not see the point
of doing what we do.[[11]]
 

------------------
Notes:
 

1.   "This Is Our Music--The Ornette Coleman Quartet" Atlantic Records
SD-1353: Ornette Coleman, alto sax; Donald Cherry, pocket trumpet;
Charlie Haden, bass; Ed Blackwell, drums. The section headings in this
review are taken from cuts on the LP.

2.   There is one startling omission here, however: though B. tells us
about (among others) the Japanese, the Inuit, and the Bedouin of early
Bourdieu, she is--beyond a couple of general invocations of "Homeric
Greeks," a couple of references to Aristotle, and a somewhat misleading
footnote on <greek>AI)DW/S</greek> and <greek>AI)SXU/NH</greek> (201
n.6)--silent on the Greeks.  Why B. would choose to handicap herself by
not profiting from the rich work of Douglas Cairns, Bernard Williams,
Martha Nussbaum, and others is one of the many small mysteries of the
book.

3.   James Davidson, JRS 84 (1994): 188 ("remarkably crude" was his
phrase).  I return to this point at the end of the review.

4.   B.'s preference for this hyperbole is doubly unhappy. It risks
confusion with 'ordeal' in the technical sense, the institution of
medieval culture that was quite a different thing; and because 'ordeal'
in common speech invariably connotes a painful experience that we would
avoid if only we could ("What an ordeal!": a root canal, a tax audit .
. .), B.'s use obscures a point that she should want to highlight: in
the culture she imagines, the test should have aroused great
apprehension and great eagerness at the same time.

5.   B. is surely right about the 'scriptedness' of vir and virtus, but
it is awkward for her distinction (38) that the instance of mas most
readers will recall involves notions of scriptedness as well: Catull.
16. 12-14 vos, quod milia multa basiorum / legistis, male me marem
putatis? / pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo.

6.   When B. does advert, at p. 98, to continuities and the maintenance
of old patterns amidst the new, it is to compare the Romans of the late
Republic to Nazis addicted to Ordentlichkeit and to zombies in the
films of George Romero, the living dead who go through the motions of
old behaviors empty of meaning. It's not clear how such talk serves the
aim stated in B.'s introduction, to "imagine [the Romans'] inner lives
to be as complex and layered, as rich...as we feel our own to be" (17).
 

7.   In this regard and others it is instructive to read B. in tandem
with Matthew Roller, Constructing Autocracy: Aristocrats and Emperors
in Julio-Claudian Rome (Princeton, 2001), especially his chapter 2,
"Ethics for the Principate: Seneca, Stoicism, and Traditional Roman
Morality."

8.   In her discussion B. treats pudor and verecundia indifferently, an
especially unfortunate choice since the distinction between them is
going to become important to her later on (282, on a supposed
"supersession" of pudor by verecundia over time): a reader encountering
that distinction will not know what it means, much less what evidence
there is for it.

9.   To take a typical case, here is the entirety of B.'s text in a
section of chapter 3, "The Specter of Solidities" (75-78), once all the
bald quotation is removed: "The Romans' sense of embodiment was not
only keen but brittle. The Romans, like the Homeric Greeks or the Heian
Japanese, had a keen sense of their own frailty....This infirmity often
translated into a sense of doom....Last words (ultima verba) were
compelling to the Romans, as they are to us--but not because they
summed up or grasped the eternal essence of life... [W]e are affected
by their words because they reveal the will of the speakers, the
fantastic will of the doomed to let go of what there was the most
extreme urgency to grasp. The ability of the Roman gladiator to carry
through with the 'play' right up to the moment of death proved, perhaps
more than anything, his terrifying courage.... Again, you were what you
could live without."

10.   S. Rosc. 3 ego si quid liberius dixero, vel occultum esse
propterea quod nondum ad rem publicam accessi, vel ignosci
adulescentiae meae poterit; tametsi non modo ignoscendi ratio verum
etiam cognoscendi consuetudo iam de civitate sublata est.

11.   The book is generally well produced; its copy-editing is marred
by such things as the "chasened silver drinking cups" on p. 72, the
"praeclarus facies," "licentia theatricalia," and other striking bits
of Latin scattered here and there, and the two instances where
"valances" appear in contexts not concerned with draperies.