This inquiry into the collective psychology of the ancient Romans speaks not about military conquest, sober law, and practical politics, but about extremes of despair, desire, and envy. Carlin Barton makes us uncomfortably familiar with a society struggling at or beyond the limits of human endurance. To probe the tensions of the Roman world in the period from the first century b.c.e. through the first two centuries c.e., Barton picks two images: the gladiator and the "monster."
"Barton amasses an impressive collection of ancient evidence and treats it to an even more impressive interpretation, reinforced by references to modern psychological and anthropological studies. The thesis is enriched and underscored by countless examples from contemporary films, plays, and literature. . . . This provocative volume deserves a wide audience."--Richard E. Mitchell, American Historical Review
"Surely the most erudite treatment of Latin sadomasochism around and a model of literary-history digging."--Scott L. Malcomson, The Voice Literary Supplement
"The main achievement of the author is a wealth of documentation of some rather odd-looking aspects of Roman culture. . . . [Barton] is especially stimulating on the subject of the gaze in the Roman context, on the dynamics of watching."--James Davidson, Journal of Roman Studies
Table of Contents
Hardcover published in 1992