Ancient Supplication

Ancient Supplication

By (author) Fred Naiden

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This is the first book-length treatment of supplication, an important social practice in ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Despite the importance of supplication, it has received little attention, and no previous study has explored so many aspects of the practice. Naiden investigates the varied gestures made by the supplicants, the types of requests they make, the arguments used in defense of their requests, and the role of the supplicandus, who evaluates and decides whether to fulfill the requests. Varied and abundant sources invite comparison between the societies of Greece and Rome and also among literary genres. Additionally, Naiden formulates an analysis of the ritual in its legal and political contexts. In constructing this rich and thorough study, Naiden considered over 800 acts of supplication from Greek, Hebrew, and Roman literature, art, and scientific sources. 30 illustrations and a map of the relevant locations accompany the text.

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  • Paperback | 440 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 35.56mm | 521.63g
  • 07 Jan 2010
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0195385985
  • 9780195385984

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Author Information

Assistant Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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Review quote

...a work of ancient history, where often complex moral and legal considerations take precedence over literary analysis. The great merit of such an approach is its emphasis upon social action in a violent world of steeply asymmetrical power and rights, and it gains added point from the discussion of an incident, and grisly photographs, from the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 (292-295)...a fine account of a fascinating topic at the meeting point of religious practice, law, and moral feeling. Richard Gordon, Greece & Rome

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