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Reclaiming the Theatrical in the Second Sophistic.

In 144 C.E., at his own command, the dying sophist Polemon was carried before dawn to his family tomb outside the gates of Laodicea and buried alive. He urged the men closing up the tomb to hurry, so that the sun would never see him speechless; to his friends, overcome with grief, he cried out in a loud voice: "Give me a body and I will declaim!" ([LANGUGAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] VS 544). (1) A grand performer to the end, Polemon makes his last appearance in Philostratus longing not for extended life, but for a chance to perform once more-a remarkable request, made more so by the fact that he specifies precisely what kind of performance he would like to give: a [LANGUAGE NOT PRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] one of several types of formal speech commonly performed by Greek sophists of the imperial period in their masterly displays of epideictic oratory. With their shocking fusion of melodramatic theatricality and deadly seriousness, Polemon's last words crystallize the strains shot through the relationship between an cient manly virtue and its performance- strains that I shall read against the backdrop of contemporary ethical thought and in the broader terms of Greek cultural identity under the Roman empire.

Marcus Antonius Polemon was one of a highly competitive assortment of Greekspeaking orators known as "sophists" who visited urban centers throughout much of the Mediterranean world giving epideictic performances based on mythological narratives and classical thought; rephrasing, for instance, Demosthenes' Against Leptines (attested in VS 527) or giving voice to Xenophon's imagined plea to be executed alongside Socrates (VS 542); or transforming Odysseus' reproach to the Achaeans in Iliad Book 2 into stylish prose (Tiberius, [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 11.538). Active throughout the early and middle principate, these men also worked as imperial legates and as informal mediators between Greek cities in the eastern provinces of the Roman empire and, in these and other circumstances, gave speeches on current events. (2) Their Severan biographer Philostratus, with some exaggeration, named the period of their prominence a[LANGUAGE NOT REPORDUCIBLE IN ASCII], explaining, "it must not be called new, since i t is old, but rather second," following the sophistic movement in fifth- and fourth-century Athens (VS 481). (3)

The last thirty years have witnessed something of a scholarly explosion on the Second Sophistic (or. to call it by a more neutral term, the Greek imperial period) which has featured innovative work on the Greek novel as well as the sophists' oratorical performances. (4) Recently, the period has been viewed in the light of the historical and philosophical developments sketched out in the third volume of Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality. (5) Foucault draws attention to the gradually intensified energy directed by Greek and Roman imperial writers along the following lines: the fashioning of an internally constructed and managed self, as opposed to the "natural" development of an individual actor shaped by and subject to the external laws of civic society; and the specific disciplinary practices through which the self is contemplated and maintained, practices that generally uphold and justify dominant hierarchies of gender, ethnicity, and class. In Foucault's writings, it is the philosophers and physicians active in the Latin-speaking West, notably the younger Seneca, Epictetus, Plutarch, Galen, and Marcus Aurelius, who dominate the ethical discourse of selfhood in the first three centuries C.E. Added to his list, as I am not the first to suggest, must be the sophists, who, as learned men [LANGUAGE NOT REPORDUCIBLE IN ASCII] and walking exemplars of elite Greek culture, well-read in classical philosophy and familiar with the principles of physiognomy and medicine, were expert participants in the cultural experience Foucault characterizes as "the care of the self." (6) It is unquestionably the case that the sophists, particularly in their role as teachers of elite youth, espoused and advocated many of the beliefs and practices Foucault describes. I will argue, however, that these sophists are part of a far more complex cultural narrative than Foucault's representation of imperial intellectual life suggests. Though their activity properly belongs in the context of the ethical practices operative in other contemp orary discursive systems, it is distinctively different from those systems in several important ways--so different, in fact, that we are forced to reevaluate Foucault's influential claims for the period, and to develop a broader view of the nature and significance of imperial self-care.

Two crucial differences easily present themselves. First, the sophists strongly self-identify as members of an exclusively Greek as opposed to a Roman social group, whereas the practitioners of philosophy and medicine discussed by Foucault tend more readily to cross cultural lines.7 Further, sophists act in public (or in spaces they redefine as public), in contrast to the small networks of philia or amicitia which foster other types of ethical practice, exemplified by the younger Senecas friendship with Lucilius, the young recipient of the Epistulae morales. Most importantly, the sophists embrace in their oratory an aesthetic of performative excessuone so marked that Gibbon, Wilamowitz, and others have rejected the entire era as debased and corrupt.8 This aesthetic, which will be discussed in detail below, is clearly visible in the practices that Philostratus treats as most characteristically sophisticufrom the performers strenuous efforts to mimic precisely the sound and look of the classical past, to the ir flamboyant displays of intellect and wealth. In the end, I will make three claims. First, the public and excessive nature of sophistic performance problematizes the interpretation of elite imperial self-fashioning advanced by Foucault and still influential within and outside classical studies. Second, the source of the sophists non-normative contributions to the wide range of performances of selfhood manifested in this period is to be found in the tensions coloring Greek cultural identity vis-a-vis the Roman empire, tensions revolving around the problem of performance as elite Greeks and Romans understood it. Finally, foregrounding the specifically Greek context of sophistic oratory allows us to see how the ethics of their idiosyncratic styles acts as an instrument of ancient cultural politics; that is, the sophists demonstrate the capacity of performance to resist dominant structures of power, in this case by appropriating and reworking traditional notions of Greek cultural identity. This is an importa nt issue, not only with regard to our knowledge of imperial society, but in theoretical terms. Foucaults thoughts on resistance were never satisfactorily articulated, and other poststructuralists work on performance and resistance, such as Judith Butlers influential analysis of gender, remains problematic in its persistent abstraction from material and political constraints.

Sophistic Oratory and Contemporary Ethics: Points of Contact

In the third volume of his History of Sexuality, Foucault acknowledges that the imperial writers interest in the care of the self [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or the formation and maintenance of an ethically healthy and internally coherent subject, takes its precedents in the classical and early Hellenistic periods, notably in the work of the early Plato, Xenophon, Epicurus, and Zeno. Under the Roman empire, Foucault argues, an epistemic shift occurs that leads away from the ethics of selfmastery dominant in these authors toward an intensification of the "relation of the self by which one constituted oneself as the subject of one's acts," or, in other words, the developmental process of ethical identity (1986: 41). Imperial Greek and Roman writers, in Foucault's view, undertake labors of mind and body with the self as object, in the double sense of material and purpose: the self is both the stuff upon which ethical labors are worked and the ultimate goal of those labors. (9) To these writers, the for mation of the ethical subject is determined not simply through a process by which the mind seeks to master bodily matter or eliminate desire, but through an ongoing mediation of relations of bodily and mental states and practices. The need for self-government elaborated in, say, Platonic dialogues works loose from the field of philosophy, taking shape as "an attitude, a mode of behavior, procedures, practices and formulas" that eventually give rise to modes of knowledge and practice far from its original intellectual roots (1986: 44-45).

Consequently, Roman and Greek aristocrats of the late first and second centuries literally practice life, transforming daily experience into askesis [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] a series of practices or exercises designed to shape the self as a proper ethical subject. They engage in constant self-examination, initiate discussions about the proper modes of character formation with their peers, and devote careful attention to moderating the practices, and especially the pleasures, of the body. The Pythagoreans, for example, according to Plutarch's essay "On Socrates' daimon," train themselves in self-restraint by intentionally stirring up the appetite and then denying it gratification--by contemplating a splendid feast, for instance, which they hand over to their slaves in exchange for a simple meal (Mor. 43.585). Self-examination appears on the good man's daily schedule in Seneca (e.g., Tranq. 3.6, 17.3) and Epictetus (Disc. 1.1.4), and contemplation of the internal self replaces concern with the self s active contribution to its civic environment (Musonius Rufus in Plutarch, Mor. 453d.) (10) This is the kind of evidence--and much more could be listed here--that lays the bedrock for what Foucault describes in his History of Sexuality: an exceptionally parsimonious ethical economy, designed to center the self and to subjugate the Other, an economy that reconciles the denial and discipline of the self with its affirmation and reification.

Much about the sophists' activity conforms to Foucault's austere vision of imperial self-formation. Sophists are first and foremost public speakers, schooled in the traditional disciplines of that profession, while ancient rhetoric is by nature a regulatory practice, marked on both the linguistic and performative levels by a strong emphasis on class and gender exclusivity, self-scrutiny, and bodily discipline--an emphasis shared, of course, by the philosophers and doctors discussed in the History of Sexuality. On the linguistic level, every rhetorician purports to master language by representing it as a putatively coherent, and controllable, set of tropes and figures. (11) In performative terms, the oratorical speaker must manage his own body in accordance with a limited set of behaviors--or hexis, to use Pierre Bourdieu's term--that the ancients associated with elite masculinity. (12) Recent scholarship has done much to excavate rhetoric as a "calisthenics of manhood," focusing on its role in promoting an i deology of subjectivity rooted in conservative hierarchies of gender and class: in the "panoptical" process of rhetorical training, the orator's disciplined body "becomes the prison of the soul, though this same soul is charged with policing its own prison." (13) To this already heavy ideological burden, the Greek sophists add the weight of a peculiarly specific kind of cultural conservation. Not only do the epideictic exercises they perform arise from a centuries-old pedagogical tradition, but they are fenced by rules of linguistics and subject matter: the successful sophist must employ an archaic Attic dialect and a vocabulary strictly limited to that used by classical authors in order to enact a repertoire focused on the events and concerns of a Greece four or five centuries in the past. (14) Even in epideictic orations dealing with current events, such as Dio's so-called Kingship speeches (Or. 1-4) and Aelius Aristides' encomium of Rome (Or. 26 = Dindorf 14), quotations of the classical canon are the rule , and concepts of law ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and virtue ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) have a distinctly antiquated feel.

Like the treatises of contemporary philosophers, surviving sophistic texts and the biographical accounts of Philostratus and Aulus Gellius describe a quest for ethical "technologies" by which the sophist may regulate bodily and mental activity in accordance with certain ideals, varying according to the philosophical beliefs and the commitment of the individual practitioner. (15) Ancient rhetorical training provides a uniquely full range of technologies of self-observation, self-correction, and repetitive exercises that allow the sophist to constitute himself on both an external and internal basis--that is, in the eyes of the public and to himself--through ongoing "acts" of performative selfhood. Philostratus' general conception of his material and, specifically, the anecdotal information to which he grants privileged place in his Lives is instructive. What captures his interest is how the sophists looked: how they dressed and walked, where they slept, and, above all, how they spoke. (16) The significance of his interest cannot be emphasized enough, due as it is to the sophistic immersion in a rhetorical discourse founded upon the concept that ethical and intellectual substance is yoked inextricably to the practices of the speaking body. As Greek and Roman rhetoricians were fond of saying, "As a man speaks, so he is," and the eyes of an ancient audience were expert in decoding the motions and expressions of performers according to an alphabet of moral character. (17) The sophists prided themselves on their mastery of this alphabet, well aware that lack of body control made them vulnerable to accusations of immorality from audience and peers alike. "In my opinion, the orator, the philosopher, and anyone involved in liberal education," Aelius Aristides announces in his attack on sophists who "betray the mysteries of oratory," "should not please the crowds in the way those slavish people, those dancers, mime-artists, and magicians do" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]34.55 = Dindorf 50.414). (18) Whether the soph ist is giving an encomium of hair or of the emperor, a narrative about a snake-monster in Libya or about the Iliad, the visible movements of his body and the audible sounds emanating from his mouth are the proof of his character: they are the crucial details of the act that grants him symbolic capital or takes it away.

One touchstone of contemporary discussions in philosophy and medicine, the relation between physical activity and ethical health, is matched and refined in the sophists' interest in oratory's role in bodily well-being. (19) The Sacred Tales, an autobiographical text written by Aelius Aristides from the perspective of a decade's struggle with chronic illness, exemplify at least one sophist's assumption of the habits of self-observation and management described in the letters of Marcus Aurelius and Fronto (e.g., ad Marc. 4.11, 5.23, 5.53). Aristides often yokes oratorical performance to his physical state, not only when he entertains the possibility that his illness derives in part from the stage fright he suffers--although one of his companions suggests this cause (4.22-23 = Dindorf 26.325)--but also in passages having no direct relation to oratory. In many such passages, Aristides dreams of oratorical performance, or his friends tell him of dreams in which they saw him performing. (20) When Aristides analyze s these dreams for information on how best to treat his condition, he collapses the mouth's multiple functions (speaking, eating, drinking, vomiting) into a single key that he hopes will unlock bodily health, a process that captures the flavor of the intimate relationship he and his contemporaries see at work between oral performance and the maintenance of a sound self.

Early on in the collection, Aristides dreams that a delegation of Medes at the imperial court of Antoninus Pius begs him to perform, but he remains silent, offering them instead a chest filled with his writings (1.36 = Dindorf 23.281). In a heuristic reversal and substitution typical of dream interpretation in Artemidorus, Aristides reads his dreaming self's refusal to speak as a prescription to spend the day fasting and vomiting: in other words, he matches his silence in the dream, an unusual choice for a professional sophist, with vomiting, the reversal of the waking body's normal process of consumption. Another dream features a vision of the god Sarapis, who cures Aristides of excessive grief at the death of his foster father, Zosimus, by making an incision in Aristides' mouth in a long line running beneath his gums, a "cleansing" that allows Aristides to recover (3.47 = Dindorf 25.317). (21) In an extended episode in Book 4, Aristides recalls a dream in which Aesclepius commands him to resume his career without a moment's delay, by giving impromptu performances in the style of Socrates, Demosthenes, and Thucydides (4.31 = Dindorf 26.324-25). At that time an incubant at the temple of Asclepius in Pergamum, Aristides confides to a group of fellow sufferers also living at the temple that the god's directive asks the impossible: to begin with, he cannot breathe properly, and weak lungs prophesy certain failure in oratory. (22) Instead, he decides to perform a mimesis of a mimesis, pretending to obey the god with a show of the traditional preparations: arranging his clothing, standing in a certain way, and making a few introductory remarks. As he readies himself, a bystander suggests the typical sophistic theme, "While Alexander is in India, Demosthenes advises the Athenians to revolt." With this suitable topic Aristides begins the declamation "in the voice of Demosthenes," just as the god had recommended, and to his amazement soon finds that he is not only miraculously cured but much improved in style. "The year 's time seemed to have been spent not in silence," he says, "but in training" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 4.32 = Dindorf 26.325). He goes onto enjoy a full recovery, liberated from his physical and intellectual malaise by the act of sophistic declamation.

That the sophists' views on the care of the self are bound up in the process of performance (especially the normative exercise of declamation) is not an unusual thing in itself. Maud Gleason has discussed in detail the importance of oratorical breathing exercises in the "aeration of the self" (59) crucial to maintaining the coolness and dryness proper to manly ancients. Further, imperial ethical practices demand a communal context, the evaluative gaze of other men. "Good men [boni] help one other," Seneca tells Lucilius, "for they train their virtues [exercent enim virtutes] and keep their wisdom in good condition ... Even the wise and good man needs to move and stretch his virtue [opus est et sapienti agitatione virtutum]: he does the job himself, as far as he can, and then he is urged on by another wise and good man" (Ep. 109.1-2). In his long essay on "Political Advice"[LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Plutarch praises Livius Drusus for asking his architect to open up the walls of his house to public v iew, an act that offered up his behavior as an example of virtue for his fellow citizens and that enrolled them as supervisors over his every act (Mor. 800). The ethical labor performed by a community of good men or women, who watch over and evaluate one another's daily words and deeds, is also a prominent topos in Christian works, such as Jerome's epistles and Methodius' Symposium. In keeping with their contemporaries' emphasis on the ethical community, the sophists' oral performances are not limited to the areas formally designated for oratory which were scattered throughout the Greek imperial city, but apply the same language and delivery in the process of moving in, out of, and around public space. Aulus Gellius records the seamless transitions from epideictic to intellectual discussion to informal conversation made by the Gaulish sophist Favorinus, who offers a suave yet stern lecture on infant education and maternal duties to a woman whose daughter is considering the demerits of breast-feeding (NA 12.1. 5-23), and who debates questions of grammatical and moral propriety with Roman [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as he traverses the Forum, the baths, and the public parks (NA 3.1, 4.1, 18.1).

Polemon's career perhaps best captures the way in which sophistic talents could be put to use beyond the formal speech. Polemon was a skilled physiognomist, who read the looks and actions of others as reliable signs of innate character in his own ostentatious act as a virtuous arbiter of the social good. (23) Physiognomy rests on the assumption of a homological relation between the innermost recesses of the soul and the material extension of the body: as a science of examination, it functions as the correlative to rhetoric's art of display. For a sophist, physiognomy is an opportunity to put the semiotic lessons of bodily discipline learned in the course of rhetorical training in the communal context. In giving his lessons, the balance Polemon strikes between the restrained ethics of self-care and the self-theatricalizing ethics of oratorical performance is typical of his sophistic contemporaries.

In his treatise on physiognomy, Polemon perpetuates systematic hierarchies of class, gender, ethnicity, and character type, where the ideal was the dignified carriage of the free Greek male citizen. (24) It holds few surprises, bearing many similarities to the ideal types described in the third book of Cicero's De oratore and the eleventh book of Quintilian's Institutio oratoria. In these texts, flashing eyes and a straight gaze are the signs of honesty and courage; drooping eyelids, a tilted head, a high-pitched voice, and a swaying gait are grounds for suspicion of effeminacy; excessive blushing and other signs of unbridled emotion suggest deceitfulness or, at worst, the corruption of a hidden cinaedus. (25) In a culture where gender is a matter of performance as well as anatomy, Polemon in his role as physiognomist clings to an extremely conservative taxonomy of gender, class, and ethnicity. "A science of decipherment that postulates the copresence of masculine and feminine qualities in the same individua l could conceivably support a complementary rather than a hierarchical view of gender," Gleason notes, "hut such possibilities definitely did not intrigue Polemon" (59). Reading the bodily practices of those around him makes Polemon a policeman of character: and he stresses the public responsibilities of that role by carefully staging his analyses in crowded marketplaces and wedding-parties (Phys. 68-70, 1.284-92 F).

It is precisely Polemon's careful public staging that complicates what a Foucauldian reading might easily characterize as a straightforward act of ethical police work. Polemon mounts his strict definitions of ethical virtue in the context of the relation between actor and audience, a context in which the audience would expect Polemon's tirade and would gain pleasure from the dramatic fulfillment of their expectations. The "great admiration of the assembled bystanders" to which Polemon refers in his Physiognomy amounts as much to a satisfied acclamation of the sophist's expertise--and the thrill as he brings the climax off--as it is to approval of the old-fashioned versions of praise and blame he dispenses. (26) Aristides' accounts of his dreams are similarly placed on display for an audience, both on the pages of the Sacred Tales themselves and in the course of the many retellings to priests, family members, and friends which Aristides describes in the text.

Polemon's self-dramatizing lessons in ethics and Aristides' account of his quest for good health are necessary reminders that the sophists self-consciously exploit the communal scrutiny central to the contemporary discourse of self-formation in order to create a kind of ethical theater. This is not to say, of course, that Polemon describes his physiognomic expertise or Aristides his dreams simply for dramatic effect, but that these accounts make ethical mechanisms like the analysis of facial expressions and dreams part of the public domain of display. And display, particularly the acts of epideictic orators like the sophists, is consistently linked in ancient rhetorical discourse to the production of strong emotion, usually pleasure. Epideictic speeches perform no legal or political "real-world" function, and the capacity to make such speeches move an audience deeply is central to Philostratus' praise of the best sophists. He claims, among other things, that the students of a certain Dionysius memorized his declamations in an effort to recapture the extraordinary impact of his performances (VS 523), that Aristides overcame Marcus Aurelius with a pathetic report of earthquake-stricken Smyrna (VS 582), and that when the famous sophist Hadrian arrived in Rome, senate meetings were disrupted in the grandees' frantic rush to hear him speak (VS 589). The truth of these anecdotes aside, the sophists' well-developed mastery of their performative capacities, and their obvious desire to serve as exemplars of virtue for their audiences, stand in a certain degree of tension with their function as performers. The clash between the cultivation of virtue and the staging of that cultivation explains the dissonance between Aristides' descriptions of oratory, on the one hand, as a divine calling that prohibits him from sexual activity and lends ethical propriety to every part of his daily experience (Or. 33.20 = Dindorf 51.421), and, on the other, as the uncontrollable, divine madness of a lightning strike, which sets him on fire with inspiration (Or. 28.113 = Dindorf 49.382).

The Sophistic Performance and Its Pleasures

In a post-rhetorical culture it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the rhetoricians' accounts of the range of styles from "grandeur" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to "sweetness" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "force" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and "simplicity" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] prescribe oratorical delivery as well as literary composition. (27) The sophists were expected to charm their audiences with melodic pronunciation and harmonious periods; as the artfully modest comparisons in panegyric orations by Aristides and others suggest, the sophists were artists of language equal to poets. One feature of some sophistic oratory is the singing or dancing routine, whose popularity is ascribed by critical sources to audience demand. (28) Developed from exercises originally designed for use in the rhetorical school, the sophistic speech retains a paideutic flavor, insofar as it is supposed to advertise the speaker's ability to copy the pure Attic Greek dialect to which he was exposed in his youth through the routine of liberal education [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and to display his memory-store of classical writings, featuring Homer, Hesiod, Plato, Xenophon, and the Hellenistic canon of three tragedians and ten orators (Dio Chrysostom, Or. 18). (29) Accurate imitation of the proper Attic word or phrase is matched by the sophists' expertise in the application of stylized theatrical techniques. Enlivening a direct quotation or rephrasing of these authors with the appropriate delivery, and managing vocal emphasis and gestural accompaniment in order to match the cadence of the period, are of particular importance, as suggested by the exhaustive taxonomies of style provided by imperial rhetoricians like Demetrius [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Hermogenes of Tarsus [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (30) So impressive was the delivery of Philostratus' favorite sophists, including Dio Chrysostom, Favorinus, Hadrian of Tyre, and Scopelian, that they successf ully entertained even those who could not understand Greek (VS 491, 519, 589).

Formal speeches (pieces of varying length, from the brief introductory [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to the full-fledged [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], or declamation) are based on imitative principles of both direct and indirect varieties, making it clear beyond doubt that the engine of sophistic performance is mimesis. (31) In general, the high imperial period witnessed the growing popularity of the oration's narrative element [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in which the speaker could introduce a large number of figural embellishments--ekphrasis, for instance--and add strong color to his own dramatic self characterization. (32) The catalogues of epideictic themes in Philostratus' Lives and in contemporary rhetorical handbooks suggest that the most popular types of epideictic sophistic speech were the most directly mimetic genera of eidolopoeia and ethopoeia, the dramatic representation of the character ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) of mythical or historical figures, either male or female. (33)

In more than one sense of the word, mimesis connotes drama. According to Philostratus, even as a youth Polemon showed signs of great things to come ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] VS 530), and Herodes Atticus recalled that Polemon's excitement while performing was so strong that at the climax of his speeches he would forget the paralyzing pain caused by his arthritis, rise from his chair, and stamp the ground "like the horse in Homer" (VS 537). The text of Polemon's extant orations, a pair of elaborate ethopoetic [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the voices of two Athenians whose sons died fighting the Persians at Marathon, provides something of a script for these remarks. (34) Each of the fathers Polemon impersonates hopes to win the right to give the funeral oration honoring the Athenian dead by most persuasively describing his son's feats of bravery. To win their case, both speeches focus unwaveringly on the gruesome details of the two deaths: Callimachus is pierced by such a large number of pr ojectiles that his body remains standing upright on the field after death, while Cynegirus, having fruitlessly attempted to restrain the fleeing enemy ships with his bare hands, has bled to death on the Marathon beach. In the course of the speeches Polemon utilizes the entire spectrum of rhetorical and grammatical tropes and figures, especially hyperbole, chiasm, and pleonasm. (35) The climaxes consist of extraordinary exclamations beginning with [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which address the severed hands and pierced body. The father of Cynegirus speaks: "O Marathonian hands ... O saviors of all Greece! O champion of the Athenians! O stronger than whole soldiers! O glory of Marathon! O sweet right hand which the earth bore for the Greeks!" ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 34-35; translation based on Reader). And the father of Callimachus: "O common target of Asia! ... O revered votive offering of war! O noble image of Ares! ... O figure of freedom, o figure of Marathon! O body not making Greec e lie down!" ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 51-52). This is the context in which to view Herodes' description of Polemon's performative acrobatics--and for Polemon's comment, upon seeing a gladiator sweating in terrified anticipation of his ordeal in the arena: "You are in so much agony, you look like you are about to declaim" ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

[LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] VS 541). On the surface, it reflects the anxiety afflicting participants in the stressful arena of sophistic performance; but it also plays on the regularity with which the sophists physically reenacted the agonies of individuals on the point of crisis or death, wailing over dead children, or crying out desperately to their audience to fight the Persians or resist Philip. Employing carefully studied spontaneity and heavily stylized figures to reenact the classical Athenian heroic ethos, these speeches interleave the tension described above between the sophist's own ethics of self-mastery and its dramatic enactment through the course of the performance with another, the tension between the object of praise, manly bravery, and the manner of the praise itself, couched in the highest register of oratorical melodrama.

The popularity of such dramatic acting, whether in the voice of a character from the Greek past or, less commonly, in a fictional voice, is suggested by the fact that even those "commonplace" themes that the rhetoricians do not recommend as particularly suitable for an ethopoetic approach routinely employ ethopoeia or stylized techniques closely related to it. The Corinthian oration now ascribed to Favorinus, for example, which is a blame speech [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] arising from the sophist's anger at the city's destruction of a statue erected in his honor, includes the recitation of several poetic epitaphs and a melodramatic apostrophe of the statue itself ([Dio], Or. 37.15, 18, 38, 47). Dio Chrysostom's so-called Kingship orations-Stoicinfluenced speeches that are likely to have been formally delivered before Trajan between 100 and 103 C.E.--muster a variety of ethopoetic techniques. In the first oration, speaking in the voice of a nameless Boeotian woman, Dio retells the story [LANGUAGE NO T REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of the "Choice of Heracles" (50-84). The second oration conjoins the style of a Platonic dialogue with dramatic ethopoeia, interleaving the voices of the youthful Alexander and Philip (Or. 2). (36) The third (and most rhetorically conventional) speech includes an imitation of Xenophon's version of Socrates on the happy man (29-41), while almost the entire text of the fourth "reenacts" an imagined conversation between Alexander and the Cynic Diogenes (cf. the other "Diogenes" speeches, Or. 6, 8, 9 and 10). When, in other speeches, Dio employs alternatives to direct character acting, he continues to foreground his imitative abilities, through recitations of others' stories (notably Or. 7, 11) and original poetry (a Homeric cento, Or. 32.82-85).

In an autobiographical speech before an Athenian audience, Dio ascribes the launching of his sophistic career to an ethopoetic performance in which he attracted an audience with emotional self-exhortations on the familiar philosophical topics of self-control and fortitude. After his banishment at the hands of Domitian, he says, he doubted whether he could endure the experience, "but then I recalled Odysseus, in Homer ... and then Electra, in one of the later poets" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Or. 13.4, 5). Here we may recall Aristides, who also ties the success of his oratorical career to his ethical ordeal (phrased most explicitly at 4.27). Eventually, Dio's admonitions to himself-performed aloud in public-and his adoption of the philosopher's costume garner him a new career as a philosophical sophist, and he begins to give performances in the persona of Socrates:


People began to ask me to speak in public ... when at a loss, I would have recourse to an ancient remark made by a certain Socrates... nor did I pretend that it was mine, but requested [my audience], in case I was unable to recall everything correctly ... that they should excuse me.

Dio enhances his undisguised staging of Socrates with a metatheatrical commentary on the highlights and the faults of his own performance--in his case, a spectacularly successful strategy, as his fame and friendship with Trajan attest. In all Dio's speeches on Cynic and Stoic themes, of course, the audience could never forget the other performance that is occurring simultaneously "onstage"--his own dramatic persona, the bearded and robed Cynic philosopher haranguing the people. (37)

In his large corpus, Aelius Aristides prefers to marry current events with vividly narrated recreations of classical authors. In his oration on the tense relations among the Asian cities Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamon, for example, he relates their situation to the rivalry between the Spartans and the Athenians in a polished precis of Herodotus and Thucydides (23.42-52 = Dindorf 42.528). Philostratus' observations on the sophists interest in the styles of classical models suggest that Aristides and his contemporaries "marked" their quotations with vocal tones or gestures, which would help the audience identify the original author-at the very least, alerting them that a quotation was being made. But this is also Aristides' opportunity to make a show of the literary knowledge of the [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] The melody of Gorgias, the forcefulness of Demosthenes, and the liquid quality of Plato (whom, interestingly enough, rhetoricians consider the best model for panegyric oratory) provide the basic material for Aristides' invention [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCE IN ASCII] but his real challenge lies in delivering the quotation in such a way as to leave no doubt as to its classical origins. (38)

Since each spoken word and literary reference is filtered through the lexical and cultural sieve of the imperial Greek vision of classical Athens, the sophistic speech is always already a mimetic act. The sophists are clearly aware of this: Aelius Aristides reads the heavy use of rhythm and ornament in sophistic oratory as the product of a close proximity between oratory and theater, and uses theatrical terms to describe the oratorical scene [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 34.7 = Dindorf 50.403; cf. 34.57 = 50.414; 50.28 = 26.324). More provocatively, they thematize the dramatic elements of their performances. This is clearly the case with regard to one of the most demanding aspects of sophistic oratory, its Attic lexicon and dialect. Failure to meet the standards of Attic purism brings swift reprisal in many anecdotes in Philostratus and Aulus Gellius (e.g., VS 574, 579, 588, 624; NA 3.1, 13.25), much parodied by Lucian (in the [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). When the sophist Philagrus accidentally uttered a solecism, for example, a rival's student swiftly pounced: "And in what famous work is that word used?" "In Philagrus," was the disgruntled reply (VS 578). Such exchanges transform sophistic [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] into another kind of agonistic theater. Another example is the sophists' handling of the strenuous demands of oratory. On the one hand, orators must control all signs of anxiety, anger, or fear, emblematic of the "constant strain involved in maintaining a truly masculine profile in the face of such exacting standards." (39) The ways in which the sophists the-atricalize their labors in this respect, however, particularly those that distinguish them from philosophers, or from average forensic or deliberative orators, suggest that the rhetoric of effortlessness is itself simply another part of the sophists' self-stylization. When nearing the end of a rhetorical period, Philostratus writes, Polemon pronounced the final words with a smile, as if his effort was painless [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] VS 537). But the point here is that Polemon is making an act of the pretense of effortlessness: his smile is meant to be noticed, an integral part of the act of display. Herodes Atticus staged his linguistic purism in a different way, by befriending a strikingly tall Boeotian who spoke a pure rustic Greek; eventually the Athenians began to call the man Herodes' Heracles [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 552). Herodes' friendship with the Attic giant and his well-known interest in the man's accent and speech advertise his obsession with perfecting the sophistic act in the open-air theater of public gossip.

Performance at the Limits of Propriety

Polemon's stamping and Herodes Atticus' unusual social connection are just two examples of the many ways in which the sophistic performance risks violating the conventional proprieties that ancient rhetoric is designed to inculcate. There was a popular set of sophists who, in Aristides' words, "betray the mysteries of oratory" with "mincing, drunken behavior" like dancing girls (Or. 34 = Dindorf 18.56). (40) Aristides accuses these "terrible opponents" of indulging in oil anointings, waving palm leaf fans, and praising swimming pools and other signs of luxury, a list comparable to Lucian's satirical attacks on the sophists. (41) The criticism leveled by Aelius Aristides and others at the sophists who performed in sing-song, effeminate voices, and who spent their time "imitating those undeserving of imitation," as Aristides says later in the same oration, serves to highlight the fact that mimetic acts of some kind--even the imitation of women or Asiatics--are central to the sophistic profession. What matters, apparently, is the potential for some to push their imitations too far.

But how far was too far? The question is difficult to answer. Philostratus has this to say of Hadrian of Tyre:


He performed the duties of the chair of rhetoric at Athens with the greatest ostentation, wore very expensive clothes, bedecked himself with precious gems, and used to go down to his lectures in a carriage with silver-mounted bridles; and always after the lecture he would go home envied by everyone, escorted by those who loved Hellenic culture from all parts of the world...I myself know that some of his followers actually used to shed tears when they remembered this sophist; some tried to imitate his accent, others his walk or the elegance of his attire ... [Critics] slander him in saying he had shameless manners because, when one of his pupils sent him a present of fish lying on a silver plate embossed with gold, he was enchanted with the plate and did not return it, and in acknowledging the present to the sender, he said, "It was very kind of you to send the fish as well." (Translation adapted from Wright)

Entering the profession of sophist signified an opportunity to change one's personal style from austerity to extravagance, as Aristocles of Pergamum, once a sober follower of the Peripatetics, becomes an avid devotee of music and the theater (VS 567). A native Greek, Scopelian of Clazomenae, was "given to pitch-plasters and professional hair-removers" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Vs 536) and attracted a brilliant band of devoted students with his powers of delivery. He was said to sway excessively as he performed, as though in a Bacchic frenzy; when one of Polemo's students compared him to a drum-musician, Scopelian claimed that his oratorical rhythm was the martial beat of the shield of Ajax (VS 519-520). Alexander Peloplaton was conspicuous for his beauty and charm, but was rumored to rely on cosmetics. When he gave an epideictic performance before Antoninus Pius and grew annoyed when the emperor's attention wandered, Alexander began to shout for him to listen. Antoninus, irritated, retorted, "'I am paying attention, and I know you very well. You are the fellow who is always arranging his hair, polishing his teeth, buffing his nails, and smelling of myrrh" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] VS 571). As for Favorinus of Arles, he offered his own apt self-description with the characteristically paradoxical and provocative statement that though he was a Gaul he lived like a Greek; a eunuch, he had been tried for adultery; and after quarreling with the emperor, he was still alive (VS 489).

Polemon, the self-appointed physiognomical arbiter of ethics, turned decisively against Scopelian when he came under attack for effeminate habits (VS 536). But he himself was accused of indulging in outrageous luxuries, because he travelled in a Phrygian or Gaulish chariot with silver ornaments with an extravagant number of slaves, baggage-animals, horses, and dogs (VS 532). (42) He demanded extremely high fees and was believed by the citizens of Smyrna to have embezzled funds (VS 533, 538). Flagrantly arrogant toward both Roman officials and his audiences, Polemon began an oration at Athens by saying, "Men say, Athenians, that you are wise judges of speeches: I shall see if they are right" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 535). Philostratus calls him [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]and [LANGUAGE NOT REPODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (535), and reports that his sharp wit was notorious (VS 537, 541-42). (43) At this stage it is worth recalling the dissonance between Dio Chrysostom's egregiously austere style of l ife--a careful imitation, complete with costume, of a Cynic philosopher-and his identity as a wealthy landholder, a powerful aristocrat in his own regions. (44)

It is true that much of this evidence relies on Philostratus, an eccentric reporter with his own intellectual and cultural agenda. This should not disqualify it from consideration in a study of the dynamics of imperial Greek culture. When we seek to understand the development and practice of an ethics, a set of ideals defining masculine and aristocratic virtue, we must also account for ways in which the rules of virtuous behavior are broken--especially when the men who do so do not lose, but rather make significant gains in economic and symbolic capital. I have tried to present a balanced picture of the sophistic performance, in the sense that the performance is a balancing act: it frames itself as upholding conventional expectations regarding proper elite masculine disposition, but its stylized nature ultimately stretches the rules of convention. Still, the question remains: Why did the sophists take such risks? Imitation, ostentation, luxury, extravagance, charm, frenzy, excess, self-absorption, perfumes: in a culture that Gleason calls a "calisthenics of manhood," why did some men adopt mannerisms of self-presentation that served as stylized signifiers of the feminine and the non-elite in both their performances and their daily lives? (45) Can tradition and the pedagogical origin of the sophists' speeches alone explain their melodramatic oratorical styles, and their focus on the most sensational moments in Greek myth and history-from the pathetic laments of Hecuba and Niobe for their dead children to Demosthenes' efforts to arouse Athens against Philip?

Reclaiming Mimesis: Rhetorical Traditions in Conflict

In the Greek imperial period, the mental and bodily disciplinary practices of the self are transformed, as the emphasis shifts from the management of the body and voice to the effect of the act itself-until the act takes over entirely. Playing the characters of Demosthenes or Pericles is no longer just a way to "be" a proper elite man, but instead offers a way to make "playing" into "being," and perhaps vice versa. The sophists' choice to speak in the voices of others, whether those of women or of long dead Greeks of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E., and their everyday assumption of behaviors that break with conventional standards of manliness or nobility push the refined habits of the imperial [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII) into the realm of theater-and to all accounts, with enormous success. This involves adopting a polemical stance against the long-standing tradition that yoked theatricality with vice, femininity, and political disenfranchisement. Significantly, the loudest pronouncements of thi s type appear in the rhetorical and moral discourse of Rome.

The Greek sophists were active at a time when, as Susan Alcock writes, Greeks and Romans were engaged in a "tense dialogue of 'cultural mapping,' of mutual self-definition and aggressive maintenance of boundaries" (109). "Overall it is less and less easy to accept the view that a harmonious cultural equilibrium was ever reached between Greek and Roman cultures," Greg Woolf suggests, "whether in the Rome of Augustus or the Athens of Hadrian" (117). The sophists are best seen, I believe, as carrying the cultural dialogue into the field of rhetoric. Like the sophists, Roman orators and rhetoricians of the late Republic and early empire viewed performance with what we might call a "physiognomical eye." To Cicero, "delivery is entirely a matter of emotion; and the face is the mirror of emotion, the eyes its index" (animi est enim omnis actio, et imago animi vultus, indices oculi, De Or. 3.59.221). What most clearly differentiates the sophistic approach to the ethics of performance from the Roman approach are the sophists' attitudes toward the act of performance itself.

The writings of Roman rhetoricians praise oratory for its ability to inculcate suitable moral values in the practitioner. Oratorical training and performance drew a man's appearance in line with elite visions of "natural" propriety, through a process designed to "complement nature and fulfill a teleology latent within it." (46) To treat rhetoric, however, as an artificial art by which natural signs of elite masculinity may emerge is to place an ethical paradox at the center of elite pedagogy and politics. To this problem the characteristic Roman response was concealment. One must scarcely acknowledge that the problem exists: "I am only going on for so long about style," Cicero says defensively in the third book of the De Oratore, "because the orators, who are the actors of reality, have abandoned it, while the actors, the imitators of reality, have taken control of it" (haec ideo dico pluribus quod genus hoc totum oratores, qui sunt veritatis ipsius actores, reliquerunt, imitatores autem veritatis, histrione s occupaverunt, 3.56.214). As for speaking in other voices, bringing the theatricality of the oration to the foreground, Quintilian strenuously warns against it (Inst. Orat. 1.11.3, 2.2.9, 11.3.112). It is necessary for the good Roman orator to hide his zealous efforts to be eloquent in order to distance them from the act that, in reality, they are. (47)

In the context of the cultural differences between Greeks and Romans in the high empire, what now appears most remarkable about Greek sophistic oratorical and practical performance is the degree to which the things singled out for special note by Philostratus in his biography, or by the sophists themselves in their own writings, are precisely those elements of oratorical performance singled out by Roman rhetoricians for the harshest critique. It seems, then, that these Greeks play up Roman vices: they imitate, pose, wear perfume, play the woman. Above all, they do not conceal the mimetic habits that Roman orators treat with fear and disgust. We might say, then, that the Greek sophists reclaim the theatrical aspects of rhetoric which Roman rhetoricians are so eager to disavow and demonize. It is true the sophists themselves could and did easily mobilize the language of ethical condemnation in the course of their competitions for students and prestige: Dio Chrysostom, Aelius Aristides, Polemon, and other sophi sts in Philostratus are all on record as doing precisely that. I suggest, however, that the the atricalized way in which they moralize must ultimately transform the effect of their pronouncements. The Greek sophists embrace the art and theatricality of speechmaking, and in a fashion that stakes a new claim and gives new energy to the politically subversive extravagance of performance itself. As their performances actively reclaim the classical Greek tradition, especially its achievements in mimetic drama, they shoot a politically edged glance at the deepest anxieties of Roman rhetoric. Their efforts should be seen as making a significant contribution to the developing history of the self over the next two centuries. (48)

Theories of Resistance

After the critique of ethical systems based on discipline and repression executed in his previous work, as well as his statement of purpose in the introductory first volume of the History of Sexuality, Foucault's implied claims for the salutary potential of ethical askesis in Volume 3 come as something of a surprise. Elsewhere he had suggested that dominant structures of power and knowledge may (and should) be contested by acts of "micro-resistance" --performative practices that, operating within the bounds of conventional cultural expectations, exploit and even subvert them. "Points of resistance are present everywhere in the network," writes Foucault, "but this does not mean that they are only a reaction or a rebound, forming with respect to the basic domination an underside that is in the end always passive, doomed to perpetual defeat." (49) Where the disciplinary practices of imperial askesis may be rehabilitated as resistant practices, Foucault implies, is their potential to reward the practitioner with pleasure: "The end result of this elaboration is still and always defined by the rule of the individual over himself. But this rule broadens into an experience in which the relation to self takes the form not only of a domination but also of enjoyment" (1986: 68); in other words, the ethical system designed to control the body's pleasures begins to produce them. In response, Terry Eagleton and Leo Bersani have warned that with this line of argument Foucault blurs important distinctions among the ethical, the aesthetic, and the erotic which his earlier work had sought to uphold. If Foucault's late ethical stylistic allows self-discipline and denial to be rewritten as pleasure, then, Bersani concludes, living according to its rules comes "perilously close to simply 'living with style.'" (50) Feminist critics have sharply criticized Foucault's apparent valorization of disciplinary practices in a world that uses the same practices, or only slightly different versions of them, to oppress women and the economic und erclass. (51) Still, the continuing debate in recent works on subjectivity and self-fashioning attests that Foucault's insight into the potential embedded in self-disciplinary practices to resist their own rules, particularly through the production of pleasure, remains suggestive. It is here that the public speakers of the Second Sophistic intervene, serving as a corrective to Foucault's decoupling of the philosophical objective of the ancient practitioners' acts of self-care from the mobile excitement of their performances, and as an example of the micro-resistance he implicitly seeks.

Contemporary ethicists, especially feminists, continue to debate over the technologies of self-fashioning and discipline used by imperial Greeks and Romans. Take the watchful gaze bent upon a student by his teacher of rhetoric: is it evidence of the increased policing of sexuality and identity, or might it offer the basis for theorizing a communal alternative of ethical self-formation that treats the body as a legitimate field of ethical formation, rejecting earlier anti-communal, individualist labors-one more congenial with post-Enlightenment appropriation by ourselves? (52) I have tried to break this impasse by focusing on the sophists' theatrical exploitation of the communal scrutiny that imperial writers on ethics consider a central aspect of fashioning the good man. On the one hand, it is precisely their mastery of rhetoric's performative aspects that grants the sophist a place in the rhetorical school, civic festival, and the political assembly of the imperial city: their ability to advertise their know ledge of the various systems of rules that govern elite masculine behavior (whether they spring from a specific philosophical school, as in the case of Dio Chrysostom, or from the broader conventions of elite [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), and out of them to create a performance. What differentiates sophistic practice from the ethics manifested elsewhere in imperial intellectual writings is the exaggeratedly theatricalized qualities in their oratory and their daily lives. The sophists' speeches play out the ethical identity proper to the elite [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], not in the sphere of internal contemplation or the private circle of like-minded friends, but in a public space, where it is performed with all the stylish techniques available to the trained rhetorician. Consequently, the sophists' putative functions-as walking symbols of conventional Greek [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], as ideal models of civilized refinement, as teacher-transmitters of an exceedingly narrow version of Hellenic culture-metamorphose into a show. (53) This show, a theatricalization of the self, is capable of expressing a resistant relation to dominant influences in politics and culture, as Richard Ellmann describes Oscar Wilde, "conducting, in the most civilized way, an anatomy of his society, and a radical reconsideration of its ethics" (xiv).

It is with this in mind that I have explored the performances of the Greek sophists like Polemon, who hoisted their undeniably traditional areas of cultural knowledge-defined by their interest in rhetorical [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], linguistic archaism, the preservation of classical Athenian history through oratorical reenactment, and the elite arts of askesis--into the unconventional heights of personal theater, in this case the very theater viewed by Roman rhetoricians with prejudice and suspicion. Their "theater of the elite man" demonstrates precisely how the prescriptions of the performance of proper manliness which fill imperial rhetorical handbooks and ethical treatises contain the seeds of their own subversion. They also stand as acts of micro-resistance in the Foucauldian sense, but, as it happens, resisting Foucault's own account of the ethics of their society. The extravagant acts of the sophists balance the false austerity of Foucault's own dispassionate rhetorical style, the product o f his failure to discern the capacity of the performative to contest convention, to resist, on some level, the dominant structures that produce it. It is this vital capacity to resist, perhaps, that caused Polemon to cry so desperately for a body with which he might declaim--a body that, through performance, could literally embody his commitment to the long history of Greek performance art to which the sophists gave new life. (54)

JOY CONNOLLY is Assistant Professor of Classics at Stanford University. She has published articles on elegy, oratory, and ancient education, and is now completing a book on Roman rhetoric. Other current research interests include Vergil's Eclogues and the influence of classical rhetoric on early American political thought.

(1.) References to Philostratus' Lives of the Sophists will henceforth appear in the abbreviated form VS. Unless otherwise stated, translations are my own. It should be noted from the start that the accounts of the sophists in Aulus Gellius and Philostratus are inordinately influential in modern views, including my own. Although I have indicated that reliance at several points in the main text, I want to acknowledge the tendency of both authors (but especially Philostratus) to overestimate the sophists' fame and social status in their desire to write them into the center of imperial intellectual history.

(2.) These include funeral orations and "civic" orations, which in their present state are hard to attach to any specific context but which played a much larger role in sophistic practice than admitted in most studies (e.g., Anderson 156ff. and 171ff., who misleadingly characterizes the sophists as "storytellers" "at play"). Russell discusses performance context in detail.

(3.) [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Wilamowitz, esp. 13ff., argues that Philostratus invented the Second Sophistic; Brunt advances his arguments, with some modifications. With a somewhat less skeptical eye, Stanton usefully untangles the labels sophist, philosopher, and rhetor in literary and epigraphical evidence from the Neronian through Severan periods, work materially advanced by Schmitz.

(4.) Two landmark studies are Bowersock, a prosopographical work that tracks the sophists' prominence in the Roman imperial government, and Reardon, a study of the sophists' literary production.

(5.) A few examples: Goldhill uses the Greek novel to critique Foucault's views on sexuality and its regulation; in their work on the practices of the imperial body, Rousselle and Brown grant to them a broad historic-cultural significance that reflects Foucault's approach; Gleason works with Foucault's constructionist theory of gender; Perkins elaborates his thoughts on the significance of pain and self-control in the making of the imperial subject.

(6.) Brown 49-52 approaches the self-disciplinary habits of Greek education (and their function in the political power nexus of the Roman empire) in a fashion very similar to Foucault's.

(7.) Regarding what I am calling cultural line-crossing, I do not wish to conceal the tensions affecting Roman participation in what the Romans themselves considered originally Greek practices, especially philosophy, although in the area of medicine Cato's comments on Greek doctors (still remembered in Plutarch's time) come to mind (Cat. Mai. 23). The Romans used the words sophistes and sophista to refer to Greeks; and while Apulcius and Fronto exhibit what are often called "sophistic" interests in Latin literary and linguistic antiquity, such a culturally loaded movement as archaism calls for separate analysis in the Latin West and South. Certainly Philostratus implies that the sophists gained fame in Greek-speaking areas because they were reviving, specifically, the thought of classical Greece.

(8.) Gibbon 84 famously claimed that "the beauties of the poets and orators, instead of kindling a fire like their own, inspired only cold and servile imitations: or if any ventured to deviate from those models, they deviated at the same time from good taste and propriety"; see also Wilamowitz 10-12 and van Groningen, passim.

(9.) Perkins describes the Sacred Tales of Aelius Aristides as constructing a subjectivity around "what is essentially a body" (176). Long, esp. 284ff., provides extensive philosophical discussion of Stoic thought on the self in the imperial period.

(10.) Foucault 1986: 89-95 tries to distinguish his work from the traditional narrative of the growth of individualism in the Hellenistic period; on the notable role of Stoicism in this process, see Long.

(11.) Barthes 7-9 discusses the ideology and the class origins of this "classificatory" function of ancient rhetoric.

(12.) Bourdieu, esp. 69, argues that hexis is defined by, and helps define, political mythology, as beliefs about the supposedly natural characteristics of any individuated class or group undergo a process of enactment through the minutiae of bodily practice. Hexis (the Greek word for order) thus resides in the details of individual bodily disposition.

(13.) Gleason xxii employs the metaphor of gymnastics; Gunderson 187 characterizes Roman rhetoric as a panoptical process; Connolly 1998 and Richlin explore ancient rhetorical education's role in the inculcation of masculine hexis.

(14.) Demetrius of Phalerum and Aeschines are both cited as the inventor of rhetorical exercises: ancient pedigree justifies contemporary pedagogy.

(15.) Dio Chrysostom, for example, spoke about and imitated the Cynics, while Aristides handled Platonic themes and Polemon engaged with Peripatetic writings on physiognomy. Nonetheless, we should generally avoid classifying them as narrow partisans of one particular philosophical school, keeping in mind the insight of Foucault and others into the ethical eclecticism characteristic of the period.

(16.) Contrast Cornelius Nepos, Suetonius, or Plutarch, whose physical descriptions of their subjects never dominate the biography, with the way Philostratus blends his accounts of the sophists' speaking styles with their characters.

(17.) Quintilian, Inst. Orat. 11.1.30: ut vivat, quemque etiam dicere. Aelius Aristides describes a dream in which the current emperors, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, speak to him about this connection (Or. 47.49). It is important to note that a sophist's store of cultural knowledge factors into the equation here, for an orator cannot speak properly unless he has read the right books-a useful paradox for ancient educators like Quintilian (10.1-131) and Dio Chrysostom (Or. 18).

(18.) For similar expressions of opinion, see Lucian's Teacher of Rhetoric (Rhet. Did.) and Dio Chrysostom, Or. 32.

(19.) On health and philosophy compare Seneca, Ep. Mor. 54, 78; also Galen, Method of Healing 10.156K. Prognosis 7.18, 10.2, and other medical texts cited in Perkins 143-72. Perkins 173 critically notes how the so-called "hypochondriacal" nature of contemporary writings is often misleadingly attacked as evidence of the period's cultural decay.

(20.) See, e.g., 1.9, 22, 38; 2.28, 31; 4.26, 28, 48, 61 and 69. Perkins eloquently shows that Aristides "somatized" his dreams, taking the body as the fundamental point of reference for the construction of a "suffering" subjectivity (178, 188).

(21.) Behr 73 discusses the Zosimus episode in detail.

(22.) Aristides' protest recalls the traditional explanation for the failure of Isocrates to engage in public oratory (VS 505).

(23.) Dio Chrysostom, Or. 4.88, offers another sophistic perspective on physiognomy.

(24.) Gleason 29-54.

(25.) Megistias of Smyrna (Philostratus, VS 618), Eusthenes (Anth. Pal. 7.661), and Adamantius, the epitomator of Polemon, are other sophist-physiognomists known to us.

(26.) Phys. 68, 1.284f. cited in Gleason 48.

(27.) Despite their later popularity as handbooks of literary criticism (influencing Milton, for example), their influence in extant sophistic works, as Russell and Reader show, is clear.

(28.) Lucian, Rhet, Did. 19; Aristides, Or. 34; Philostratus, VS 513.

(29.) On the form and ideology of dialect usage, Swain is the definitive study; on the nature of the canon, a matter of general contestation for contemporary grammarians and rhetoricians, see Morgan 94-151 and Connolly 2001.

(30.) Wooten 131-37 usefully compares Hermogenes' technique with that of Cicero and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. See especially Hermogenes' technique at 241-64, and Demetrius' discussion of meter (2.42ff.). The identity of Demetrius is still a matter of dispute, but internal evidence makes it unlikely that the text is written as early as the third century B.C.E. (though most MSS take Demetrius of Phalerum to be the author).

(31.) For the categorization of different performance forms, see the extensive discussions of Leeman and Russell 74ff.

(32.) Russell 88.

(33.) Hermogenes, Theon, and Aphthonius include discussions of [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of female characters (under [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] entry).

(34.) Reader 33-35 summarizes the strong historical evidence for the existence of both men. They were given prominent positions in the large mural on the Stoa Poikile in the Athenian Agora, originally painted in 460 B.C.E. and surviving beyond Polemon's lifetime into the fourth century C.E.

(35.) Ibid. 46.

(36.) Dio's story is a retelling of Prodicus' original (Xenophon, Mem. 2.1.21-34).

(37.) Philosophers in this period commonly wear a rough himation without a chiton, and leave the hair and beard unkempt. Dio obeys the convention (Or. 12.9), but several times ironically draws attention to it as a costume, a surface that attracts large audiences all by itself without any assurance of real value (Or. 12.1-16; 13.1 1-15; 33.14; 34.16; 35.12; 72.2, 16). Indeed. according to one biographer, Dia rejected the traditional rags and took instead to wearing a lion's skin as visual evidence of his virtue (Photius 209). Dio was quick to exploit the theatrical power of nakedness as well: when Roman troops were on the point of mutiny after Domitian's assassination, he leapt onto a altar, tore off his rags, and instantly cast himself as Odysseus, opening his speech of pacification with the appropriate verse of Homer (Od. 22.1: VS 488). So impressive were such performances that even Greekless listeners were captivated by his vivid style (VS 488)-a style he adopted wholesale in speeches on ethics, politics, and literary criticism, as well as his pure entertainments, like the Libyan monster-tale (6) or his peculiar version of the iliad (9). Philostratus and Synesius, disturbed by the corpus' lack of stylistic discrimination, insist on isolating the speeches they believe that Dio gave during his young 'sophistic" period from the products of his mature "philosophical" period (VS 487).

(38.) To praise individual sophists who closely imitate the style of classical models, Philostratus simply uses verbal forms of the classical names [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCE IN ASCII] 564; LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCE IN ASCII] 604). Polemon and Aelius Aristides based their reputations in part on the accuracy of their imitations of Demosthenes.

(39.) Gleason 80, The physical and mental effort endured by the average sophist was only partly a result of projecting his voice in a large outdoor space: self-observation itself was an exhausting necessity, involving the careful monitoring of gesture, posture, and speech according to the prescriptive descriptions of rhetorical treatises.

(40.) The oration is punningly titled "Against dancing traitors" [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].


(42.) Philostratus defends this action by saying Polemon intended to represent the wealth of Smyrna.

(43.) Cf. Herodes' behavior in VS 556-57. 559.

(44.) On Dio's wealth see Jones 6-7, 95, it 1-12.

(45.) Gleason 162 phrases the question perfectly: "There was something manly, after all, about taking risks--even the risk of being called effeminate. And there may also have been a temptation to appropriate characteristics of 'the other' as a way of gaining power from outside the traditionally acceptable sources ... [S]ome participants evidently chose to distinguish themselves by adopting mannerisms of self-presentation ... that served, in their culture, as stylized signifiers of the feminine. Why this more androgynous style of self-presentation was so effective with audiences, I will not dare to speculate."

(46.) Gunderson 170, 180.

(47.) The younger Pliny complains of the difficulty he experiences in distinguishing oratorical speeches from theatrical performances: "I am ashamed to describe the speeches of today, the broken style in which they are delivered, and the pathetic applause which they receive" (pudet referre quae quam fracta pronuntatione dicantur, quibus quam teneris clamoribus excipiebantur). I discuss the suspicion of the theater in Roman rhetorical discourse further in Connally 1998: 133-45.

(48.) Perkins explores the issues of performance and the body in a variety of Christian texts, opening the door to more work on the connection between martyr narratives and the theatrical sophistic aesthetic.

(49.) Foucault 1978: 95-96. Probyn develops Foucault's hints toward a resisting subject along feminist lines (130ff.) and glances over recent scholarship on the issue. It is worth noting that the History of Sexuality itself may be read as an implicit demonstration of micro-resistance, an example of how a particular power-knowledge apparatus--in this case, scholarly publication--can produce discursive performances that subvert their own inescapably coercive function: Halperin writes of New York ACT UP members carrying the History of Sexuality "in their leather jackets" (15). On the basic problems confronting the feminist reader of Foucault, see Hartsock defending the feminist standpoint theory, and Richlin 1998 on the critical absence of women from his "history of sexuality."

(50.) Bersani 19. Part of Bersani's critique draws on his belief that classical antiquity evoked nostalgia in Foucault, which drove him to see in the pre-capitalist, pre-Christian world of antiquity a refuge from modern oppressions. Miller pushes Bersani's point much further in his claim for a meaningful connection between Foucault's dual interests in the pleasurable disciplines of ancient ethical philosophy and in the punishments of sadism and masochism; for a highly critical response to Miller, see Halperin 126-86. Black 59-60 fruitfully speculates on the ultimate "impossibility" of writing the History.

(51.) Probyn is aware of these critiques; see also Nussbaum, a useful popular article on the general impact of Foucault's theories of power and resistance on feminist theory, especially that of Judith Butter.

(52.) Testing the usefulness of Foucault's late work on ethics, Grimshaw 69 speaks of the feminist struggle "to conceptualize a view of morality which is not rooted in individualism, but which is still able to respect individuality and autonomy . . . to realize ideals of community and mutuality while preserving the forms of autonomy, individuality, and care for self without which ideas of community and mutuality can sometimes be as coercive and constraining as those forms of individualism they have wished to replace."

(53.) These explanations for the sophists' social functions are summarized in Bowersock and in Swain 409-22.

(54.) Warm thanks to the audience of the original APA panel on "Unmasked Performance"; to its organizers, Eva Stehle and Mary-Kay Gamel; and to my fellow Scholars at the Simpson Center for Humanities at the University of Washington in spring 1999, especially Barbara Fuchs and Stephen Jaeger, for insightful comments on an early draft.


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