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From Vice To Virtue: The Denigration And Rehabilitation Of Superbia In Ancient Rome

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is based on the fact that, in contrast to Aristotle?s analysis, the Romans appear to have no word that expresses a positive conception of pride. It begins by outlining the semantics of Roman pride with a discussion of the etymology and meaning of the main Roman terms for pride and then focuses on the particularly intriguing case of superbia and related words (superbus and superbire). The chapter explores why positive pride is incompatible with Roman republican values and then turns to the transformation of superbia in the changing ideological landscape of the Augustan period. In the semantic cluster of Roman pride, the etymologically transparent adrogantia is the quality of claiming more than properly belongs to one, more than one truly deserves. The chapter deals with Tarquin?s rise to power relies heavily on the recurring theme of scelus, thus marking that as the first dominant characteristic of tyrannical superbia.

Keywords: adrogantia; Aristotle; Augustan period; Romans; scelus; superbia; Tarquin?s



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