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date: 29 September 2023



  • D. Lateiner


Gestures convey attitude, intention, and status. Greeks and Romans moved trunk and limbs to precede, accompany, intensify, undercut, and replace words. Posture, orientation (Soph.OT728), separating social-distance (proximity in supplication), facial expression (frowns, arched brows), and paralinguistic cues (pauses, pitch-changes, silences, hissing) also express emotion and modulate speech. Social meaning is divulged through ritualized acts (saluting, drink-pledges) and informal behaviour (pursed lips, nodding, nail-biting: Ar.Lys. 126, Vesp. 1315; Prop. 2. 4. 3). Behaviour may be intended (handclasp, embrace, kiss) or unintended (shriek, hiccough, horripilation, odour), sometimes even unconscious (sweat, lip-biting, eye-tics). The latter two categories of psychophysical reactions ‘leak’ hidden feelings. Apparel, tokens, and unalterable ‘badges’ of identity (guest-gifts (see gift, greece), dowry, winding-sheet, shields, scars, limps) assert gender, age, and status. Some behaviours exhibit ethological constants (tears, grins, cowering, shrinking); others are culture-specific (Hellenic ethnogests: thigh-slapping, negative upward head-nod: Il. 15. 113, 16. 125 (*Achilles), 6.


  • Science, Technology, and Medicine

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