Experiencing the male body in Roman Egypt
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Experiencing the male body in Roman Egypt book
But it is important to remember that in the ancient world, not all men possessed the same category of body. The body of a Roman emperor, with its potential for divinity, is different from that of a male citizen or a male slave; and a slave can acquire the body of a citizen or an emperor as his status changes (see Dupont 1989). The ways that ancient people inhabited and experienced their bodies were inseparable from their social and economic position. Slaves were no more than bodies, the passive human property of their owners. The most common Greek terms for slaves underscore this powerlessness and passivity: soma, literally 'body', and pais 'infant'.2 Yet in spite of the otherness of the physical body of the slave to that of the free person, at the same time it was potentially the same, because of the possibility of manumission, when the slave was freed and renounced his slavish body along with his slavish status.