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Description - The World of Roman Song by Thomas N. Habinek

In this bold new work, Thomas Habinek offers an entirely new theoretical perspective on Roman cultural history. Although terms like "literature" and "religion" have their origins in Latin, the Romans had no such specific concepts. Rather, much of the sense of these words was captured in the Latin word carmen, usually translated into English as "song." Habinek argues that for the Romans, "song" encompassed a wide range of ritualized speech, including elements of poetry, spell casting, and storytelling. Habinek begins with the fraternal societies, or sodales, which predated the Republic and persisted through the Imperial era, and whose rites, although adapted over time to different deities and cults, were from the beginning centered on song (perhaps most famously in the ancient Carmen Saliare). He goes on to show how this early use of song became the model for cultural reproduction throughout Roman history. Ritual mastery of the chaos of everyday life, embodied and enacted in song, produced and transmitted the beliefs on which Roman culture was founded and by which Roman communities were sustained. By the emergence of the Empire, song served in particular to reproduce the power of the state, organizing relations of power at every level of society. The World of Roman Song presents a systematic and comprehensive approach to Roman cultural history. Informed and imaginative, this book challenges classicists, social theorists, and literary scholars to join a provocative discussion of the power of song.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801881053
ISBN-10: 0801881056
Format: Hardback
(229mm x 152mm x 29mm)
Pages: 344
Imprint: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 22-Jun-2005
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Thomas N. Habinek

Thomas Habinek is a professor of classics at the University of Southern California.

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