Jewish Studies

Jack J. Lennon

Dirt and Denigration

Stigma and Marginalisation in Ancient Rome

[Schmutz und Herabwürdigung. Stigmatisierung und Marginalisierung im antiken Rom.]

2022. XI, 250 pages.

Approaches to Ancient History 1

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ISBN 978-3-16-161707-2
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Published in English.
Jack J. Lennon looks at the concept of dirtiness in ancient Rome and its role in stigmatising various citizens. He considers those Romans who were commonly labelled as unclean, the ways that their supposed dirtiness was made known to the rest of society, and the impact this could have on their lives.
Jack J. Lennon examines those groups in ancient Rome that were most frequently attacked using the language of dirtiness and contamination, whether because of their profession, ethnicity, or social position. Focusing on those that commonly laboured under the stigma of impurity, he considers the significance of denigration in Roman society, which he defines as attacks against individuals based specifically on their alleged dirtiness. The author demonstrates the importance of dirtiness as a mechanism within the wider processes of social and political interactions and marginalisation. In so doing he goes beyond the existing discussions of who was labelled unclean in ancient Rome to reveal how the supposed dirtiness of an individual or group was articulated to the rest of society and perpetuated over time. Furthermore, he considers how this form of stigma affected those who attracted allegations of dirtiness. The study of dirt and its role within social interactions offers an excellent lens through which to study Roman society's constantly evolving perceptions of itself and of those peoples or activities that were thought to require censure or control. Jack J. Lennon combines the more traditional elements of ancient history with research models and theories developed across the fields of anthropology, psychology, and medieval history, each of which has provided significant advances for the study of stigma and marginalisation. By exploring the subject of dirt and its impact on social status in ancient Rome, the author provides a new avenue of approach for the study of marginal groups and the process of marginalisation within Roman society.
Survey of contents
Chapter 1: Pimps
Chapter 2: Prostitutes
Chapter 3: Performers and Entertainers
Chapter 4: Dealing with the Dead
Chapter 5: Dirt and the Outsider

Jack J. Lennon Born 1985; studied Classics and Ancient History at the University of Nottingham; teaching positions at University College London, the University of Kent, and the University of Nottingham; Mougins Museum Rome Award holder at the British School at Rome; since 2016 lecturer in Ancient History, University of Leicester.


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