The Ancient Depiction of Gesture, Motion, and Emotion
Christina A. Clark, Edith Foster, and Judith P. Hallett, editors
Considers the presentation of gesture in Greek and Latin literature


Donald Lateiner, in his groundbreaking work The Sardonic Smile, presented the first thorough study of nonverbal behavior in Homeric epics, drawing a significant distinction between ancient and modern gesture and demonstrating the intrinsic relevance of this “silent language” to psychological, social, and anthropological studies of the ancient world.

Using Lateiner’s work as a touchstone, the scholars in Kinesis analyze the depiction of emotions, gestures, and other nonverbal cues in ancient Greek and Roman texts and consider the precise language used to depict them. Individual contributors examine genres ranging from historiography and epic to tragedy, philosophy, and vase decoration. They explore evidence as disparate as Pliny’s depiction of animal emotions, Plato’s presentation of Aristophanes’ hiccups, and Thucydides’ use of verb tenses. Sophocles’ deployment of silence is considered, as are Lucan’s depiction of death and the speaking objects of the medieval Alexander Romance.

This collection will be valuable to scholars studying Greek and Roman society and literature, as well as to those who study the imitation of ancient literature in later societies. Jargon is avoided and all passages in ancient languages are translated, making this volume accessible to advanced undergraduates. 

Contributors in addition to the volume editors include Jeffrey Rusten, Rosaria Vignolo Munson, Hans-Peter Stahl, Carolyn Dewald, Rachel Kitzinger, Deborah Boedeker, Daniel P. Tompkins, John Marincola, Carolin Hahnemann, Ellen Finkelpearl, Hanna M. Roisman, Eliot Wirshbo, James V. Morrison, Bruce Heiden, Daniel B. Levine, and Brad L. Cook.

Jacket illustration: Myson (fifth century BCE). (Studio of). Croesus seated on his funeral pyre. Red figure amphora from Vulci. H: 59.5 cm. G197. (Photo: Hervé Lewandowski. Musée du Louvre. © RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY.)

Christina Clark is Associate Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at Creighton University.

Edith Foster is Associate Professor of History at Ashland University.

Judith P. Hallett is Professor of Classics and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Praise / Awards

  • "The variety of studies proposed in this volume highlights the multiplicity of themes relating to the analysis of non-verbal behaviors in ancient literature expounds on the work of Donald Lateiner, a pioneer in the subject."
    --Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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  • 336 pages.
  • 1 photo, 5 line drawings.
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  • 2015
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