Authority as ‘Resultant Voice’: Towards a Stylistic and Musical Anthropology of Effective Speech in Archaic Rome

In: Greek and Roman Musical Studies

Abstract

Analysis of a large number of texts from the archaic period of Roman culture shows that the authoritative character of a solemn utterance (a prophecy, the formula uttered by a praetor, a religious praefatio) was based principally on specific sound patterns. From these utterances’ use of parallelisms, phonic echoes and syllabic repetitions there emerged a sort of ‘resultant voice’, which made their exceptional character immediately apparent. From the perspective of their intended hearers, the sound-construction of these pronouncements had the capacity to arouse what the Romans called delectatio: that is, the disposition to believe in the truth and validity of what they were hearing. That the Romans included all these acoustic phenomena within a single perceptual domain is demonstrated by the fact that music, too, had the power to produce delectatio—and by the fact that the verb cano and its derivatives refer as much to musical as to poetic expression.

  • BarchiesiM. La Tarentilla rivisitata 1978 Pisa

  • BaudotA. Musiciens Romains de l’antiquité 1973 Montréal

  • BerioL. Un ricordo la futuro. Lezioni americane 2006 Torino

  • BettiniM. La poesia romana arcaica al lavoro 1985 14 13 43 Mat. disc. an. test. Class

  • BettiniM. Mighty Words, Suspect Speech: Fari in Roman Culture Arethusa 2008a 41 313 375 2008

  • BettiniM. Il mito fra autorità e discredito L’immagine riflessa 2008b 17 27 64

  • BettiniM. Gli dei parentes nella cultura romana arcaica. Parentela fra i vivi, parentela fra i morti, parentela coi morti Bettini Affari di famiglia 2009 Bologna 87 126

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BoyerP. Barricades mystérieuses et pièges à penser. Introduction à l’analyse des épopées fang 1988 Paris

  • ColeridgeS.T. ShawcrossJ. Biographia Literaria 1973 (= 1907) II Oxford

  • DetienneM. Les Grecs et nous 2005 Paris

  • DetienneM. Maîtres de vérité dans la Grèce archaïque 2006 (= 1965) Paris

  • DuboisJ.W. ChafeW.NicholsJ. Self-Evidence and Ritual Speech Evidentiality: The Linguistic Coding of Epistemology 1986 Norwood NJ 313 333

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DuckworthG. The Nature of Roman Comedy 1952 Princeton NJ

  • DupontF. L’acteur roi ou le théâtre dans la Rome archaïque 1985 Paris

  • DurantiA. Etnopragmatica 2007 Rome

  • ErnoutA.MeilletA. Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue latine 1951 Paris

  • FerroL. Intorno a fabula. Ricerca sull’efficacia di una parola screditata Tesi di Dottorato in Antropologia del Mondo Antico 2005 Università degli Studi di Siena

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • FynticoglouV.VoutirasE. BaltyJ. Stilistiche Züge der Gebete Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum 2005 III Los Angeles

  • GellA. Art and Agency. An Anthropological Theory 1998 Oxford

  • GoffmanE. Footing Semiotica 1979 25 1 29

  • GuittardC. BruléP.VendriesC. Carmen et Carmenta: chant, prière et prophétie Chanter les dieux 2001 Rennes 173 181

  • GuittardC. Carmen et prophéties à Rome 2007 Brepols

  • GüntertH. Von der Sprache der Götter und Geister 1921 Halle

  • HabinekT. The World of Roman Songs: from Ritualized Speech to Social Order 2005 Baltimore

  • HofmannJ.B.SzantyrA. Lateinische Syntax und Stilistik 1972 München

  • JakobsonR. SebeokT.A. Linguistics and Poetics Style in Language 1960 New York 350 377

  • LandaburuJ. El tratamiento gramatical de la verdad en la lengua Andoke Revista colombiana de Antropología 1976 20 80 100

  • LandelsJ.G. Music in Ancient Greece and Rome 1999 London

  • LausbergE. BlissM.T.JansenA.OrtonD.E. Handbuch der literarischen Rhetorik 1973 München 1998, Handbook of Literary Rhetoric: A Foundation for Literary Study (Leiden)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LeavittJ. DurantiA. Profezia Culture e discorso: un lessico per le scienze umane 2001 Rome 281 286

  • LeavittJ. Etnopragmatica 2007 Roma

  • LentanoM. La prova del sangue 2007 Bologna

  • LowthR. Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews 1787 (= Olms, Hildesheim 1969)

  • MariottiS. Il Bellum Poenicum e l’arte di Nevio 2001 Bologna

  • MartinetA. Elements of General Linguistics 1960 Chicago

  • MooreT.J. When did the tibicen play? Meter and musical Accompaniment in Roman Comedy TAPA 2008 138 3 46

  • MooreT.J. Music in Roman Comedy 2012 Cambridge

  • SeveriC. CompagnonA. Autorité sans auteur: formes de l’autorité dans les traditions orales De l’autorité 2008 Paris 93 123

  • TrainaA. Forma e suono. Da Plauto a Pascoli 1999 second edition Bologna

  • VernantJ.-P. Figures, idoles, masques 1990 Paris

  • 1

    Bettini 2008a, 313-75. Similar utterances are concerned with a form of effective speech which in many respects recalls that of the ‘masters of truth’—the prophet, the singer and the justice-dispensing king—discussed by Detienne 2006 (= 1965); cf. also Detienne 2005, 92-3.

  • 2

    Goffman 1979, 1-29. Cf. Dubois 1986, quoted by Leavitt 2001, 281-6; Duranti 2007, esp. 87 ff.; Carmina Marciana 1, 8 Morel.

  • 7

    Lowth 1787, II, Lecture XIX, The Prophetic Poetry is Sententious, 24 ff., 35 ff.

  • 8

    Jakobson 1960, 350-77.

  • 11

    Bettini 2008a, esp. 344 ff.; Duranti 2007, 73 ff.

  • 18

    See the masterly discussion of Traina 1999, 55 ff.

  • 23

    Moore 2012, 15-16; 2008, 3-46; Excerpta de comoedia, 8, 9 ff.: deverbia histriones pronuntiabant, cantica vero temperabantur modis non a poeta sed a perito artis musicae factis. neque enim omnia isdem modis in uno cantico agebantur sed saepe mutatis, ut significant qui tres numeros in comoediis ponunt, qui tres continent ‘mutatis modis cantici’. 10 eius qui modos faciebat nomen in principio fabulae post scriptoris et actoris superponebatur. 11 huiusmodi carmina ad tibias fiebant, ut his auditis multi ex populo ante dicerent, quam fabulam acturi scaenici essent, quam omnino spectatoribus ipsius antecedens titulus pronuntiaretur. agebantur autem tibiis paribus, id est dextris aut sinistris, et imparibus. dextrae autem tibiae sua gravitate seriam comoediae dictionem pronuntiabant, sinistrae [Serranae] acuminis levitate iocum in comoedia ostendebant. ubi autem dextra et sinistra acta fabula inscribebatur, mixtim ioci et gravitates denuntiabatur. Cf. Donatus, Praefatio 1, 7 to each of the five comedies of Terence on which he comments (Aeli Donati quod fertur Commentum Terenti, ed. P. Wessner, Teubner Leipzig 1902, I-III); Duckworth 1952, 361 ff.; Landels 1999, 182-9; Baudot 1973, 57-65. The evidence mainly relates to the practices of the comic theatre, but there is no reason to think that those involved in tragic theatre operated in a different way; there are indeed some indications that they were very similar.

  • 26

    Vernant 1990, 22.

  • 28

    Bettini 2009; Lentano 2007, 163.

  • 33

    Cf. Dupont 1985, 65 f.

  • 34

    Severi 2008, 104; Boyer 1988 (cited in Severi, op. cit.). Berio 2006, 46 f. (concerned with the Banda Linda of Central Africa and with the pentatonic melody which arises from a group of forty trumpeters, without any of them actually playing it).

  • 35

    Martinet 1960, 22-30.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 83 47 6
Full Text Views 71 33 0
PDF Downloads 5 1 0