2014 | 24 | 2 |
Article title

Postać ojca w rzymskiej deklamcji na przykładzie deklamacji V, VI I XVII ze zbioru Declamationes maiores Pseudo-Kwintyliana (The Figure of a Father in Three Declamations (V, VI, XVII) from the Collection of Pseudo-Quintilian's Greater Declamations).

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Fathers are important characters in the three controversies (declamations in form of fictional court speeches) analysed this article: in V declamation the father speaks against the son, demands from him financial support in poverty and old age (in one part of the declamation he even begs for his help); in VI declamation the speaker is also the father who is litigating with his wife about their deceased son’s right to be buried (the wife does not give her consent to the funeral because, according to her, the son had left her to rescue his father from pirates’ captivity); however, in XVII declamation the one who speaks is the son who is defending himself against his father’s accusations of him trying to commit patricide. The fathers presented in those declamations are characterized by some traits of personality resulting from the plot of each declamation, and are lead by certain motives of behaviour, which are love, kindness, respect, sympathy towards family members or reluctance or even hatred towards them. Simultaneously, in each of these pieces, the portraits of those fathers, emphasise dominating legal and economic position of fathers in families, their influence on upbringing and educating the children and on the family’s everyday life. This way of constructing the figure of the father in declamations resulted from the fact that those speaking exercises were performed by young Romans, who were to play the role of fathers (patres familias) in their future families. Working on the attitudes of the fathers in extreme and overstressed situations, young declaimers practiced making and justifying decisions regarding family members, public speaking in the role of fathers. What is also not out of the question is that the possibility of playing out the role of fathers or the possibility of publicly speaking against fathers (in both cases fathers could be presented in negative light) were a kind of safety valves allowing young Romans to give vent to frustrations evolving from their big dependence on the authority of fathers in real life.
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