Weeping for the res publica: Tears in Roman political culture

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The thesis explores the meaning and function of tears in Roman political culture during the Republic and the Early Empire in various historical settings: mourning, the law court, and in different political contexts where power, authority, and subjection were expressed or exercised. This is carried through by reading representations of weeping in Greek and Latin literary works in different genres, written by different authors. The study demonstrates that while tears and weeping were a common occurrence in Roman politics, the appropriateness and meaning of tears varied by literary context and variables in the historical context (like status, gender, and communicative context). The study also discusses the question of change over and time and argues that the advent of the Emperor impacted weeping and that both an increased appreciation of tears as well as self-control were available as responses for the elite.


  • Johan Vekselius
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Classical Archaeology and Ancient History


  • Rome, Ancient Rome, Late Republican Rome, late Republic, Historiography, history of emotions, Tears, Weeping, Mourning, Virtues, Virtus, Pity, Clementia, Pietas, Oratory, Rhetoric, Cicero, Tacitus, Livy, The Roman Empire, The Roman Emperor, Latin historiography, Greek historiography, Grief, Ancient History, Classics, Ancient Greece, Funerals
Translated title of the contributionAtt gråta för RES PUBLICA: Tårar i romersk politisk kultur.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Place of PublicationLund
Print ISBNs978-91-88473-77-6
Electronic ISBNs978-91-88473-78-3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 6
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2018-05-04 Time: 10:15 Place: C121, LUX, Helgonavägen 3, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Corbeill, Anthony Title: professor Affiliation: University of Virginia, USA ---

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