Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-pjpqr Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-14T09:17:05.912Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 10 - All the World’s a Stage

Contemplatio Mundi in Roman Theatre

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 June 2019

Phillip Sidney Horky
Affiliation:
University of Durham
Get access

Summary

This chapter investigates the significance that Roman augural practice, as a kindred practice to Greek theôria, held for Roman comedy and tragedy. Central to its arguments are notions of time and space, which ultimately show the broad importance of Aristotelian concepts to the broader Hellenistic world. This piece argues that augury-taking involved sitting in a terrestrial temple while gazing at a specially demarcated zone of sky or a ‘whole-world’ (mundus). This temporarily legible space in which the gods would direct the signifying flight of birds was more than a celestial backdrop; it was also itself a temple (templum caeli), and the technical term for this temple-gazing was contemplatio. The institution of Roman theatre has not generally been associated with practices of auspication, but because of the emphatic insistence on the temporary stage, the conventional ‘unity of time’ and the probable placement of audience seating, there was a suggestive similarity between the Middle Republican audience’s spectation at tragedies and comedies and traditional augural contemplation. The structural echo between augural and theatrical contemplation outlives the Republican temporary stage in Seneca, where it has become a distinctively Roman mode of construing the intersection of the cosmic gaze and philosophical or spectatorial theôria.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×