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Chapter 6 - Greek thorybos, Roman eustatheia

The Normative Universe of Athenian Cult Associations*

Vincent Gabrielsen
Affiliation:
University of Copenhagen
Mario C. D. Paganini
Affiliation:
Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
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Summary

Obviously, this is not the place to argue about the impact of the description on Demosthenes’ rhetorical strategy.2 The passage is significant in another, rather neglected, respect. It reflects the ambience created by these kaloi thiasoi, ‘brilliant groups’, an atmosphere of hustle and buzzes. It is exactly this sense of thorybos conveyed by the passage that interests me. Similar thorybos may be behind the decision of the deme of Piraeus to ban groups of worshippers convening outside the Thesmophorion in Piraeus, except on certain festival days.3 Thorybos (that is, cheers, shouts, heckling and laughter) was an essential feature of social activity in the ancient Greek world. Quite apart the religious sphere, several scholars emphasised the role of thorybos in the working of Athenian democracy, in the assembly and in the lawcourts.4 Judith Tacon claims that thorybos (that is, cases when speakers interrupt each other, demos interrupts speakers, demos allies with opposing speakers) was an integral feature of assembly debate and by extension of Athenian democracy. Anti-democracy theorists regarded it as negative.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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