• Danaids and Dirces in Roman Corinth: Sexualized Violence and Imperial Spectacle in 1 Clement

    Chance Bonar (see profile)
    Clement I, Pope, Church history--Primitive and early church, Sex crimes, Church history, Rome (Empire), Greece--Achaia (Roman province), Mythology, Greek
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    I offer an examination of the passage’s function in 1 Clement and potential reception among the Corinthians. The latter part of this chapter imagines how the Corinthian recipients of 1 Clement may have understood its brief scene of violence against women and their purported overcoming of “being weak in the body.” Building upon scholarship on the mythological staging of Roman executions as well as archaeological data at Corinth, I suggest that the unexcavated Corinthian amphitheater and Roman spectacle culture serve as essential for a correct understanding of 1 Clem 6.2. The amphitheater, one of the first in mainland Greece built soon after the establishment of the Corinthian colony (colonia), was one of many features that typified Corinth’s deep ties to Rome. Corinthian Christ-followers may have understood 1 Clement’s exemplary women and the sexualized violence they experienced through their own participation in or viewing of Roman spectacles. Such spectacular images, I argue, highlight the dependency of Corinth on Rome for its prominent colonial status, and strengthens the case of the writer of 1 Clement that Rome’s ecclesiastical advice should be taken by their imperial and ecclesiastical colonia. The sexually violated women of 1 Clem 6.2 are thus used by the Roman assembly as an example, as a veiled threat that violence might come upon those who cause enough internal dissent to be noticed and notable in the eyes of the (imperial and ecclesiastical) Romans.
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    7 months ago


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