Writing the History of Fatness and Thinness in Graeco-Roman Antiquity

- Jeudi 13 décembre 2018 de 16h à 18h
Conférence et vidéo conférence de Christian Laes, université d’Antwerp
Sur place au CNRS d’Ivry sur Seine, 27 rue Paul Bert, métro Porte de Choisy/Porte d’Ivry, salle C en sous-sol
ou à distance par vidéo-conférence

Cette conférence est la 23e séance mensuelle du séminaire interdisciplinaire :
“The Individual and his Body in the Ancient Mediterranean Basin” organisé par Alice Mouton.

Résumé :
Fatness and thinness has been a much underexploited topic in the study of classical Antiquity. In this presentation, I will carefully analyse the Greek and Roman vocabulary to denote the matter. After this, I will catalogue information on concrete instances of persons who were considered to have suffered from overweight, or emaciation. On a second level, I will deal with popular mentality regarding overweight or thinness. Thirdly, medical and/or philosophical theory regarding weight problems will be studied. In this, the moral discourse linking obesity with gluttony or weakness and avarice with underweight will be examined. I will also ask whether changed Christian attitudes towards the body and bodily functions lead to new concepts regarding the matter. For these different levels of questions, I will take into account concepts of disability history, asking whether the obviously impairing factors of excess weight or the opposite of it lead to social disfunctionality, hindering people from important social functions and subjecting them to social stigma.