n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Non-verbal communication in Suetonius and the : power, posture and proxemics

Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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One of the ways in which Suetonius and the Augustan History author differ in their portrayals of the power-holders and power-seekers they wrote about is in how power, position, status and prestige were communicated non-verbally. An initial count of non-verbal signifiers across fourteen categories shows Suetonius filling his narrative with considerably more such material than the does. This finding includes the categories of (the spatial relationship of the bodies of power-holders to other people), to , and to . Depending on the situation, sitting or standing, relaxation or rigidity, closeness or distance, few or many companions can be marks of inferiority or superiority, weakness or strength, intimacy or control, compliance or resistance. The greater range and variety of such material in Suetonius means that one gets from him a fuller sense of how individials differ in their efforts to influence and impress others.

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