'For historians, therefore, the study of ethics is now the study of a basic building block of the Greek and Roman world, and McDonnell ... [has] made a major contribution to the field.' The Times Literary Supplement
This book examines the public and the most important aspect of Roman masculinity: Manliness as represented by the concept of virtus. Using traditional historical, philological, and archaeological analyses, together with the methods of socio-linguistics and gender studies, it presents a comprehensive picture of how Roman manliness developed from the middle to the late Republic. Arguing that virtus was not, in essence, a moral concept, Myles McDonnell shows how the semantic range of the word, together with the manly ideal that it embodied, were altered by Greek cultural ideas; and how Roman manliness was contested in the religion, culture, and politics of the late Republic.