Thursday, July 16, 2020


Inherited or Imitated Way of Walking

I once speculated that in the recognition scene of Aeschylus, Libation Bearers 205-210 (cf. Euripides, Electra 532-537), Electra saw in the footprints of her brother Orestes some "distinctive, recognizable gait, for example, the pressure of toe and heel, the distance between the steps, the direction of the toes, etc....Perhaps Electra and Orestes shared a distinctive gait learned in early childhood from their father Agamemnon." I recently came across a passage in Apuleius' Metamorposes (2.2) which mentions the similarity in gait between a mother and son (tr. E.J. Kenney):
But she looked at me and said: 'Yes, he's his sainted mother Salvia all over — it shows in his breeding and modesty. And his looks — it's uncanny, he couldn't be more like her: moderately tall, slim but muscular, nice complexion, a natural blond, simple hairstyle, eyes grey but alert and bright, really like an eagle's, a blooming countenance, a graceful but unaffected walk.'

at illa optutum in me conversa: 'en', inquit 'sanctissimae Salviae matris generosa probitas, sed et cetera corporis execrabiliter ad regulam sunt congruentia: inenormis proceritas, succulenta gracilitas, rubor temperatus, flavum et inadfectatum capillitium, oculi caesii quidem, sed vigiles et in aspectu micantes, prorsus aquilini, os quoquoversum floridum, speciosus et immeditatus incessus.'

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