Rhetoric is a bodily art. “Character” itself is an emanation, or a translation of an individual’s physical nature: excessive, outlandish characters are used in ancient rhetoric as relevant examples of this connection. Starting from the controversial legacy of Mark Antony as an orator, this paper explores how medical theory underpins ancient rhetorical thought on the excessive orator and reveals the linkage of character, the body, and its environment. By reexamining the famous cases of Mark Antony, Cassius Severus, Maecenas, and Cicero himself in the light of Greek discourse on the effects of humoral imbalance on speech, I revisit the legacies of several heroes and villains of Roman oratory, as well as contemplate the enduring seduction of excess.

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