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Strong Arms and Drinking StrengthMasculinity, Violence, and the Body in Ancient India$
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Jarrod L. Whitaker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199755707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755707.001.0001

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Brave Men and Manliness

Brave Men and Manliness

(p.59) 2 Brave Men and Manliness
Strong Arms and Drinking Strength

Jarrod L. Whitaker (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 examines the use of the terms vïrá and vïryá, which signify a man’s role as a brave warrior and his manly virile powers and qualities. R̥gvedic poet-priests promote various ways that men can prove their masculinity, but the dominant role is that of man as warrior. Poets expect that men defined by the terms vïrá and vïryá will acquire wealth from violent excursions and distribute the resultant spoils among clansmen. The use of these two terms also highlights the patriarchal nature of early Vedic culture as males are marked at birth with this androcentric martial role, while also being objectified as commodities in their own right. In addition, fathers, lords, and sacrificial patrons should possess and control males, whether young or old, and, through ritual performances, these patriarchal figures affirm their status, virility, and command of sons and able-bodied men.

Keywords:   warrior, manliness, warfare, spoils of war, patriarchy, children, fatherhood, birth, virá, vïryá

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