This introductory chapter poses the main question of the book: If the ancient Romans (like people in other times and cultures) commonly behaved rightly in accordance with seemingly self-chosen norms without the threat of force or law, why did they do that, and what was going on in their minds when they did? The specific approach to the question is identified — a cluster of socially constructive emotions that exert normative pressure aim to restrain or prevent or correct offense — and a method is described for identifying emotional narratives or scripts that allow us to approach Roman emotion language in a way that is not reductive, anachronistic, or culturally skewed.
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