Go to Italy right now, shortly after dinner and visit one of the majestic squares of Rome and you'll see people walking, side by side or solo. They aren't going anywhere per se, though, because walking is a social status thing, an excuse to see and be seen. Best of all, this portico culture goes as far back as the Roman Empire.
Walking was also closely related to morals and social status. Slaves moved quickly; in fact, they did not so much walk as run (servus currens, "the running slave" being almost a tautology). One particular social climber, parodied in a comedy of "flat-footed" Plautus, was advised to slow down and to ape the exaggerated stately pace of the Roman gentleman (the only pace possible, I imagine, when you were formally dressed up in a toga). But it was important not to go too slowly; for that was the mark of a woman, or an effeminate. And it is precisely this idea that helps us restore some sense to one of the "jokes of Cicero", a sometimes pretty opaque collection preserved in the Macrobius's fifth-century encyclopedia, the Saturnalia. Catching sight of his daughter walking too quickly, and her husband walking too "softly" (mollius), Cicero is said to have quipped to his daughter "Walk like your husband", and to his son-in-law "Walk like your wife". It's still not a great laugh maybe, but we can begin to get the point.
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