This indeed my capability: that my body is strong. As a fighter of battles I am a good fighter of battles. When ever with my judgment in a place I determine whether I behold or do not behold an enemy, both with understanding and with judgment, then I think prior to panic, when I see an enemy as when I do not see one.And such boasts have a long history in human (particularly male) behavior in which one attempts to intimidate through words either one's friends or one's enemies. I am thinking, in particular, of the great boast that Twain recorded in Life on the Mississippi where the braggart goes on and on about how good he is and, particularly, what a good boaster he is. This brag, of course, is highly relevant to modern-day rap in that many times the rapper goes on and on about what skills he or she has at rapping.
I am skilled both in hands and in feet. As a horseman, I am a good horseman. As a bowman, I am a good bowman, both on foot and on horseback. As a spearman, I am a good spearman, both on foot and on horseback.
These skills that Ahuramazda set down upon me, and which I am strong enough to bear, by the will of Ahuramazda, what was done by me, with these skills I did, which Ahuramazda set down upon me.
O man, vigorously make you known of what sort I am, and of what sort my skillfulnesses, and of what sort my superiority. Let not that seem false to you, which has been heard by your ears. Listen to what is said to you.
O man, let that not be made to seem false to you, which has been done by me. That do you behold, which has been inscribed. Let not the laws be disobeyed by you. Let not anyone be untrained in obedience. [The last line is unintelligible]" (Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions: DNb)
Now aside from the rhetorical aspects of the brag(boast) to indimidate others, I am also interested in when such bragging is condoned and not condoned. Ultimately everyone expects a basketball or football player to boast about his skills both on the court or field as a sort of rhetorical intimidation or distraction tactic. If that player, however, boasts out of the playing context they are considered "big headed" or so completely self-centered that they become the brunt of jokes (witness Karl Malone in parody on Comedy Central for example.) Out of their playing context, athletes are expected to be humble and self-effacing and great champions of team effort. (Now ultimately this can be a racial issue in that often times white players are seen as humble, but athletes of color are seen as self-centered and uppity. I will not, however, be engaging in a discussion of the racist aspects of humility today. I think, nevertheless it is important to considered social values and how they play out between the races.) Larry Bird and Michael Jordan are good examples of this pairing: both were stars on the court and didn't seem to lack attitude about their work while on the court. Nevertheless, when they came off the court they adopted the humble hero motif and declaimed team effort and rarely boasted about their copious skills on the court.
Similarly, one is expected to brag(boast) on a vitae but at the same time showing a sure amount of defference in a job interview. These indicate, of course, an amount of social control on individuals to keep them from breaking out a socially prescribed role. Not all people, in other words, get to be king, and only the king can brag with impunity.
Ultimately this does seem to be the case today, but leaders are expected to be humble (to an extent.) I think, however, that not much really has changed. Darius, for example, is being humble in that he indicates that all of this is thanks to Ahuramazda, much like a modern-day political leader ascribes things to God and asks for God's blessings (acting like some sort of Pontifex Maximus of official republican pan-theism.) Nevertheless, Darius makes sure that you know it is his skill that has made him great (thanks to Ahuramazda). Skill proves Darius. In other words he can kick your ass from here to next week (if he has to). Why can he do this? He has the skills, man. Thanks Ahuramazda! (Praise Jesus! for our modern context.) Darius, like the Jesus-prasing athlete, singer, film-maker, actor, artists, politician whatever is favored by a god and has a right to brag about it. See it is a weird sort of humility that is being displayed in this bragging.
So bragging is really about being humble when you pair it up with a feint at a deity? Hmm. Humility is about social conformity? Hmm.