Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture

Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture

Marilyn B. Skinner

Language: English

Pages: 464

ISBN: 1444349864

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This agenda-setting text has been fully revised in its second edition, with coverage extended into the Christian era. It remains the most comprehensive and engaging introduction to the sexual cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

  • Covers a wide range of subjects, including Greek pederasty and the symposium, ancient prostitution, representations of women in Greece and Rome, and the public regulation of sexual behavior
  • Expanded coverage extends to the advent of Christianity, includes added illustrations, and offers student-friendly pedagogical features
  • Text boxes supply intriguing information about tangential topics
  • Gives a thorough overview of current literature while encouraging further reading and discussion
  • Conveys the complexity of ancient attitudes towards sexuality and gender and the modern debates they have engendered




















order to renew his marriage. Both plays impose the bride’s loss of identity in changing from one social role to another upon the groom, with unsettling repercussions for gender stability (Foley 2001: 329). Since in each case we are dealing with a couple rejoined after separation, Euripides may be implying that the institution of marriage enforces abrupt transformation upon females but over time also makes imperceptible modifications to the male sense of self; we recall Odysseus’ reassumption of

aspects. References Allen, J. P. 1988. Genesis in Egypt: The Philosophy of Ancient Egyptian Creation Accounts. Yale Egypto­logical Studies 2. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Beye, C. R. 1969. “Jason as Love-hero in Apollonios’ Argonautika.” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 10: 31–55. Bing, P. 1993. “The Bios-tradition and Poets’ Lives in Hellenistic Poetry.” In R. M Rosen and J. Farrell (eds), Nomodeiktes: Greek Studies in Honor of Martin Ostwald. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan

examine visual art from the early and middle empire to learn what graphic sexual content expressed to viewers who were, for the most part, of the “middling” classes. Let us consider a few examples of unexpected cultural messages. Portraits of deceased citizen women as goddesses were popular in affluent circles during the first and second centuries CE. Allegorical court art supplied a visual �language for endowing human figures with divine attributes. When a woman is �represented as a bountiful

promoted an austere, sanitized version of Magna Mater as civic protectress, though, the populace invoked her in its own way. Archaeological investigations have exposed a large cache of terracotta votives beneath a subsequent temple, including many statuettes of the goddess’s mortal lover Attis, whose �self-castration and death were indispensable parts of her sacred tale (Roller 1999: 274–80). Such figurines functioned as surrogates for the donors. Under the later Empire, finally, Attis became

company of female figures, sometimes ogling them, sometimes being cuddled like a pet (Dover 1978: 133, fig. R414; Kilmer 1993: 193–7; figs. R416, R1192). We occasionally find even more surreal beasts, such as a horse with a phallic head. Surrogates for the onlooker, these beings reaffirm the male privilege of gazing at women sexually (Frontisi-Ducroux 1996: 93–5). Yet it is noteworthy that the women, far from being offended, are shown treating the phallos-bird with affection. Lewis (2002: 127–8)

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