Roman Sexualities

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Judith P. Hallett, Marilyn B. Skinner
Princeton University Press, 1997 - History - 343 pages

This collection of essays seeks to establish Roman constructions of sexuality and gender difference as a distinct area of research, complementing work already done on Greece to give a fuller picture of ancient sexuality. By applying feminist critical tools to forms of public discourse, including literature, history, law, medicine, and political oratory, the essays explore the hierarchy of power reflected so strongly in most Roman sexual relations, where noblemen acted as the penetrators and women, boys, and slaves the penetrated. In many cases, the authors show how these roles could be inverted--in ways that revealed citizens' anxieties during the days of the early Empire, when traditional power structures seemed threatened.


In the essays, Jonathan Walters defines the impenetrable male body as the ideational norm; Holt Parker and Catharine Edwards treat literary and legal models of male sexual deviance; Anthony Corbeill unpacks political charges of immoral behavior at banquets, while Marilyn B. Skinner, Ellen Oliensis, and David Fredrick trace linkages between social status and the gender role of the male speaker in Roman lyric and elegy; Amy Richlin interrogates popular medical belief about the female body; Sandra R. Joshel examines the semiotics of empire underlying the historiographic portrayal of the empress Messalina; Judith P. Hallett and Pamela Gordon critique Roman caricatures of the woman-desiring woman; and Alison Keith discovers subversive allusions to the tragedy of Dido in the elegist Sulpicia's self-depiction as a woman in love.

 

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Contents

Invading the Roman Body Manliness and Impenetrability in Roman Thought
29
The Teratogenic Grid
47
Unspeakable Professions Public Performance and Prostitution in Ancient Rome
66
Dining Deviants in Roman Political Invective
99
Ego mulier The Construction of Male Sexuality in Catullus
129
The Erotics of amicitia Readings in Tibullus Propertius and Horace
151
Reading Broken Skin Violence in Roman Elegy
172
Plinys Brassiere
197
Female Desire and the Discourse of Empire Tacituss Messalina
221
Female Homoeroticism and the Denial of Roman Reality in Latin Literature
255
The Lovers Voice in Heroides 15 Or Why Is Sappho a Man?
274
Tandem venit amor A Roman Woman Speaks of Love
295
BIBLIOGRAPHY
311
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
333
INDEX
335
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Judith P. Hallett is Professor of Classics at the University of Maryland at College Park. Her many works include Fathers and Daughters in Roman Society (Princeton). Marilyn B. Skinner is Professor of Classics at the University of Arizona. She is the author of Catullus' "Passer": The Arrangement of the Book of Polymetric Poems.

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