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Princeton University Press
Roman Sexualities

Roman Sexualities

by Judith P. Hallett, Marilyn B. SkinnerJudith P. Hallett
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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691011783
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 12/28/1997
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 7.75(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Quod multo fit aliter in Graecia ...3
Pt. 1Unmarked Sexuality
1Invading the Roman Body: Manliness and Impenetrability in Roman Thought29
Pt. 2Wayward Sexualities
2The Teratogenic Grid47
3Unspeakable Professions: Public Performance and Prostitution in Ancient Rome66
Pt. 3Gender Slippage in Literary Constructions of the Masculine
4Dining Deviants in Roman Political Invective99
5Ego mulier: The Construction of Male Sexuality in Catullus129
6The Erotics of amicitia: Readings in Tibullus, Propertius, and Horace151
7Reading Broken Skin: Violence in Roman Elegy172
Pt. 4Male Constructions of "Woman"
8Pliny's Brassiere197
9Female Desire and the Discourse of Empire: Tacitus's Messalina221
10Female Homoeroticism and the Denial of Roman Reality in Latin Literature255
11The Lover's Voice in Heroides 15: Or, Wy Is Sappho a Man?274
Pt. 5Female Construction of the Desiring Subject
12Tandem venit amor: A Roman Woman Speaks of Love295
Notes on Contributors333

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