Sex in Antiquity: Exploring Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World
Edited by Mark Masterson, Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, and James Robson
Routledge
88pp, 51 black and white illustrations and tables
Paperback, £29.99

The sexual pursuits of the Greeks and Romans may have offended Victorian sensibilities, but the subject continues to attract serious scholarly attention. This book (first published in hardback in 2015, and now in a more affordable paperback edition) is part of Routledge's Rewriting Antiquity series, which explores major themes in the ancient world with a holistic approach.

Like the other titles in the series, such as Disability in Antiquity and Women in Antiquity, Sex in Antiquity offers in-depth coverage of its subject – sexuality and gender – through a large number of interconnected chapters by leading experts, drawing upon ancient art and texts.

But it is not all orgies at the symposium – as seen on Greek vases – though these licentious scenes make an occasional appearance. The broad range of chapters investigates important historical and societal issues in ancient Near East, the Greek world, and the Roman world, such as prostitution, assault, rape and war, and pederasty. We also learn about a bizarre range of subjects – such as debatable cases of reproductive magic in the Hebrew Bible; the use of flour in Mesopotamian midwifery; the language of unmanliness in Latin; the Christian martyr Perpetua, and much much more.

Lucia Marchini

 

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