Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome

By Amy Richlin | Go to book overview

elitist associations that were inimical to the Athenian democracy. Greifenhagen has rightly called this scene the last great artistic expression of Archaic male erôs. Ironically, from an art-historical point of view, it represents a new level of technical refinement, when, for the first time, an artist could transcend the limitations of conventional vase painting (through the use of shading and other techniques developed in wall painting) to create the most sensuous "pinup boys" ever seen in this medium--just when the demand for such images was on the wane. By the time Plato came to celebrate the beautiful youth, these pictures were heirlooms of a bygone age.


NOTES

I am grateful to Amy Richlin, not only for the invitation to contribute to this volume, but for much encouragement and many good suggestions along the way. Thanks also to Robert Sutton for his careful reading of an earlier draft and many helpful comments, and to Lucilla Burn and Dietrich von Bothmer for help in obtaining photographs.

1.
See, however, Kappeler 1986: 152. Kappeler points out that the etymological derivation of pornography from "prostitute" is still accurately reflected in the power relationship of male and female.
2.
In the remainder of this chapter, discussion of homosexual pornography or erotica is limited to that between males. There are, in my opinion, no depictions of explicit lesbian activity in Greek art, and attempts to recognize it (e.g., Keuls 1985: 87, fig. 81; Dover 1978: R207) do not convince. At most a scene like R207 might be intended for titillation of male viewers, as in the use of lesbianism in modern heterosexual pornography for men.
3.
Keuls 1985: 297, fig. 166, reproduces a scene on the interior of a red-figured cup which she describes as "Man negotiating the price of sex with a boy." I doubt, however, that the money purse in the man's hand implies that the boy is a prostitute. Mature men often carry such a purse as an attribute (like the walking stick). It characterizes their status in society and signifies ability to purchase anything from sex to vegetables, but not necessarily intent.
4.
A small number of black-figure vases show anal intercourse between men (e.g., Koch Harnack 1983: fig. 108). All these vases belong to the so-called Tyrrhenian Group, made for the Etruscan market. The iconography of these vases is often eccentric, and they cannot be used in a discussion of Athenian tastes and expectations.
5.
An exception would be the ithyphallic Pan pursuing a goatherd ( Beazley 1963: 550, 1). But Pan falls more in the category of the bestial satyrs than of the Olympian gods.
6.
The story that Helen distracted Menelaos from his wrath by baring her breast is depicted on a single remarkable vase of ca. 430. Beazley 1963: 1173 ( Vatican).
7.
Beazley was himself uncertain about the identification ("according to conjecture"), but it was taken up and repeated by others with more certainty; also in Dover 1978: 98, cf. 93. The suggestion had first been made by Friedrich Hauser in 1893 (references in Greifenhagen 1957: 79).
8.
The vases are (1) a second cup in Boston, inv. no. 95.31; Beazley 1963: 443, 25; and (2) cup, Berlin (West) inv. 2305; Beazley 1963: 450, 31.
9.
A unique, recently published red-figured vase of about 490 ( Hermary 1986) is by far the earliest depiction of Eros as archer. The motif does not become popular until much later.
10.
British Museum E440; Beazley 1963: 289, l; Greifenhagen 1957: 32, fig. 25.

-72-

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Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Time Line of Events, Sources, and Persons Discussed xxiv
  • 1: Pornography and Persuasion on Attic Pottery 3
  • Notes 34
  • 2: Tragedy and the Politics of Containment 36
  • Notes 51
  • 3: Eros in Love: Pederasty and Pornography in Greece 53
  • Notes 72
  • 4: The Mute Nude Female Characters in Aristophanes' Plays 73
  • Notes 88
  • Appendix Texts Relating to the Writers of Sexual Handbooks 108
  • Notes 109
  • 6: The Body Female and the Body Politic: Livy's Lucretia and Verginia 112
  • Notes 129
  • 7: The Domestication of Desire: Ovid's Parva Tabella and the Theater of Love 131
  • Notes 155
  • Notes 158
  • Notes 178
  • Notes 179
  • 9: Death as Decoration: Scenes from the Arena on Roman Domestic Mosaics 180
  • Notes 208
  • 10: Callirhoe 212
  • 11: Sweet and Pleasant Passion: Female and Male Fantasy in Ancient Romance Novels 231
  • Notes 249
  • 12: The Edible Woman: Athenaeus's Concept of the Pornographic 250
  • Conclusion 266
  • Notes 269
  • Notes 269
  • Notes 283
  • Bibliography 285
  • Contributors 313
  • Index 315
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