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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
British Museum E440; Beazley 1963: 289, l; Greifenhagen 1957: 32, fig. 25.