Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome

By Amy Richlin | Go to book overview


I owe a considerable debt to Amy Richlin, Sandra Joshel, Molly Myerowitz, and the other contributors to this book, as well as to my friend and colleague Barbara Burrell. All translations are my own.

For Greek and Roman concepts of obscenity, see, respectively, Henderson ( 1975) and Richlin ( 1983).
Timaeus of Tauromenium (ca. 356-260) in Polyb. 12.13.1; already by the time of Timaeus, there was a recognized genre of sex manuals by anaiskhuntographoi.
First mentioned by Ptolemy Chennus, first-second century A.D. ( Photius Biblio. 149a28), who may have created this figure of Helen's maid. See Cohn, in Pauly-Wissowa 1894:23.2.1862 (77).
C (a mock epitaph which implies that Philaenis wrote sex manuals by pretending to deny the charge), G, H, M (a complete fusion of author and text: "Let all our women's quarters be a Philaenis").
Note that kataklisis, "posture," is a technical medical term for "position for resting in bed." See Hp. Art. 33; cf. Prog. 3, Gal. 16.578K: to tês katakliseôs skhêma.
Seduction: So B (quoted below); implied by G and Ovid's use of his sources in the Ars Amatoria. Oral sex is perhaps implied by D and L.
For the case of Sappho, see esp. Page 1955:110-46; Lefkowitz 1981a: 59-68; Hallett 1979: 447-64.
See Ath. 13.601e, 609c; Hp. Aera20-22. Part of the appeal of ethnographic works lies precisely in their sexual content. The pose of the detached scientific point of view and the fact that it is turned on the culturally Other authorizes discourse and representations otherwise forbidden. The success of Malinowski's title is a case in point.
For an example: Philostr. V.S. 1.22.524; cf. Suet. Aug. 51. For the Phoenicica, attributed to Lollianus, see Easterling and Knox 1985: 686.
For text, see Merkelbach ( 1972: 284); Tsantsanoglou ( 1973: 183-95); Cataudella ( 1973: 253-63); Luppe ( 1974: 281-82); Marcovich ( 1975: 123-24). My text differs slightly from Tsantsanoglou's, principally in retaining Merkelbach and Luppe's [νέ]αν ( Parker 1989: 49-50).
Pace Tsantsanoglou ( 1973: 194). For a modern analogue, compare the "Emmanuelle" movies, all the more so since the novel Emmanuelle by "Emmanuelle Arsan" is pseudonymous, possibly written by a man. The name Emmanuelle does not indicate authorship but is simply a signal to the consumer of pornographic content.
See Henderson 1987a: 96, and 1975: 151-83, esp. 164-66 (no. 274-78), 173 (no. 317), 178-80 (no. 358-64). Artemidorus 1.79 also contains a similar list of sexual positions used for interpreting dreams of mother-son incest; see Winkler 1990: 42.
But see Arist. Nic. Eth. 1128a22-25 on Old Comedy. Roman sources in Richlin 1983: 1-31.
So aselgeia: Plato Rep. 424e, Polyb. 36.15.4; coupled with hubris, Dem. 21.1, etc. For akolasia, Thuc. 3.37.3; Aristotle EtA. Nic. 1118b-9a, 1150a-51a; Eth. Eud.1230b, etc.; see North 1966: 202-3.
E.g., in food, Xen. Mem. 1.3.5, 2.1.33; Hp. Aphorisms 2.4, 17, 22 (but see 2.38); food and sex, Diog. Laert. 6.2.69; Plato Rep.389e, 580e; Xen. Symp. 4.38. This is, of course, a vast topic in Greek philosophy (see North 1966 for a survey) and one that forms the staple diet of Roman philosophers and poets; see Henry, Chapter 12 in this volume.
On luxury, extravagance in sex joined with food and drink, see Xen. Mem. 2.1.30; Plato Rep. 573a-e; Aesch. 1.42, 1.75; Dem. 18.296, 19.229; Crates fig.13-14; Hp. Epid. 3.10, 14. See Dover 1974: 178-80.


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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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