Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome

By Amy Richlin | Go to book overview

29.9). Presumably such individualized scenes depicted in the homes of their actual editores elicited from observant guests the same kinds of questions and positive comments that result today from the display of trophies, signed letters from the president, or records of civic honors.

Toynbee wonders how the Romans could illustrate violent scenes from the arena on their floors. If we ask "How could they?" about gladiatorial and venatorial themes, it is because we cannot imagine today enjoying what the scenes represent, or focusing our own private living or dining rooms on permanently displayed, fixed images that either specifically depict graphic (and still ongoing, rather than mythological or historical) violence, or at least imply that the violence will occur-- although we can permit the fugitive violence of the television screen into these rooms. 35 We are more likely to accept the display of mounted heads (or antlers, or other parts) of killed animals, from which we distance ourselves perhaps partly because they are disembodied. We are also not disturbed by the images of typical arena beasts depicted alone in medallions in a mosaic floor, in which no aggression is even implied. It is the graphic illustration of animals' fear or pain and of the terrible wounds inflicted on man and beast that provoke the question "How could they?" The simple answer to the question is that the Romans did not typically see the images that bother us--or the practices behind them--the same way we do: with empathy for the victim. The mosaics instead emphasize the distance of patron and audience from those whose deaths they enforced or delayed; scenes of attack and suffering may be funny, they may be diminished in importance by subordinate locations and small scale, and they may be reduced to decorative patterns.

In this essay I have considered only the mosaics of the relatively wealthy. Depictions in other media may illustrate different aspects of the games and suggest other interests or reactions of lower social classes. For example, in art on a smaller scale with less scope for narrative and detail, such as that on terra-cotta lamps (probably intended for less wealthy spectators who could not themselves afford to give shows), the emphasis on blood and on requests for missio does not seem to be as strong. But on the richly detailed floors of the wealthy, scenes of panic, blood, and fatal moments were indeed decoration, celebrating the social structure that both permitted the games and admired appropriate reproductions of them. The cooperation or approval of viewers of the art who were themselves potential victims of the arena, such as slaves or non-Roman visitors, is assumed in the mosaics and in the homes that display them. These gladiatorial and venatorial images were surely observed by visitors and diners who responded with praise for their hosts; the violence they saw was essential to the games, commonplace in its context, and directed against legitimate victims.


NOTES

I would like to thank Amy Richlin for interesting me in this topic in the first place and for inviting me to contribute to this book. She and Robert Sutton have been kind and helpful critics. I am especially grateful to my colleagues Jeremy Rutter and James Tatum for their enthusiastic support and suggestions, and for generously sharing with me their own archae-

-208-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
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
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 324

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.