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Sex and Gender.doc

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Regina Höschele

Lecture 3 (09/25/12): Sex and Gender in the Ancient World - Priapus is a divinity of fertility in Rome, put in gardens to scare people and animals away - Apotropaic: to ward off evil and bad influences - Apotropaic properties were associated with the penis in the ancient world - Fresco of Priapus at the Vettii house in the city of Pompeii, it was on the door of a private residence - Penis wasn't something shameful or something that needed to be hidden, unlike the standards today - Phallus: A penis - Statue of Priapus in the garden was a fountain from his penis, this was not unusual - Latin has an obscene word for Penis, some modern translations don't translate these correctly - Tintinnabula: A Roman wind chime with bells and images of penises that served an apotropaic function - Pompeii was full of sexual scenes and objects which were locked away because of the moral ideology of the late nineteenth century - In Greek comedy, at least in Athens, the players would wear phalluses as part of the costume - Comedy is linked to the god Dionysus who also is linked to phallic symbols - Herms: pillars with a bust of a person at the top and an erect dick on the front, named after the god Hermes - These were found on the roads, in the city, as monuments, in the library. They often had the bust of famous and well respected people on the top - Herms were mutilated before the Athenian fleet set off towards Sicily, possibly by the people who had opposed the expedition - This was called the Hermocopidai - Women did not often attend comedies, perhaps just the prostitutes. More women attended the comedies in Rome - Ithyphallic: with an erect penis - Women's genitals were much more suspicious, not often portrayed - Sex and gender are conditioned by the society that you grow up in - Michel Foucault, an intellectual who talks extensively about the discourse of sexuality - Discourse: An entity of sequences and signs; societies norms and concepts about a particular topic - Sexuality is a historical construct, you must step back before you can analyse it properly - Sexual discourse in the ancient world is all about power, passive vs. active - A man is the active partner and a woman or a boy could be the passive participant - Love poems written to boys or girls are very similar to each other - Masculinity is associated with self control and denying excess - All the negative stuff, lust and lack of self control, are associated with the woman - Pederasty: A sexual relationship between an adult male and a teen boy - Pederastic seductions between men and boys (teenagers) have the erastes (adult lover) and the eromenos (young beloved) - Motif in the ancient world that you can love a boy until he grows a beard (because then he is a man) - Homosexuality is a modern concept, it is ideally between adult males - This can not happen in Greek society because one of them has to be passive in the sex act - Lesbianism is even more of a problem, one of them would have to be active, making them a bad woman and a threat to men - All the representations of pederasty in art and literature would be from the adult male perspective - There is only adultery when the man is with a married woman, he could have a boy lover before or during marriage although before would have been the ideal - Pederasty was meant to be more than a purely sexual relationship, a mentor relationship as well and a sexual initiation - It is hard to say exactly what would have happened because of translation bias and the audience of the poetry in antiquity - These practices would vary from polis to polis and from Greece to Rome - Epigram was a short poem inscribed on an object, evolved into a poetic style just on its own - Antiquity doesn't really have the novel, just poetic works - Women are conceived as dishonest and k
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