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Sex and Sexuality in Classical Athens

James Robson

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A broad look at the sex lives and sexual beliefs of the ancient Athenians

From courtship and marriage to adultery and prostitution, Sex and Sexuality in Classical Athens takes a broad look at the sex lives and sexual beliefs of ancient Athenians. Chapters such as ‘same-sex relationships’ and ‘sex and the law’ explore both ancient accounts of sexual behaviour and the different ways in which modern scholars have understood them. This book also contains a wide selection of original sources, providing direct access to the ancient evidence. Through engaging with ancient documents and modern debates, readers are encouraged to reach their own conclusions about the scholarly controversies that still rage about this fascinating area of Greek life.

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Contents

Series Editors’ Preface
Preface
List of Illustrations
Timeline
Part I Debates
Chapter One: Sexual Unions: Marriage and Domestic Life
Chapter Two: Same-Sex Relationships
Chapter Three: Prostitution
Chapter Four: Sex and the Law: Adultery and Rape
Chapter Five: Beauty, Sexual Attractiveness, Fantasy and Taboo
Part II Documents
Introduction
Illustrations
Further Reading
Glossary
Bibliography
Index.

About the Author

James Robson is Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at the Open University, where his teaching focuses on Greek and Latin language and the literature and social history of ancient Greece. His previous publications include Ctesias’ History of Persia: Tales of the Orient (Routledge, 2010: jointly with Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones); Aristophanes: An Introduction (shortlisted for the Anglo-Hellenic League’s Runciman Award; Duckworth, 2009) and Humour, Obscenity and Aristophanes (Narr, 2006). His research focuses on the Greek comic playwright, Aristophanes.

Reviews

Pleasure and desire are tricky, complicated subjects. James Robson should be applauded for his skill in navigating some of the knottiest problems in Athenian social history. His complete control of the scholarship and his eye for the telling detail ensure that the reader is rewarded on every page.

- Alastair Blanshard, University of Surrey
James Robson's book admirably illustrates the wonderful variety of ways in which sex and sexuality were conceived in the literature and artistic culture of classical Athens... I found it thorough and engaging in its approach, while clear enough to recommend to university undergraduates, those taking higher school classical civilization courses, and also those who, not coming from a classical background, wish to study the ancient historical evidence for aspects of society that are completely modern, but still excitingly controversial.
- Richard Hawley, Royal Holloway, University of London, The Anglo-Hellenic Review

Given the value placed on privacy, finding out about sex and sexuality in classical Athens seems difficult. Undaunted, James Robson sets out to discover "what led one individual to have sex (or want to have sex, or not want to have sex) with another", asking "Who? With whom? How come?" He deftly collects a vast range of evidence in answer to his nosy questions ... precisely because it is so detailed, his account is riveting ... readers will be inspired by this book to discover further sources, and learn even more about sex.

- Barbara Graziosi , THE

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