Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents / Edition 1by Thomas K. Hubbard
Pub. Date: 05/12/2003
Publisher: University of California Press
The most important primary texts on homosexuality in ancient Greece and Rome are translated into modern, explicit English and collected together for the first time in this comprehensive sourcebook. Covering an extensive periodfrom the earliest Greek texts in the late seventh century b.c.e. to Greco-Roman texts of the third and fourth centuries c.e.the… See more details below
The most important primary texts on homosexuality in ancient Greece and Rome are translated into modern, explicit English and collected together for the first time in this comprehensive sourcebook. Covering an extensive periodfrom the earliest Greek texts in the late seventh century b.c.e. to Greco-Roman texts of the third and fourth centuries c.e.the volume includes well-known writings by Plato, Sappho, Aeschines, Catullus, and Juvenal, as well as less well known but highly relevant and intriguing texts such as graffiti, comic fragments, magical papyri, medical treatises, and selected artistic evidence. These fluently translated texts, together with Thomas K. Hubbard's valuable introductions, clearly show that there was in fact no more consensus about homosexuality in ancient Greece and Rome than there is today.
The material is organized by period and by genre, allowing readers to consider chronological developments in both Greece and Rome.
Individual texts each are presented with a short introduction contextualizing them by date and, where necessary, discussing their place within a larger work. Chapter introductions discuss questions of genre and the ideological significance of the texts, while Hubbard's general introduction to the volume addresses issues such as sexual orientation in antiquity, moral judgments, class and ideology, and lesbianism. With its broad, unexpurgated, and thoroughly informed presentation, this unique anthology gives an essential perspective on homosexuality in classical antiquity.
Table of Contents
1. Archaic Greek Lyric
2. Greek Historical Texts
3. Greek Comedy
4. Greek Oratory
5. Greek Philosophy
6. Hellenistic Poetry
7. Republican Rome
8. Augustan Rome
9. Later Greco-Roman Antiquity
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Thomas Hubbard has produced the most significant anthology about Greek and Roman homosexuality ever. I had wanted to do such a book twenty years ago, but I lacked the skill. A master of the Greek tongue, he found the best translations of texts often misunderstood or bowdlerized, and when he couldn¿t find any, he translated them himself or commissioned others to do so. He additionally placed extensive and erudite introductions along with very useful bibliographic notes at the beginning of each of chapter. Each chapter is well footnoted, and as Hubbard says in his preface, ¿The footnotes are geared to a general undergraduate audience that has little previous knowledge of classical civilization and may need explanation of basic cultural artifacts or historical references. The notes also include points of interpretation, which should interest both the general and the more knowledgeable reader.¿ He effectively demolished the absurdities of John Boswell and David Halperin, and criticized the less reprehensible but still erroneous theses of Dover and Foucault. True, Hubbard did not do much with lesbianism, but then it didn¿t appear often in the sources. His subtle but devastating attacks on social constructionists, extreme feminists, lesbiterians, and Socarides, the other (dying- off) old-time American Freudians, and the child abuse industry make his work not only intellectually unassailable but socially and legally relevant. It is the first of its kind and will not conceivably be surpassed. Reviewers and others may over time be able to add a few items or even quibble a bit with the translations offered. It is plausible, at the most, that a second edition may be needed in a decade or two.