Roman Sex: 100 B.C. to A.D. 250

Overview

Picture a world where good sex is a blessing of the gods, not a cause for guilt, and where acts often considered immoral, even illegal, by today's standards are instead celebrated. Such a world is no futurist's fantasy, but rather the reality of ancient Rome, 100 B.C. to A.D. 250.

In Roman Sex, a lavishly illustrated, contextual study of the erotic art of that era, historian John R. Clarke exposes previously hidden paintings, sculptures, and ceramics featuring such controversial...

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Overview

Picture a world where good sex is a blessing of the gods, not a cause for guilt, and where acts often considered immoral, even illegal, by today's standards are instead celebrated. Such a world is no futurist's fantasy, but rather the reality of ancient Rome, 100 B.C. to A.D. 250.

In Roman Sex, a lavishly illustrated, contextual study of the erotic art of that era, historian John R. Clarke exposes previously hidden paintings, sculptures, and ceramics featuring such controversial subject matter as group sex, lesbianism, and the phallus as talisman. He then uses these works to explain ancient Roman attitudes toward a range of societal issues. The beautifully reproduced art, all in color, hails from the entire Roman empire, including what is now Germany and France.

Fresh, accessible, and seriously fun, Roman Sex offers copious information about a culture that, though very different, was an important precursor of our own.


About the Author:
John R. Clarke is Annie Laurie Howard Regents Professor of Art History at the University of Texas at Austin and one of the foremost international authorities on ancient Rome. He is a recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, and the author of four books on the art and culture of ancient Rome.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When, in 1968, the men in Clark's Pompeii tour group were ushered into a locked, windowless room in the Naples Archaeological Museum, Clark did not realize that he would eventually become an authority on ancient Rome's sexual iconography. The room, which women were forbidden to enter until the '70s, houses sexually explicit paintings and statues: figures with huge erections; a terra-cotta lamp of a woman making love to a man while swinging iron hand weights; a woman's hand mirror featuring "passionate lovemaking" complete with "her favorite pet." Now an art history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Clark presents some of the pieces that have inspired his last 30-plus years of study. Colorful frescoes, metal objects or ceramics are shown in 114 illustrations (95 in color), divided among nine chapters explaining ancient societal attitudes toward sex ("Woman on Top: Women's Liberation in the First Century A.D"; "Laughing at Taboo Sex in the Suburban Baths"), while subheadings like "Priapus, Protection, and Penetration" offer scholarly and personal anecdotes. A number of the works are published for the first time here. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810942639
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/25/2003
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 8.75 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7
Introduction 11
Every Home Must Have One 17
Woman on Top: Women's Liberation in the First Century A.D. 37
Sex in Whorehouses, Sex on Stage 59
Gay Sex in Bi and Straight Company 77
The Opposite of Sex: How to Keep Away the Evil Eye 95
Laughing at Taboo Sex in the Suburban Baths 115
New Sexual Imagery from Roman France 135
Conclusion: Sex Before Puritan Guilt 157
Glossary 163
Further Reading 164
Index 165
List of Illustrations 167
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