Ancient Rome and the Construction of Modern Homosexual Identities
Much has been written about the contribution of ancient Greece to modern discourses of homosexuality, but Rome's significant rôle has been largely overlooked. Ancient Rome and the Construction of Modern Homosexual Identities explores the contested history of responses to Roman antiquity, covering areas such as literature, the visual arts, popular culture, scholarship, and pornography. Essays by scholars working across a number of disciplines analyse the demonization of Rome and attempts to write it out of the history of homosexuality by early activists such as John Addington Symonds, who believed that Rome had corrupted ideal (and idealized) 'Greek love' through its decadence and sexual licentiousness. The volume's contributors also investigate the identification with Rome by men and women who have sought an alternative ancestry for their desires. The volume asks what it means to look to Rome instead of Greece, theorizes the way in which Rome itself appropriates Greece, and explores the consequences of such appropriations and identifications, both ancient and modern. From learned discussions of lesbian cunnilingus in Renaissance commentaries on Martial and Juvenal, to disgust at the sexual excesses of the emperors, to the use of Rome by the early sexologists, to modern pornographic films that linger on the bodies of gladiators and slaves, Rome has been central to homosexual desires and experiences. By interrogating the desires that create engagements with the classical past, the volume illuminates both classical reception and the history of sexuality.
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aesthetic ancient Greece ancient Rome Antinoüs antiquity beauty Ben-Hur Blanshard Bohn’s Burdett/Goddard 1941 Burton Calderino Catullus chapter Christian classical commentary contemporary context culture cunnilingus depictions discussion edition Elagabalus Ellis Ellis’s emperor Encolpius English epigrams erotic essay example female film gender genre Giton Gordianus Greece Greek love Grieux Hellenic heterosexual homo homoerotic homoeroticism ideal identity Ingleheart Juvenal Juventius Kingston Lacy Kupffer Latin lesbian literature lover male male–male Marius Martial masculine Matzner Mayer misogyny modern moral nineteenth century novel obscenity oral sex Orpheus Orrells Ovid Ovid’s Ovidian passage Pater pederastic Petronius Philaenis Plato poem poet poetry Pompeii pornographic published queer readers reception reference relationship Renaissance role Roman homosexuality Rome’s same-sex desire Sappho scene scholars scholarship sex between women sexology Sexual Inversion Shelley’s slave sodomy suggests Symonds Symonds’s Teleny Teleny’s tradition translation tribade Ulrichs Ulrichs’s Uranian Victorian Vidal volume Warren Wilde’s Williams Winckelmann