@Download E-pub ì Controlling Desires: Sexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome ß eBook or Kindle ePUB free

@Download E-pub ì Controlling Desires: Sexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome ë Historians of ancient Greece and Rome are sometimes hesitant to engage with the well documented fact that Greek and Roman men regularly engaged in same sex sexual relations with younger men In a similar vein, scholars have constructed elaborate social explanations for Sappho, a th century woman from the island of Lesbos who wrote passionate poetry about her erotic relations with a number of women, in order to avoid her apparent sexual orientation On the other hand, in recent times the Greeks and Romans have occasionally been idealized as prototypes of modern homosexuality or bisexuality In this engaging, cross disciplinary book, Ormand argues that the Greeks and Romans thought of sex and sexuality in ways fundamentally different from our own Ormand s exploration of Greek and Roman sexual practice allows readers the opportunity to see how attitudes and beliefs about sex sexuality, in short functioned in the early civilizations of the West, and how those attitudes reveal the unspoken rules that defined public and private behaviorOrmand treats Greece and Rome in separate sections, with ample cross references and comparisons Within each section, individual chapters focus on different types of texts and visual arts Just as sexuality is presented differently in our legal cases than it is on television sitcoms, or supermarket tabloids, the reader will naturally find that the Greeks and Romans talk one way about sex, love, and marriage in legal speeches and another way in comedies, satires, and philosophical texts Ormand s analysis takes into account changes in attitude over time, as well as different modes of presenting a complex and interconnected set of social beliefs and behaviors Don t be intimidated by the topic, this book is totally accessible and readable Whether you are interested in the ancient world or just in better contextualizing contemporary ideas about sexuality, this book is great He gives plenty of examples, and provides some endnotes to further reading, but it seems clear he intended for this book to be read by beginners as well as academics, and keeps the prose light and readable while walking you through concepts that will let you talk about this easily Don t be intimidated by the topic, this book is totally accessible and readable Whether you are interested in the ancient world or just in better contextualizing contemporary ideas about sexuality, this book is great He gives plenty of examples, and provides some endnotes to further reading, but it seems clear he intended for this book to be read by beginners as well as academics, and keeps the prose light and readable while walking you through concepts that will let you talk about this easily with experts Greek men viewed Persian men as suspiciously feminine, in part because Persian men wore pants 5 Greeks and Romans thought of sexual roles differently than we do that, in effect, their sexual universe was oriented on a different set of axes than ours is 6 The first point we must note about this debate between a man with a strict preference for female objects and a man with a strict preference for male objects in Pseudo Lucian s Erotes , in any case, is clear This is not an argument b Greek men viewed Persian men as suspiciously feminine, in part because Persian men wore pants 5 Greeks and Romans thought of sexual roles differently than we do that, in effect, their sexual universe was oriented on a different set of axes than ours is 6 The first point we must note about this debate between a man with a strict preference for female objects and a man with a strict preference for male objects in Pseudo Lucian s Erotes , in any case, is clear This is not an argument between a normal heterosexual and a less normal homosexual about whose kind of sex is better rather, it is a disagreement between two men who are both odd in their strongly held preference for one kind of perfectly acceptable sex over the other The grounds of the debate are simply not those that would occur in our day 8 9 Charicles never suggests that feeling this sort of desire for a male sexual object is unnatural or unlikely rather, his argument thus far is simply that although we all feel such desires, we would do better not to act on them because they do not lead to the survival of the species 9 Herethat which is shameful and truly deviant is for a man to enjoy being penetrated Penetrating, whether the object is a boy or woman, is presumed pleasurable 10 T he ancient Greeks are not concerned with homosexuality per se What they are concerned with is a notion of masculinity that requires a man to be the active, penetrating partner in sex To be a man not a boy who desires to be penetrated is, then, the deviant position For women, the opposite is true Women are assumed to be passive by nature, and the deviant woman is not deviant because she desires women, but because she desires to take on the active, penetrating role in sex Thus for the Greeks, sexuality is closely bound to their understanding of gender roles 13 N either the Greeks nor the Romans have a word, or seem to have a category, for individuals who prefer sex with one gender rather than the other 14 Unfortunately, what the reader must realize is that the translators of those texts disparaging socially deviant sexual behavior are translating Greek and Roman sexual terms into terms from our own culture, and that in the process, a certain amount of distortion takes place The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of these insults and jokes are directed against men who wish to be penetrated in sex or women who are active in sex, playing the part of the man Very rarely, a man will be criticized for penetrating a boy, and if he is, it is generally not in terms that suggest that such action is in itself wrong rather, he is criticized for damaging a wellborn citizen boy, or for failing to keep his desires in proper check, orfor engaging in nonprocreative sex None of these insults, then, are attacks on homosexuality itself 19 I conclude this chapter, then, by asking the crucial question, is Sappho a lesbian, in the modern sense of the word The answer can only be ambivalent, and that ambivalence marks the divide between our modern erotics and that of the archaic Greeks If by lesbian we mean simply that Sappho is a woman who loves women, and that her expression of desire for those women provides evidence of a less hierarchical,mutual form of desire than that expressed by male poets, the answer is yes But we still have very little evidence that Sappho s desire for women was thought of as a different kind of desire than that of men for women, or women for men, or men for young men And there is no solid evidence that Sappho or other women from Lesbos were thought of as belonging to a particular sexual type Sappho may have a sexual orientation, but to the ancients, her poetry does not seem to have suggested a sexual identity or sexual morphology 44 Adultery with a married woman was, in Athens, a serious crime In fact, if an adulterer was caught in the act, the husband had the right, if he acted immediately and without forethought, to kill the adulterer Whether the husband killed the adulterer on the spot, or brought him to court, however, the Athenian laws on adultery deal rather differently than do modern laws when it came to the wife A husband who knew that his wife had committed adultery was required by law to divorce her Failure to do so amounted to an admission that she was not his wife, but a prostitute, and that the husband was running a brothel 87 The Greeks did not define men s sexual desire by the gender of the love object that is, a man could love women or boys with equal legal, moral, and social approval What he could not do, morally and socially, was desire to be penetrated once he became an adult Legally, there were no restrictions on homoerotic behavior per se, anythan on heteroerotic behavior, though considerable legal protections existed to keep citizen boys futures as active adult males intact, just as legal protections prevented men from having sex with citizen women who were unmarried or married to another man And most importantly, it does not seem that the Greeks though of people who preferred one kind of sex over another as types of people 126 7 It is true that Roman law did not allow for the Greek practice of pederasty, in which an older citizen man would cultivate a sexual relationship with a citizen boy The reason for this, however, is not that the Romans disapproved of sexual relations with boys rather, they disapproved muchstrictly than did the Greeks of sexual relations with citizen boys, which they viewed on par with sexual relations with unmarried citizen women 133 Gender in Rome, then, wasthan a question of biological sex it was also a question of citizen status Only citizen men were fully men when it came to sex, and others were relegated to an inferior position Such a notion of gender was also reflected in the language that was used to talk about males who were penetrated by viri such a man was said to pati muliebria, literally, to suffer womanly things When it came to sex, then, Rome consisted of two kinds of participants men and everyone else non men Obviously, within the group of non men, there were significant differences a rich citizen woman was not subject to the same kinds of sexual abuse and availability as was a slave boy But from the point of view of a desiring man, the important thing was that everyone else belonged to this inferior gender class and that he did not 135 To be sure, Nero s sexual adventures are an essential part of the narrative of his excess It is far from clear, however, that the Romans of the first century CE found Nero s sexual behavior as the most problematic aspect of his character I would argue, in fact, that the Romans were muchconcerned with Nero s love of Greece and his interest in appearing on the public stage 229 I n virtually all Greek and Roman literature before the popularity of the novel , the presence of eros, erotic desire, generally signals trouble for the protagonists Erotic desire was considered an overwhelming force, one that led to foolish, sometimes risky behavior, and one that resulted, as often as not, in humiliation or death In the novels, by contrast, eros, at least that experience by the hero and heroine, becomes a positive force, one that leads to a celebration of their mutual love for one another 263 T here is evidence that the Christian tradition introduced two strong breaks in the history of sexuality first, Christian teachings supported the idea that desire in itself was sinful, potentially damaging to the one desiring and in need of being rooted out from one s very soul Second, Christian doctrines opposed to same sex sexual activity resulted, eventually, in serious criticism of, and legal punishments for, even the penetrating partner in male homoerotic activity 266 This is an extremely helpful academic book for understanding Ancient Greek and Roman sexuality time period by time period, genre media by genre media I probably should have written this review chapter by chapter, but let s see if I can remember the very basic main points of this 450 something page book As the title suggests, Ancient Greeks and Romans are very concerned with establishing self control over all aspects of their lives, and this includes sex A lack of self control may be marked by This is an extremely helpful academic book for understanding Ancient Greek and Roman sexuality time period by time period, genre media by genre media I probably should have written this review chapter by chapter, but let s see if I can remember the very basic main points of this 450 something page book As the title suggests, Ancient Greeks and Romans are very concerned with establishing self control over all aspects of their lives, and this includes sex A lack of self control may be marked by too much sex or the wrong kind of sex, but nobody really cares all that much about the sex itself it s all about the lack of self control the sex REPRESENTS.The axis of ancient sexuality isor less penetrator penetratee, and it doesn t matter what gender the penetratee is as opposed to modern sexuality for which gender is the main category.Greek or rather Athenian sexuality caters to elite men, but elite men were once elite boys, who would provide so long as they don t TALK about it sexual favors for elite men, but weren t supposed to enjoy it Then, when they become elite men, it s perfectly expected that the cycle continues Roman sexuality is never sex between equals Roman elite men can penetrate literally anyone who is NOT a citizen, in whatever way they want, and that s fine For Roman elite men to be penetrated is seen by society at large as demeaning, but gender in general is not the issue I really found interesting one of the later points about the Greek novel, where there s a giant shift from the idea of Eros as a source of Major Trouble to a positive force that keeps young people in love together but virginal, because of their valorous self control through all manner of difficulty e.g., pirates until they can make it home and get parental permission to get married Overall, this is an excellent book, and I will doubtless come back to specific chapters as necessary