Article

Sexuality

Rebecca Flemming

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199211524
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199211524.013.0051

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Sexuality

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Roman sexuality is only just emerging from the scholarly shadows. As the sexual domain became a valid, and increasingly vital, subject of historical enquiry, it was classical Greece that was selected to speak for the ancient world, and to challenge modern assumptions about the constitution, organisation, and valorisation of sexual desire, activity, and identity; with considerable, though certainly not uncontested, success. In the pursuit of radical difference from the present, past divisions were elided, and Rome's sexual patterns were subsumed within a classical paradigm of distinctly Greek construction. They are now breaking free, however, and more recent scholarship has been concerned, quite precisely, with demarcating and exploring definitively Roman sexual territories. This article explores the most recurrent themes to emerge from the recent scholarship on Roman sexuality. It discusses the sharp division, and clear double standard, between men and women as sexual subjects; the Roman sexual order; and Musonius's views about the ongoing conundrum concerning women, sexuality, and subjectivity.

Keywords: Rome; sexuality; sexual desire; sexual subjects; sexual order; Musonius; women; subjectivity

Article.  8716 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical History ; Gender and Sexuality

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