Madeleine M. Henry
The prostitution of women (broadly defined here as the exchange of a female's sexual service, with or without her consent, for some other resource) may have arisen in Greece/Hellas out of contact with earlier Near Eastern manifestations both “sacred” and secular. The Greek terms porneion (“brothel”) and pornē (“whore”) are related to pernēmi (“to sell”), as is the Latin term meretrix (“courtesan”). The exchange of sexual service for the economic benefits conferred by marriage is remarked upon by Hesiod (
Works and Days
373–375). In both Hellas and Rome, prostitution was considered to be as necessary an institution as the institutions of marriage, concubinage (see
D. M. Halperin
Peter G. M. Brown
Anal sex with males and females, amply attested in Greece and Rome, was subject, especially for free males, to distinct normative and legal constraints that varied from place to place, changed over time, and did not always align with real-life behaviour but had basic elements in common. Since sexual attraction to both genders was considered normal, the main divisions concerned age, social status, and role: females and smooth males (boys 12–18) were desirable objects, hairy males (men) undesirable; the active partner was penetrative and thus masculine, the passive partner penetrated and thus female or effeminate, so that it was shameful and improper, slavish, and arguably unnatural for free males of any age to play the passive role whether for a price or voluntarily except in certain initiatory or military contexts institutionalized in some communities. No comparable sanctions applied to the active partner.
Greeks, Romans, and their neighbours have left multiple definitions of sexual norms; all differed radically from those of the modern West in taking puberty as the onset of sexual life and in incorporating slavery. Scholars have contested the degree to which modern sexual categories existed in antiquity (see
John R. Clarke
This article treats visual representations of sex between human beings, hypersexual humans and demigods, and phalli in terms of their meanings for ancient Greeks and Romans and their viewing contexts. Building on the research of scholars holding that contemporary concepts of sexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality have no bearing on ancient attitudes and can only lead to anachronistic judgements if applied to the ancient world, the aim is to combine the evidence of classical texts with that of visual representations to determine the meanings of so-called erotica for ancient viewers. Many portrayals deemed pornographic by modern standards constituted proper decoration, whether they appear in the frescoed interiors of Roman houses or on drinking vessels, mirrors, and gemstones. Artists also created hypersexual creatures such as pygmies, Priapus, and Hermaphroditus primarily as apotropaia; representations of the phallus and of phallic deities installed on the streets and in the shops of cities had a similar apotropaic function.
He wrote around twenty books, their subjects including a wide range of medical topics (e.g. On Hygiene, On Acute and Chronic Diseases), medical biography, commentaries and discussions of grammar and etymology. Those surviving in Greek are sections and fragments of On Signs of Fractures and On Bandages—these may both belong to the same lost work, On the Art of Surgery—and Gynaecology. The latter gives valuable information on *gynaecology and obstetrics in the Roman empire, and is divided into
Soranus shared the theoretical standpoint of the Methodists (see