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Suzanne Dixon

The Roman word for mother (mater) is reflected in such words as materfamilias and matrona, a respectable wife (Cic.Top. 14; Gell.NA 18. 6. 8–9). The legendary ‘first’ Roman divorce was of a virtuous wife unable to bear children and thus fulfil the formal purpose of *marriage (Gell. NA 17. 21. 44; 4. 3. 2). The promotion of citizen marriage and procreation (see childbirth) by the legislation of the emperor *Augustus included some honorific awards for mothers (Prop. 4. 11. 61; Inst. lust. 4. 18. 4; Gai. Inst. 3. 44–53; see ius liberorum).Roman ideal mothers tended to be praised for instilling the foundations of traditional morality and rhetorical skills, with the emphasis on the mother's influence on the education of her adolescent or young adult son. Where modern ideologies stress the intensive relationship of the (biological) mother with her infant and very young child and idealize maternal nurture and patience, Roman authors praised the moral severity and hardheadedness of the ideal mother's guidance (Tac.


Munichia (1) (or Munychia), mod. Kastella, is a steep hill to the north-east of *Piraeus which rises to a height of 86 m. (282 ft.). Directly below is Munichia Port and to the south-east Zea Port. In 510 bce*Hippias (1) began fortifying the hill, intending to make it his seat of government (Ath. pol. 19. 2). The SW slope saw fighting in 403 when *Thrasybulus defeated the *Thirty Tyrants (Xen.Hell. 2. 4. 10–19). The theatre of Dionysus on its NW flank was used for dramatic festivals, *deme assemblies, and in 411 and 404 for political rallies. Munichia played an important strategic role throughout Athenian history, notably during the Macedonian occupation (322–229) when by garrisoning it the enemy were able to control both Athens and Piraeus. Its most prominent shrines were those of *Artemis Munichia (see Munichia (2)) and *Bendis.


Alan Douglas Edward Cameron

Nossis (fl. c. 300 bce), Greek poetess from Epizephyrian Locri (see locri epizephyrii), author of a dozen epigrams from *Meleager(2)'s Garland in the Greek *anthology, mostly inscriptions for votive offerings and works of art. She compares herself to Sappho (Anth. Pal. 7. 718), and 5. 170 implies that she also wrote love poetry.


M. T. Griffin

Pamphila of *Epidaurus, a scholar and anecdotal historian under *Nero. Her chief work, Ἱστορικὰ ὑπομνήματα, ‘Historical Notes’, of which *Diogenes (6) Laertius and Aulus *Gellius preserve ten fragments from the original thirty-three books, was a varia historia, according to *Photius. It may have been summarized by *Favorinus.


Antony Spawforth

Phaleron, the harbour (epineion) of Athens as late as 490 bce (Hdt. 6. 116); offering little shelter, it was thereafter soon displaced by *Piraeus. The site is uncertain—probably at the low hill of Agios Georgios in mod. Old Phaleron. In late Archaic times the settlement was large, to judge from its quota of nine seats on the Cleisthenic *boulē; to it probably belonged an 8th–6th-cent.



Richard Seaford

Phallus, an image of the penis, often as erect, to be found in various contexts, in particular (a) in certain rituals associated with fertility, notably Dionysiac *processions (see dionysus): see e.g. Ar. Ach.243 on the Attic rural Dionysia (see attic cults and myths), *Semos in Ath. 622b-c on groups of ‘ithyphallics’ and ‘phallus-bearers’, *Varro in Aug. Civ. 7. 21 ‘for the success of seeds’ at the Liberalia (see liber pater);(b) as a sacred object revealed in the Dionysiac *mysteries, as in the Villa of the Mysteries fresco at *Pompeii; *Iamblichus (2) (Myst. 1. 11) mentions it as a symbol of secret doctrine;(c) in the costume of comedy (see comedy (greek), old), *satyric drama, and various low theatrical genres; *Aristotle (Poet. 1449a11) says that comedy originated in phallic songs;(d) on permanent display, often as part of a statue such as those of *Priapus or the *herms identified with *Hermes;(e) as apotropaic: e.



Melissa Funke

Phryne, a Boeotian hetaira, was active in Athens in the mid-to-late 4th century bce. Said to have been born in Thespiae (Ath. 13.591c) and originally named Mnesarete, she took the name Phryne from a nickname given due to her sallow complexion (Plut. De Pyth. or. 401b). Along with several other famous hetairai of the time, she is mentioned in several comedies produced at Athens during her lifetime (Anaxilas Nottis fr. 22; Timocles Orestautocleides fr. 27, and Neaira fr. 25). Narratives about her life associating her with prominent artists and philosophers from 4th-century Athens first became popular in Hellenistic collections of anecdotes influenced by Middle and New Comedy and then featured prominently in Imperial Greek literature. While most scholars acknowledge that Phryne was a real woman living in 4th-century Athens, the majority of the sources on her are Hellenistic and Imperial Greek, casting doubt on the historicity of the biographical details they preserve.


Helen King

Pornography can be understood as the explicit representation of sexual activity, in images or in writing; however, many scholars would argue that neither representing sexual activity, nor obscenity, necessarily constitutes pornography. Recent theorists have defined it more specifically as material which presents people—particularly women—as mute, available, and subordinate sexual objects, often shown in a context of violence. In its most extreme form, pornography theory argues that all representation produced by men in patriarchal societies is, by very definition, pornographic. A further element to be considered is the intention of the writer or artist; is the material created deliberately to violate a taboo? In early modern Europe, pornography was often used for political or anticlerical subversion.In antiquity the rare term pornographos is used in a far more limited sense than any of these, to mean a writer about, or a painter of, whores (see prostitution, secular). It first appears in *Athenaeus (1) 13.


Lindsay Watson

Priape(i)a are poems about the phallic god *Priapus, addressed to him, spoken by him, or invoking him. The genre is well represented in Hellenistic and later *epigram, but the range of topics is limited. It was enriched and developed by the Romans, whose Priap (i)a are distinguished from Greek exemplars by their focus on the god's aggressive, anally-fixated, sexuality, by the absence of any discernible religious sentiment, and by the almost invariable treatment of Priapus as a figure of fun. There are notable specimens by *Horace (Sat. 1. 8), *Tibullus (1. 4), and *Martial, and in the *Appendix Vergiliana. The main Latin material is assembled in the corpus of eighty poems known as the Carmina Priapea or Corpus Priapeorum, believed by most recent authorities to be the work of one poet, who has been dated to the Augustan period, to ce 100, and various points in between. The collection is distinguished by its extreme obscenity, genuine wit, fierce mockery of the ridiculous or grotesque, clever use of verbal borrowings and *parody, amusing tension between the sophistication of the literary form and the crudity of the subject-matter, and elegant variations on a number of recurrent themes.


Sigrid Schottenius Cullhed

Faltonia Betitia Proba (fl. late 4th century) was a Roman poet, writer of a Christian cento (Lat. for patchwork), which circulated in the Eastern and Western Empire toward the end of the 4th century. The work consists of 694 verses culled from Virgil’s Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid, narrating episodes from Genesis, Exodus, and the four Gospels. The narrative sections are interspersed with proems, interludes, and epilogues pervaded by a confessional and devotional theme. The declared intention of the poet is to relate the “mysteries of Virgil” (arcana . . . vatis, v.12) and to show that Virgil “sang about the pious feats of Christ” (Vergilium cecinisse . . . pia munera Christi v. 23). This makes Proba one of the first Roman poets to have actively appropriated Virgil as a Christian prophet.There are over a hundred manuscripts containing Proba’s cento, the oldest of which date back to the 8th century, and a large number of early modern editions. Thanks to Giovanni Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris (1374), Proba became important in the querelle des femmes as an example of an educated woman.


Thomas A.J. McGinn

The task of defining terms such as prostitution, prostitute, and courtesan presents significant challenges, especially insofar as the relevant Greek and Latin terminology can both inform and mislead. The evidence for Greece, here above all Athens in the 5th and 4th centuries bce, and Rome, with the main focus on the period from c. 200 bce to c. 235 ce, suggests that both societies broadly tolerated the sale of sex, though not in an entirely unqualified way. Attitudes toward practitioners were typically more negative. While neither the Athenians nor the Romans banned prostitution outright in the periods under discussion, they outlawed or at least regulated certain aspects of its practice. Legal rules tended to focus on questions of status, usually to the disfavour of prostitutes and pimps. In terms of scale, prostitution can have occupied but a small place in the economies of Greece and Rome, which were overwhelmingly agricultural in nature. To all appearances, however, it was widespread, freely available, and an important object of investment as well as a source of profit for members of the upper classes, meaning that it seems to have constituted an important aspect of the service sector.


D. M. Halperin

Male prostitution was a common feature of ancient Greek and Roman societies, and to many ancient city-dwellers it was an unremarkable fact of social life. Male brothels, consisting of individual cabins (oikēmata: Aeschin. In Tim. 74, Diog. Laert. 2. 31, 105), were a familiar sight. Clients were chiefly male. Athens collected a tax from the earnings of both male and female prostitutes (pornikon telos: Aeschin. In Tim. 119), so male prostitution was evidently permissible, but in the case of Athenian citizens it entailed, at least by the 4th cent. bce, civic disqualification or disenfranchisement (atimia or ‘loss of honour/status’): any male who sold his body to others for sexual use disqualified himself by that very act from taking part in public life (speaking in the Assembly, serving as a magistrate, or bringing a lawsuit, for example). Prostitution on the part of citizen males at Athens during the classical period was possible, then, only if the prostitute had reached the age of majority and was his own master. Any parent or guardian who prostituted a boy still under his authority, any person who enticed an Athenian youth into prostitution by offering him money for sexual services, and anyone who acted as a procurer for an Athenian youth was considered to have ‘defrauded him of the City’ and incurred serious penalties as a consequence (including death, in the case of procurers). An indictment for prostitution (graphē hetairēseōs), however, was not a prosecution for the crime of prostitution but an action designed to indict the defendant as a prostitute, to make him a non-person in social terms, and thereby to bar him from the exercise of civic rights; any male who did exercise those rights after having been so indicted could be put to death.


Nicholas Purcell

Pudicitia, the personification at Rome of women's *chastity and modesty, interestingly identified originally as specific to patrician women until the cult of Pudicitia Patricia in the *forum Boarium was challenged (296 bce) by one Virginia, a patrician lady married to a plebeian consul (Livy 10. 23. 6–10), who established a cult of Pudicitia Plebeia in part of her home. The cult was also exclusive of all but women who had married only once. *Livy laments the decline in moral standards of participants in the cult by his time.


Peter G. M. Brown

(d. 77 bce, according to Jerome), author of fabulae togatae (some 25 lines and twelve titles survive) and epigrams (one hexameter survives). Praised in antiquity for his character-drawing and reproduction of female speech.

See togata.



Sharon James

Only the rape of citizens was taken seriously by law. Sexual assaults on non-citizens were lesser matters. Rape of enslaved persons, a daily reality, was a crime only if committed by someone other than their owner. Rape of citizen males damaged their reputations; rape of citizen females could render them ineligible for marriage. Ancient myth features almost countless stories of rape, usually of human females by divine males. These tales were common subjects in ancient art and literature. Overwhelmingly, the victims are unmarried girls, who may suffer brutal treatment afterward and frequently bear miraculous offspring, some of whom establish cities (e.g., Romulus and Remus). Rape by human men is rarer in myth; rape of a wife causes massive militarized response (e.g., Helen of Troy, Lucretia). War-rape and post-war rape were standard practice around the Mediterranean.

Rape in antiquity was a matter of social and civic class. As a crime, it was understood as happening only to citizens: sexual assault of non-citizens was not a concern of law. The law took rape of citizens very seriously. Rape of citizen girls and women was a violation against the men who were responsible for them—father, husband, brother, guardian—but female victims would have experienced it as a personal violation first, rather than damage to their guardian’s ownership of their sexuality.


Jeffrey Henderson

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.

Anal sex with both males and females, amply attested in Greece and Rome, was subject, especially for free males, to 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.


Amy Richlin

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 homosexuality); both Greeks and Romans divided sexual behaviour into active/passive as well as (some say, and not) homosexual/heterosexual. The normative role for adult males was penetrative (‘active’); penetrated (‘passive’) partners were normally women, and boys aged 12 to 17. The legitimacy of pederasty, however, varied both within cultures according to class and between cultures. Sex or love between women is relatively rarely attested outside archaic Greece, appearing elsewhere mainly in invective; there are some graffiti and love charms. Texts generally convey the experience of penetrators, and evaluate passivity negatively, at worst (oral) as contaminating; the experience of the passive has to be reconstructed, and passive adult males were reviled in most cultures, possibly excepting Mesopotamia.


Marilyn B. Skinner

The basic dominance-submission model of sexual relations, involving a hierarchical distinction between the active and passive roles, was the same in Greek and Roman cultures and remained unchanged throughout classical antiquity. However, we find subtle modifications reflected in the literary tradition from the Homeric age to imperial Rome. In Homer and Hesiod, heterosexual relations are the only recognized form of sexual congress, and consensual sex is mutually pleasurable. Forced sex, in the form of abduction and rape, also occurs in epic narrative. Pederasty became a literary theme in Greek lyric poetry of the archaic age. In classical Athens, discourses of sexuality were tied to political ideology, because self-control was a civic virtue enabling the free adult male householder to manage his estate correctly and serve the city-state in war and peace. Tragedy illustrates the dire impact of unbridled erōs, while comedy mocks those who trespass against moderation or violate gender norms, and forensic oratory seeks to disqualify such offenders from participating in government. Philosophical schools disagreed over the proper place of erōs in a virtuous life.


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.


Under *Trajan and *Hadrian (ce 98–138), studied at *Alexandria (1) and practised at Rome.

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

(1) the midwife, female anatomy and conception;

(2)*childbirth and the care of the newborn;

(3)*pathology and diet;

(4)*surgery and drugs (see pharmacology ).

Soranus shared the theoretical standpoint of the Methodists (see medicine , § 5.3), but his version of Methodism was less schematic in its classification of diseases, giving more space for individual variation between patients.