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hetairai  

Allison Glazebrook

Hetairai (“female companions,” sing. hetaira), according to Plutarch, is an Attic euphemism for women who were paid for sexual favours (Plu. Sol. 15.3; see prostitution, secular). The term first appears with modifiers (Hdt. 2.134.1, hetaires gynaikos “woman companion”; 2.135.5, epaphroditoi hetairai “especially attractive companions”—a word derived from Aphrodite; Metagenes, Aurai fr. 4 K–A, 411 bce, orchestridas hetairas, “entertainer companions”). Aristophanes (1) is the first to use the word without a modifier (Pax 439–440, produced 421 bce; Thesm. 346, produced 411 bce; but cf. Hymn. Hom. Merc. 31–32). The hetaira emerged as a feature of the status display of elite men in the archaic period in the context of the symposium (all-male drinking party) from which wives were excluded. Hetaira echoes hetairos (male companion) and suggests these women reclined and drank with the male symposiasts. Representations of the symposium on black-figure and red-figure vases portray women in such fashion (see sexual representation, visual).

Article

sex, anal  

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.

Article

cross-dressing  

Vassiliki Panoussi

Cross-dressing is the act of dressing in clothing considered appropriate for a different gender. The practice, ancient or modern, is studied alongside issues of gender identity and sexuality and falls into the purview of both gender studies and transgender studies. Ancient Greek and Roman examples of cross-dressing of male to female are many, whilst female to male are very few. Ancient attitudes to the practice vary: cross-dressing is socially permitted in the case of theatre actors who performed female roles dressed as women and as part of religious custom. Hostility and condemnation are also frequent in both Greek and Roman sources, as cross-dressing by men is also linked to effeminacy and homosexuality. The modern theoretical framework of transgender studies can help in the study of cross-dressing in Greece and Rome. In turn, ancient concepts associated with cross-dressing can shed light on modern concepts and practices.Cross-dressing is the act of dressing in clothing associated with members of the opposite gender. As a practice it is attested in all cultures throughout history, often disturbing established notions of what constitutes male and female .

Article

masturbation  

Kelly L. Wrenhaven

In ancient Greece and Rome, masturbation was viewed with good-humored disdain. Although it was not apparently subject to the same kinds of scathing attacks that Greek comedy makes on male same-sex activity, it was certainly connected with a lack of sophistication. In line with sexual subjects in general, references are found primarily in Greek comedy and sympotic art of the Archaic and Classical periods, where it is typically associated with barbarians, slaves, and satyrs, all of whom fall into the category of the “Other,” or the anti-ideal. All were deemed lacking in sophrosyne (“moderation”) and enkratia (“self-control”) and were associated with uncivilized behavior. The Greeks had a varied terminology for masturbation. The most commonly found verb is dephesthai (“to soften”), but several other words and euphemisms were used (e.g. cheirourgon, “self-stimulation”).1The comedies of Aristophanes (1) provide the majority of references to masturbation and largely associate it with slaves. The lengthiest reference is a joke that occurs near the beginning of Knights, when Slave B tells Slave A to masturbate in order to give himself courage.