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date: 25 September 2022



  • Laura McClure


Gender, the social construction of sexual difference, was central to how the Greeks and Romans understood themselves and explained their world. Classical texts and visual media, almost exclusively created by men, articulate gender norms based on biological sex, representing them as critical to the construction and maintenance of social and political hierarchies. At the same time, they explore the rupture of these categories through gender-fluid figures that challenge the boundaries of anatomical sex and social categories, like the gynaecocratic warrior women, the Amazons; or the Galli, the castrated male followers of the goddess Cybele; and the ambiguously sexed hermaphrodites. The blind seer Teiresias transforms from a man into a woman and back again, experiencing two sexualities in the process (Ov. Met. 3.314). The woman Caenis requests to be turned into a man after her brutal rape by the god Apollo, so that she might never be sexually violated again (Ov.


  • Gender Studies

Updated in this version

Text and bibliography updated to reflect current scholarship. Keywords added.

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