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Controlling Desires: Sexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome

(Praeger Series on the Ancient World)

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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  10 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Historians of ancient Greece and Rome are sometimes hesitant to engage with the well-documented fact that Greek and Roman men regularly engaged in same-sex sexual relations with younger men. In a similar vein, scholars have constructed elaborate social explanations for Sappho, a 6th-century woman from the island of Lesbos who wrote passionate poetry about her erotic relati ...more
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published November 30th 2008 by Praeger
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Sam Grace
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone into Sexuality, Gender, or Classics - beginners welcome!
Don't be intimidated by the topic, this book is totally accessible and readable. Whether you are interested in the ancient world or just in better contextualizing contemporary ideas about sexuality, this book is great. He gives plenty of examples, and provides some endnotes to further reading, but it seems clear he intended for this book to be read by beginners as well as academics, and keeps the prose light and readable while walking you through concepts that will let you talk about this easily ...more
LDM
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Greek men viewed Persian men as suspiciously feminine, in part because Persian men wore pants." 5

"...Greeks and Romans thought of sexual roles differently than we do--that, in effect, their sexual universe was oriented on a different set of axes than ours is." 6

"The first point we must note about this debate [between a man with a strict preference for female-objects and a man with a strict preference for male-objects in Pseudo-Lucian's 'Erotes'], in any case, is clear: This is not an argument b
...more
Mike
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an extremely helpful academic book for understanding Ancient Greek and Roman sexuality time-period by time-period, genre/media-by genre/media. I probably should have written this review chapter-by-chapter, but let's see if I can remember the very basic main points of this 450-something page book.

As the title suggests, Ancient Greeks and Romans are very concerned with establishing self-control over all aspects of their lives, and this includes sex. A lack of self-control may be marked by
...more
miranda stephenson
Really interesting! I love how much can be learnt about the general culture, lifestyle, and popular figures of Ancient Greece and Rome, despite ostensibly viewing everything through the lens of sexuality. My favourite parts were the sections on the Ancient Greek lyric poets (some of whom obviously found misogyny irresistible...), the hilarious plays of Aristophanes, and the entire chapter on Emperor Nero:

'The beginning of the list of crimes deals almost exclusively with Nero's appearances on st
...more
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