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This subject examines gender and sexuality in the classical world. Students will engage with ancient primary texts in translation (including texts authored by women) and material culture in order to say anything definite about the ‘real’ lives of women in Greece and Rome. The subject also explores how ancient men expressed their ideology about femininity and masculinity through their literature and art. Topics include representations of gender and sexual desire in Homer, Sappho, Greek drama, Hellenistic poetry, Roman poetry, and the lives of early Christian female saints; gendered spaces in ancient domestic architecture and material culture; the prosopography of elite Roman women; the social and legal history of marriage, adultery, divorce, and prostitution in Greece and Rome; and same-sex relationships, including Greek pederasty, and debates on whether same-sex marriage existed in imperial Rome and medieval Europe. Students should complete the subject with an understanding of the complex approaches to a ‘history of women’ and a ‘history of sexuality’ in an ancient context.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject should:
- Appreciate the culture and social history of classical Greece and Rome through the lens of gender and sexuality;
- Be familiar with core primary texts from the ancient world, including literary "classics" and well-known archaeological sites;
- Be able to explain modern theoretical approaches to the study of ancient gender and sexuality
Last updated: 3 November 2022