Print this page Share

Sex: Vice and Love from Antiquity to Modernity

ISBN: 978-1-4443-2357-3
240 pages
January 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
Sex: Vice and Love from Antiquity to Modernity (1444323571) cover image


Sex: Vice and Love from Antiquity to Modernity examines the impact that sexual fantasies about the classical world have had on modern Western culture.
  •  Offers a wealth of information on sex in the Greek and Roman world
  • Correlates the study of classical sexuality with modern Western cultures
  • Identifies key influential themes in the evolution of erotic discourse from antiquity to modernity
  • Presents a serious and thought-provoking topic with great accessibility
See More

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Part I Roman Vice 1

1 Introduction 3

2 Naked Bodies 7

An Introduction (less than successful) to the Naked Body 7

The Naked Body in Greece 14

Naked Romans 21

The Love of Art and the Art of Love 28

3 Obscene Texts 34

Illustrating the Unspeakable 34

Talking Dirty 40

4 Erotic Rites 48

The Myth of the Orgy 48

Locating the Erotic in Roman Religion 55

5 Imperial Biography 65

The Private Lives of the Caesars 65

Explaining Roman Gossip Culture 79

Part II Greek Love 89

6 Introduction 91

What is 'Greek Love'? Scenes from a Courtroom I 92

7 Greece 97

The Loves of Hellas 97

The Platonic Vision 99

8 Rome and the West 109

Greece under Rome and Rome under Greece 109

Greek Love Burns Briefly, but Brightly 119

9 Renaissance and Enlightenment 124

Giving Birth in the Beautiful 124

The Pursuit of Love 135

10 Nineteenth Century and Beyond 143

Greek Love Triumphant 143

Sapphic Love 149

A Mixed Legacy: Greek Love in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries 159

11 Epilogue 164

Scenes from a Courtroom II 164

Notes and Further Reading 166

Bibliography 190

Index 205

See More

Author Information

Alastair J. L. Blanshard is a senior lecturer in Classics & Ancient History at the University of Sydney. He is the author of Hercules: A Heroic Life (2005).
See More


“The book is helpfully provocative and certainly helps to explain the enduring appeal of Grecece and Rome in contemporary (erotic) culture.”  (INTAMS review - Journal for the Study of Marriage & Spirituality, 18 January 2012)

"Recommended. Graduate students/faculty." (Choice, 1 March 2011)

"This book is enjoyable and informative . . . it would be of especial interest to students of reception studies and the history of sexuality, but there is also much material that is useful to the classical scholar". (Bmcreview, 26 April 2011)

"It is because of the personal narratives - as well as the sophistication, wit and learning of the whole enterprise - that this book is highly recommended reading." (Times Higher Education, 30 October 2010)

"This is a sharply witty and provocative guide to ancient sexual transgression - and to our modern fantasies, dreams and projections about Greek love and Roman orgies." Simon Goldhill, Cambridge University

“From George Washington unclad as a Roman prince, to the cult of Plato’s Symposium in nineteenth-century England, to cinematographic fantasies of Roman orgies, Alastair Blanshard explores how the Moderns became fascinated with classical sex, Roman vice and Greek love. Often ironic, never naive and always a pleasure, this book reveals the enduring appeal of Greece and Rome in our erotic culture.”
Giulia Sissa, University of California at Los Angeles

See More

Related Titles

More in this series

Back to Top