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Look Inside Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome

Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome

  • Date Published: November 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521123600


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About the Authors
  • The relationships between Roman emperors and their objects of desire, male and female, are well attested. The salacious nature of this evidence means that it is often omitted from mainstream historical inquiry. Yet that is to underestimate the importance of 'gossip' and the act of thinking about an emperor's private life. In this book Dr Vout takes the reader from Rome, and Martial's and Statius' poems about Domitian's favourite eunuch, to Antioch and dialogues in praise of Lucius Verus' mistress, to the widespread visual commemoration and cult of Hadrian's young male lover, Antinous. She explores not the relationships themselves but rather the implications of their description. Such description provides a template with which to examine the relationship between emperor and subject, gods and mortals, East and West, centre and periphery. It thus contributes to the fields of imperial representation, court society and the imperial cult.

    • Adopts an interdisciplinary approach combining detailed analysis of visual and literary evidence
    • Contributes as much to an understanding of gender and sexuality in antiquity and the present as it does to Roman imperial history
    • Will appeal to those interested in the Roman Empire, Roman religion, Greek and Roman literature and gender and sexuality
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… her lively account shows how residents of the empire gained a sense of collective identity … by sharing jokes, gossip and fantasy about the emperor's sex life.' The Times Literary Supplement

    Review of the hardback: '… Caroline Vout represents the latest iteration of 1980s-style gender studies which started in classical scholarship with Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality. Reading eclectically across imperial historiography, epigram, satire and sculpture, Vout seeks to explain the role played by the erotic imagination in the maintenance of imperial rule.' The Times Literary Supplement

    Review of the hardback: 'This exemplary work not only transcends the 'chronicles of Roman debauchery' so characteristic of coffee table books and semi-popular works, but paints an enlightened and subtle picture of Roman society at so many different levels of perception and interaction.' Dr Mark Merrony, Minerva

    Review of the hardback: '… Vout is to be congratulated on making a very readable, accessible and enjoyable book.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    '… represent[s] an increasingly popular alternative emphasis in the study of ancient art. … sure to do much to shift the parameters of Roman 'art history' even further and to enrich its discussion.' Art History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521123600
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The erotics of imperium
    2. Romancing the stone: the story of Hadrian and Antinous
    3. Compromising traditions: the case of Nero and Sporus
    4. A match made in heaven: Earinus and the emperor
    5. Mistress as metaphor: a dialogue with Panthea
    6. And so to bed...

  • Author

    Caroline Vout, University of Cambridge

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