Bisexuality in the Ancient World

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2002 - Social Science - 286 pages
In this readable and thought-provoking history of bisexuality in the classical age, Eva Cantarella draws on the full range of sources--from legal texts, inscriptions, and medical documents to poetry and philosophical literature--to reconstruct and compare the bisexual cultures of Athens and Rome.
Reviews of the earlier edition:
"Cantarella presents the ancient evidence in a straightforward fashion, draws insightful comparisons between heterosexuality and homosexuality, and elucidates the larger cultural context of erotic experience. With its wide scope the book speaks to the classicist, the layman with an interest in antiquity, the student of sexuality, and even to the unabashed seeker of piquant anecdotes."
--John F. Makowski, Classical Journal
"An important study that is destined to take its place next to the classic works of Foucault and Pomeroy."--Alan Mendelson, History: Reviews of New Books
"Offers a valuable, close-in reassessment of intricate evidence, freshly researched, readable, and open-minded."--Alan Sinfield, Gay Times
"This is a book I recommend for all students of sexology."--Milton Diamond, Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality
"Easily the best book on the topic."--John Buckler, Historian

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AlexTheHunn - LibraryThing

Cantarella shows the structures of sexuality in Ancient Rome and Greece and how those cultures accepted sexuality other than heterosexuality, as long as it conformed to societal constraints. Read full review

Review: Bisexuality in the Ancient World

User Review  - Nicoletta - Goodreads

Probably the most comprehensive and detailed essay I could find about how ancient Greeks and Romans viewed same-sex relationships, and in relation to that, women. The author knows what she's talking about and it shows, with a lot of examples and quotes. Definitely a must-read for this subject. Read full review


The Beginnings the Greek Dark Age and the Archaic
The Classical Age
Erotic Manifestations
Plato 58 Xenophone 63 Aristotle 65 Plutarch
Love Between Women 78 Women and Male Homosexuality
The Archaic Period and the Republic
Subjecting a Roman 104
Catullus Tibullus Propertius Lucretius Virgil
The Empire
The Metamorphoses of Sexual Ethics in the Ancient

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About the author (2002)

Eva Cantarella is professor in the Institute of Roman Law at the University of Milan. Cormac O'Cuilleanain is lecturer in Italian at Trinity College, Dublin.

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