The Priapus Poems: Erotic Epigrams from Ancient Rome

Front Cover
University of Illinois Press, 1999 - Literary Criticism - 147 pages
0 Reviews
Unmistakable by virtue of his exaggerated phallus, Priapus-one of Rome's minor fertility gods-inspired a host of epigrammatic poems that offer one of the best primary sources for the study of ancient sexuality. Despite their apparent frivolity, the Priapus poems raise basic questions of class and gender, censorship, and the nature of obscenity. The god's self-conscious indecency placed him squarely in the realm of comedy, but his role as guardian of fertility also gave him a deep religious significance. Richard Hooper's introduction explores this important duality, and places the poems in their historical context. Essentially graffiti clothed in the refined forms of classical poetry, The Priapus Poems offers the reader a trip to Coney Island in a Rolls Royce. Hooper's lively translation makes these playful poems available for the first time to the nonspecialist in an appealing, elegant, and readable version. This edition includes the original Latin texts as well as a commentary on classical references and textual problems.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages


Translation and Latin Text
Horace Satires I8
Tibullus I4
Corpus Inscriptionum Lotinarum I43565
Catullus Fragment 2 Ellis

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (1999)

Hooper received his PhD in classical philosophy from Yale University. He is chairman of the history department at St. Luke's School in New Canaan, CT.

Bibliographic information