Picture a world where good sex is a blessing of the gods, not a cause for guilt, and where acts often considered immoral, even illegal by our standards are instead celebrated. Such a world is no futurist's fantasy but rather the reality of ancient Rome, 100 BC to 250 AD. In "Roman Sex", an illustrated, contextual study of the erotic art of that era, historian John R. Clarke exposes paintings, sculptures and ceramics featuring such controversial subject matter as group sex, lesbianism and the phallus as talisman. He then uses these works to explain ancient Roman attitudes towards a range of societal issues.
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John R. Clarke is Annie Laurie Howard Regents Professor of Art History, at the University of Texas at Austin. He is one of the foremost international authorities on ancient Rome.From Publishers Weekly:
When, in 1968, the men in Clark's Pompeii tour group were ushered into a locked, windowless room in the Naples Archaeological Museum, Clark did not realize that he would eventually become an authority on ancient Rome's sexual iconography. The room, which women were forbidden to enter until the '70s, houses sexually explicit paintings and statues: figures with huge erections; a terra-cotta lamp of a woman making love to a man while swinging iron hand weights; a woman's hand mirror featuring "passionate lovemaking" complete with "her favorite pet." Now an art history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Clark presents some of the pieces that have inspired his last 30-plus years of study. Colorful frescoes, metal objects or ceramics are shown in 114 illustrations (95 in color), divided among nine chapters explaining ancient societal attitudes toward sex ("Woman on Top: Women's Liberation in the First Century A.D"; "Laughing at Taboo Sex in the Suburban Baths"), while subheadings like "Priapus, Protection, and Penetration" offer scholarly and personal anecdotes. A number of the works are published for the first time here.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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