Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sex in Pompeii

The ancient Greeks and Romans had a much more enlightened attitude toward sex than we do, as you can see from this Winged Phallic Symbol Statue, Dionysus Temple, Delos Island, Greece (300 BC). You won't find anything like this in a modern temple, whatever the religion. On Friday 10 May the British Museum in London presents Sex in Pompeii and Herculaneum, a lecture by exhibition curator Paul Roberts from 19.00 to 20.00. I quote: "Roman art contained overtly erotic images but also others with different relevance, encompassing humour, fertility and superstition. Images of phalluses, in particular, were everywhere in the cities – a lucky symbol to protect people, houses and businesses." The Museum regards the lecture as suitable for those over the age of 11. It's free, so booking is advisable (CLICK).

4 Comments:

At 28/4/13, Anonymous Andrea said...

We didn't learn anything like this in Latin classes at school.

 
At 28/4/13, Blogger Ian Cox said...

I'll bet!

 
At 29/4/13, Anonymous Kris said...

Is there any interpretation of that sculpture's meaning? Where was it excavated? It seems to go against the accepted Ancient Greek sculpture style of penis representation - basically small with a long prepuce.

It has been said that any display of a real glans was considered not only unaesthetic - but socially unacceptable. Apparently there was a thriving industry in foreskin extension. Immigrants from cultures with mandatory circumcision found foreskin restoration useful for acceptance in Greek society.

See:
THE BULLETIN OF THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE, Volume 75: Pages 375–405, Fall 2001.
http://www.cirp.org/library/history/hodges2/

 
At 29/4/13, Blogger Ian Cox said...

Hi, Kris

Wow! That is one serious academic paper you linked to. Most of the ancient Greek vases depicting male nudes I've seen have been rather pointed in the penile department. I've always assumed that this was the artistic fashion in those days.

The picture I posted is described as a "statue", so I assume it was rather large, although I found no dimensions with it. It looks as though the sculptor went for realism, rather than fashion, apart from the wings. It was found in a Temple, which suggests it was an object of worship.

All I found with it was the title. I don't have any more details about it. Sorry about that. The paper you linked to has aroused my curiosity about its meaning.

 

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