Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2005.10.23

Lockyer on Corbeill on Skinner.   Response to 2005.09.82



Response by Terrence Lockyer, Johannesburg, South Africa (lockyert@mweb.co.za)

In his review of Marilyn B.Skinner, Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture (Oxford : Blackwell 2005), Anthony Corbeill writes:

... Chapter 3 concentrates on one theme: the chronological shifts in the ways in which sexual desire is represented on vase painting ("Late Archaic Athens: More than Meets the Eye," 79-111). Most of the material falls between 575-450, with black-figure tending toward the comic or obscene, and red-figure toward the psychologically intense. The chapter considers in particular the orthodox depictions (and deviations therefrom) of male courting scenes, in which suitor and beloved are never coevals, the beloved is passive or resistant, and anal intercourse is not represented. ...

I have yet to consult Skinner directly, but the picture implied by the absolute negatives in Corbeill's review is, in fact, slightly complicated by the evidence (including a Tyrrhenian amphora attributed to the Guglielmi Painter, and apparently showing anal penetration of a bearded male by a beardless) discussed by Martin Kilmer, 'Painters and Pederasts: Ancient Art, Sexuality, and Social History', pp. 36-49 in Mark Golden and Peter Toohey (edd.), Inventing Ancient Culture: Historicism, periodization, and the ancient world (London and New York : Routledge 1997). A further example (again a Tyrrhenian amphora, again depicting anal penetration) is shown as illustration 5a-b in Thomas K. Hubbard (ed.), Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London : University of California Press 2003). There is also a red-figure kantharos signed by Nikosthenes as potter (ARV 132) showing various sexual behaviours, including what appears to be an attempt at anal intercourse by a young male with a male coeval.

[[For a response to this response by Marilyn Skinner, please see BMCR 2005.11.07.]]

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