BMCR 2005.11.07

Response: Skinner on Lockyer on Corbeille on Skinner

Response to 2005.10.23

My thanks to Terrence Lockyer for clarifying a false impression given by Anthony Corbeill, surely inadvertently, in his recent review of Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture. For Attic vase painters, as Lockyer observes, iconographic restraints on depicting male homoerotic behaviors were not as categorical as Corbeill’s phrasing might imply; there are noteworthy exceptions to the rules.

On p. 90 of my book, I mention ABV 102/100, a Tyrrhenian amphora that appears to depict both age-reversal between partners and anal copulation. I suggest that either the early date of the vase or its specific production for the Etruscan market might explain those anomalies. (However, I did mistakenly refer to that vase as “unique” and will correct the error in future editions.) I then add, “The notion that Greek painters never dealt with particular homoerotic motifs . . . is wrong” and cite several vases (including ARV2 132) that show anal intercourse, courtship between coevals, or willing response on the part of the beloved. On the following page, the tondo of the Getty Museum kylix attributed to the Carpenter Painter (85.AE.25) is illustrated as an instance of a convention (the “frigid eromenos”) subverted for humorous effect.

The fact that certain artistic rules are in force makes their violation all the more meaningful. Further study of such violations would certainly be welcome.