In this Book

Prostitutes and Courtesans in the Ancient World
summary

    Prostitutes and Courtesans in the Ancient World explores the implications of sex-for-pay across a broad span of time, from ancient Mesopotamia to the early Christian period. In ancient times, although they were socially marginal, prostitutes connected with almost every aspect of daily life. They sat in brothels and walked the streets; they paid taxes and set up dedications in religious sanctuaries; they appeared as characters—sometimes admirable, sometimes despicable—on the comic stage and in the law courts; they lived lavishly, consorting with famous poets and politicians; and they participated in otherwise all-male banquets and drinking parties, where they aroused jealousy among their anxious lovers.

    The chapters in this volume examine a wide variety of genres and sources, from legal and religious tracts to the genres of lyric poetry, love elegy, and comic drama to the graffiti scrawled on the walls of ancient Pompeii. These essays reflect the variety and vitality of the debates engendered by the last three decades of research by confronting the ambiguous terms for prostitution in ancient languages, the difficulty of distinguishing the prostitute from the woman who is merely promiscuous or adulterous, the question of whether sacred or temple prostitution actually existed in the ancient Near East and Greece, and the political and social implications of literary representations of prostitutes and courtesans.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. vii
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  1. Abbreviations and Transliteration
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 3-18
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  1. Prostitution and the Sacred
  2. p. 19
  1. Marriage, Divorce, and the Prostitute in Ancient Mesopotamia
  2. pp. 21-39
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  1. Prostitution in the Social World and the Religious Rhetoric of Ancient Israel
  2. pp. 40-58
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  1. Heavenly Bodies: Monuments to Prostitutes in Greek Sanctuaries
  2. pp. 59-76
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  1. Sacred Prostitution in the First Person
  2. pp. 77-92
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  1. Legal and Moral Discourses on Prostitution
  2. p. 93
  1. Free and Unfree Sexual Work: An Economic Analysis of Athenian Prostitution
  2. pp. 95-124
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  1. The Bad Girls of Athens: The Image and Function of Hetairai in Judicial Oratory
  2. pp. 125-138
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  1. The Psychology of Prostitution in Aeschines’ Speech against Timarchus
  2. pp. 139-160
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  1. Zoning Shame in the Roman City
  2. pp. 161-176
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  1. The Politics of Prostitution: Clodia, Cicero, and Social Order in the Late Roman Republic
  2. pp. 177-185
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  1. Matrona and Whore: Clothing and Definition in Roman Antiquity
  2. pp. 186-204
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  1. Prostitution, Comedy, and Public Performance
  2. p. 205
  1. Priestess and Courtesan: The Ambivalence of Female Leadership in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata
  2. pp. 207-223
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  1. A Courtesan’s Choreography: Female Liberty and Male Anxiety at the Roman Dinner Party
  2. pp. 224-251
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  1. Infamous Performers: Comic Actors and Female Prostitutes in Rome
  2. pp. 252-273
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  1. The Phallic Lesbian: Philosophy, Comedy, and SocialInversion in Lucian’s Dialogues of the Courtesans
  2. pp. 274-291
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 295-327
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 329-331
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 333-352
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  1. Index Locorum
  2. pp. 353-360
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