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DegradationWhat the History of Obscenity Tells Us about Hate Speech$
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Kevin W. Saunders

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814741443

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814741443.001.0001

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(p.7) 2 Pornography, Life, and the Gods in the Greek and Roman Eras

(p.7) 2 Pornography, Life, and the Gods in the Greek and Roman Eras

(p.7) 2 Pornography, Life, and the Gods in the Greek and Roman Eras

Kevin W. Saunders

NYU Press

This chapter examines the history of how societies have treated sexual images by focusing on the classical period. It begins with an overview of art, sex, and religion in classical Greece and Rome before turning to an extended period, after the end of the classical era, in which public art became less sexual and sex and pornography came to be accompanied by a shame that was not present for the Greeks and Romans. It then explores what it was about the classical cultures that led to the wide acceptance of sex and sexual depictions. It shows how the Greeks and Romans became very accepting of sexual images, especially in drama and in the arts. It also discusses the sex life of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses and suggests that Greek and Roman culture was characterized by an accepted and open sexuality.

Keywords:   art, sex, religion, classical Greece, Rome, pornography, sexual images, drama, gods, goddesses, sexuality

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