Category: Ancient Rome

Book Review: A Curious History of Sex

A Curious History of Sex written by Kate Listner is an amazingly well researched book with both humor and horror. Listner approaches the topic of sex as not just the act but the social and cultural influences around it. The book also delves into the historical evolution on the perspectives of not just sex but sexuality and pleasure. In fact, “The history of how cultures have interpreted, punished, and rewarded sex, sexuality and pleasure” may have been a more apt title, if not a bit long winded. As Listner rattles off different facts and theories you really realize how strong of a fear of sex, in all its facets, there is. The need to control this perfectly natural human/animal function. She brings across the plains of the need to be young and virile, to those that made it a point of taking away any pleasure a woman might have. the book goes in a direction that does not hide these horrors. At times the book brings the reader to a place of pity. Pity for those that have suffered because of the need to control people. It has always been plain to see that cis-women have suffered and have been regulated due to the fear that they can control cis-men by sex. That they are sirens and if they are not controlled they will have all the power and society will crumble. Here you also see how cis-men and LGBTQI+ have suffered. She also debunks some fairly well established myths.

Ryht-on Point

Rhytons are a glass drinking vessel that extends beyond the Roman Empire and the location. There are several styles, but at its core a rhyton is shaped like a horn and has animal motifs. A horn is by no means a unique design for a drinking vessel as drinking horns go back to neolithic times, and then up through Roman times, the Norse culture, and up to the Middle Ages. A curious quirk about some is that they have an opening at the tip of the horn. This allows for drinking from the bottom (see the picture below). This could be a more time specific feature but it appears in finds from not only Ancient Rome but Paratha, Syria, and Malta as well. Their purpose is, Were they used for ceremonies, festivals, or just for drinking. With the opening at the bottom, what seems to be a Roman feature/influence, the drinker was logically prohibited from neglecting their drink. However, being that it was Rome, some speculate that a servant (likely a slave) would have to stand nearby with their finger over the hole.

Roman Jewelry Part III: Chains

The single loop-in-loop chain is one of the oldest chain styles. Some of the oldest examples date back to 3,000 BCE from the burials at Ur. The simple loop-in-loop style stayed static until around the time of the Hellenistic period. During this time the Greeks and Etruscans expanded on the single loop-in-loop to create a double loop-in-loop, pinched loop-in-loop, two- way double loop-in-loop, three-way double loop-in-loop, “S” Link, woven loop, and other variants. The chains found from this time often have something elaborate about them, either a clasp or a pendant. Here are some examples:

Roman Jewelry Part II: Favored Materials & Styles

The Romans, not unlike their predecessors, favored certain gems and metals over others. They also shaped gems and did do some intricate gold work, which paled in comparison to predecessors. As for gems, the winners are listed below in no particular order.

Roman Jewelry Part I: Introduction & Overview

Based on the class: All About That Bling

The Roman Look Part III: Accessories

Part three is all about the number one way to up your game: Accessories.

The Roman Look Part II: Hairstyles & Cosmetics

Part II brings into play hairstyles and cosmetics second and how to up your look through the use of it.

The Roman Look Part I: Roman Clothing

This is the first part of a three part series on how to get the Roman (woman’s) look (pardon the cis language). Part I focuses on basic female Roman garb (the gap-sleeved tunica – one of the simplest pieces to make). Part II looks at how to up your style through the use of cosmetics and simple hair styles (with a focus on inexpensive and modern alternatives). Part three will focus on accessories, which are a game changer.

The essence of this three part series is to provide multiple ways to get the Roman look by using what is available, feasible, and accessible. This is an offshoot of “Quick, Cheap, & Easy Roman.”

Roman Classes: U of Atlantia

University of Atlantia ・ June 12th, 2021

The Erotic Imagery of Rome

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A Peak At The Fascinum

The fascinum (or phallus or Divine Penis) was a cult like object. It was used to ward off evil (the evil eye) and for protection, versus something sexual as one may think. It was celebrated, worshiped, and its likeness was used in celebrations. It has been found depicted on rings, pendants, wind chimes, and buildings (often thought to be brothels but more likely to protect the residents of the home). Carvings were also found in places of possible danger such as on street corners and bridges. They were also placed on the front of carriages and possibly worn by soldiers for presumably the same reason. Rings and pendants were worn by boys (sometimes even bestowed on them at birth) to protect their health and virility. Overall, the fascinum, when worn especially, was believed to be a powerful form of apotropaic magic. Given its prevalence it was obviously an important part of Roman society. It can be surmised that the reason it has been omitted from modern literature is due to its modern taboo nature. Luckily its importance and meaning can be found in cultural, religious, and archaeological finds. So, if you’re worried about the evil eye…

The Images of Pompeii

The images of Pompeii have given us an unprecedented glimpse into the past. When Mount Vesuvius erupted and devastated the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, time froze. And while there is always the possibility, and likelihood, of artistic license, these images provide us with a well preserved glimpse into how they inhabitants dressed, their habits, beliefs, social environment, and status.

Roman Supplies, etc.

A list I’m continually adding to for the Roman persona.

Courtesan/Sex-Worker Recommended Reading:

Books

Berg, R., & Neudecker, R. (2018). THE ROMAN COURTESAN: ARCHEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS OF A LITERARY TOPOS (Vol. 46). Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae. https://www.irfrome.org

Ancient Rome: Resources

*Be aware that the exact meaning of some Latin words can be problematic at times. Transliteration can be difficult especially when the names of colors and garments were sometimes used to describe a position, job, social status/class, etc. Please derive and revise your conclusions with as much evidence as possible.

Roman Age Mummy Portraits

Also known as the Fayum Mummy Portraits.

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