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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Sex and the Ancient City

Instructor(s): Jackie Murray, Classics

What do we know about the sexual culture of ancient city dwellers? Do modern representations of sex in ancient cities bear any resemblance to the cultural and historical reality? What fantasies did the ancients themselves construct about sex in their cities, and do these fantasies cohere with our fantasies about them? Students will examine the sexual culture of the ancient Greeks, Graeco-Roman Egyptians and Romans through the study of texts, material remains and art. Our discussions will focus on the various ways that sexuality and sexual experiences were constructed in the three major cities of the ancient Mediterranean world: Athens, Alexandria and Rome. Students will consider what sexuality has to do with knowledge and power in these ancient cities. We will pay particular attention to the way the construction of each city's sexual culture informs the construction of its cultural identity through time.

Course Offered