Rome, Homosexuality, and Reception
The Introduction discusses the way in which responses to Roman homosexuality have been overlooked by scholars interested in the formation of modern homosexual identities and proposes that the neglect of Rome in classical reception and the history of sexuality is largely a consequence of the idealization of Greek homosexuality as spiritual and desexualized by early homosexual activists. It analyses the history of the reception of Greek ‘virtue’ and Roman ‘vice’ from Edward Gibbon, Jeremy Bentham, and Percy Bysshe Shelley, to George Cecil Ives and Edward Carpenter. The Introduction suggests that Rome has provided an alternative and more flexible model than Greece for those seeking an ancestor for their desires and identities and interrogates cultural connections between modern homosexual identities and Roman sexual mores. It argues that Rome provides fertile ground for those with a queer historical impulse.
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