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Hetaerae

(740 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Elke (Berlin)
[German version] A. Definition Literally translated, the Greek term ἑταίρα ( hetaíra) means ‘female companion’. It was first used by Herodotus (2,134,1) to describe a Thracian woman named Rhodopis, who was sexually available to men and thus became rich. In scholarly research, hetaerae were therefore often identified with prostitutes, with a comment that their being named ‘female companions’ was euphemistic. Davidson [1], on the other hand, stresses that, on the evidence of the sources, friendship was the basis of a relationship between a man and a hetaíra. In ancient texts, the hetaír…

Rape

(1,016 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Elke (Berlin)
[German version] I. Concept In modern usage, rape denotes violent, forcible sexual intercourse which is declined by the person forced. A corresponding ancient term does not exist. The Greek and Roman terminology for describing the offence of rape only partially indicates the violence associated with the act (e.g. βιάζεσθαι/ biázesthai, Latin violare: to use violence; ἁρπαγή/ harpagḗ, Latin rapina: robbery); it is not uncommon for the violent aspect to be obscured; sometimes the degradation associated with the rape of the victim is indicated (διαφθείρειν/ diaphtheírein: corrupt;…

Prostitution

(1,794 words)

Author(s): Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Hartmann, Elke (Berlin)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East The relatively few mentions of prostitution in the Ancient Near East, differing in context as in time and place, are too sparse to provide an internally consistent picture of the phenomenon. Prostitution had an accepted place in the societies of the Ancient Near East. An instance from the OT is the prostitute Rahab, who conceals Joshua's spies in her house (Josh. 2). The story presupposes that, in spite of her profession, she was no outcast, but continued to be a member of her family group. For Mesopotamia a series of descriptive terms for prostit…

Alexandrinism

(1,818 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Elke (Berlin) | Hartmann, Jana (Gießen RWG)
Hartmann, Elke (Berlin) A. Philosophy (CT) [German version] 1. Ancient Basis of the Term (CT) As a term in the history of philosophy Alexandrinism describes a direction of Aristotelianism informed by the writings of the most significant ancient Aristotelian commentator, Alexander of Aphrodisias. By removing inconsistencies in the works of Aristotle, Alexander endeavoured (around AD 200 ) to present a naturalistic base position. His doctrine of the threefold nous had particularly far-reaching influence: he distinguishes 1. the physikós nous, which primarily describes the nóesis…

Homosexuality

(1,752 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Elke (Berlin)
[German version] I. Definition The term homosexuality describing physical love directed towards a partner of the same sex is not ancient. It fails to describe typical ancient sexual life in that it asserts an individual characteristic. Sexual behaviour was, however, determined in antiquity less by individual inclinations than by social status as free or non-free, young or old, man or woman. The idea that sexuality related to a single sex was to a large extent alien to antiquity. In particular social circumstances, women as well as men could pursue their erotic interests in both sexes. Har…

Paederasty

(591 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Elke (Berlin)
(παιδεραστία/ paiderastía). [German version] A. Definition Paederasty was a form of homosexuality practiced in Greece among men of a certain age. A 12 to 18 year old 'youth' (παῖς/ paîs) would be the 'beloved' (ἐρώμενος/ erṓmenos) of a man older than 30, the 'lover' (ἐραστής/ erastḗs), who would also educate him. Modern scholars asses the sexual and pedagogic aspects of paederasty variously; they explain it alternatively as a pedagogically embellished sexual relationship or as an erotically tinged education, focusing on teaching martial competency and the virtue  (ἀρετή/ aretḗ) of …

Pallake

(328 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Elke (Berlin)
[German version] (παλλακή; pallakḗ). The word pallakḗ (Epic παλλακίς/ pallakís) has the basic meaning  “girl”. In Homer a woman living with an already married man, who has come into the house as a prisoner of war or a slave, is called a pallakís (Hom. Il. 9,449; 9,452; Hom. Od. 14,199ff.; cf. 4,10ff.). By the 5th cent. BC, Herodotus is using the term pallakḗ in the sense of “concubine” (cf. e.g. Hdt. 1,84,3; 1,136,1). In the 5th and 4th cents. BC a pallakḗ was a woman who, without a formal marriage agreement, lived permanently with a married or unmarried man; monogamous …

Sexuality

(1,634 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Elke (Berlin)
[German version] I. Definition The term sexuality - derived from the Latin sexus '(male and female) gender' - is not an ancient one. It has been in use since the end of the 18th cent. in order to describe the sexual nature of organisms; in the modern sense, it stands for human sexual life in its biological, psychological and social aspects. Recent historical investigations of sexuality reject the view of human sexuality as a biologically determined, historically invariant instinctive behaviour; in line with…

Olisbos

(69 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Elke (Berlin)
[German version] (ὄλισβος; ólisbos). Artificial phallus made of leather (Suda s.v. ὄλισβος). Late archaic vase images depict hetaerae who presumably are handling one or more olisboi for sexual stimulation. Aristophanes (Aristoph. Lys. 109f.) indicates that an olisbos could also be used by women to satisfy themselves. Eroticism; Sexuality Hartmann, Elke (Berlin) Bibliography 1 M.F. Kilmer, Greek Erotica, 1993, 98-102 2 A.M. Oikonomides, Kollix, olisbos, olisbokollix, in: Horos 4, 1986, 168-178.