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date: 24 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Writers in ancient Rome devoted considerable energy to the investigation of gender, revealing a deep interest in the nature of masculinity and femininity as well as in a third category that they labelled the characteristically non-committal term neutrum (‘neither’). The time these writers spent considering grammatical gender is remarkable: Nonius Marcellus devotes in modern editions seventy pages of his treatise on Latin grammar and vocabulary to the subject. ‘Gender Studies’ among contemporary classicists has decidedly different origins and approaches from its ancient counterpart. Recent studies of Roman rhetoric and oratory demonstrate some of the repercussions of the underlying principle that ‘speaking style mirrors life style’. The notion that the very language is masculine provides an interesting lens through which to view gender criticism in Latin poetry. The relationships of dominance and submission observable in poetic and prose texts are often accompanied by both verbal and physical violence. This article also discusses the construction of sexuality in art and archaeology during the Roman Empire, along with gender and law, ritual, and medicine.

Keywords: Gender Studies, Roman Empire, gender, masculinity, femininity, Latin poetry, sexuality, art, archaeology, law

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