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CLA2060 - Eros and the Body: sexuality and body politics in the Classical world

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr Evangelina Anagnostou-Laoutides


Not offered in 2007


This subject will provide students with an introduction to the literary and cultural representation of gender and sexuality in Greece and Rome. Through an examination of prescribed texts and visual material, the unit will analyse the body and erotic desire in the Classical world. It will look at erotic poetry, the cultural context of medical literature, the eroticisation of the Hellenistic novel, the rhetorical and political use of gender politics, and the culture of corporeal abnegation fostered by the early Christian church. Specific focus will also be given to literary and iconographic representation of the suffering body as a site/sight of entertainment and deterrent.


  1. a knowledge of the historical and cultural background to the erotic literature and iconography of ancient Greece and Rome
  2. an in-depth knowledge of the prescribed selection of 'authentic' texts, and a context-based understanding of them
  3. a general knowledge and understanding of the themes and issues that are generated in the texts studied
  4. a detailed knowledge and understanding of the reception of body image and sexuality in a cultural, political and didactic context within the societies of Ancient Greece and Rome
  5. knowledge of the literary qualities/character of the received (written) text and awareness of issues of translation and textual authority
  6. the ability to discriminate between evidence, interpretation, opinion and fact in secondary sources


Class paper (500 words): 10%;
Research Essay (2500 words): 55%;
Take-home examination (1500 words):45

Contact hours

1 x 1 hour lecture and 1x 1.5 hour tutorial