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dextrarum iunctio


(Latin) This phrase “joining right hands” indicates an action or the artistic representation of that action that represents entering into a marriage under Roman law. A formal depiction of two women with joined right hands could reasonably be understood as indicating a marriage-like relationship.

LHMP entry

Homoeroticism cannot be identified in historic contexts without letting go of modern notions of what it would look like or what other relationships it would be compatible or incompatible with. There are few explicit images of sexual activity between women in Roman art. Brooten (1996) gives two examples of female homoeroticism, only one of which is sexual: a grave relief of two freedwomen clasping hands (dextrarum iunctio) in a manner normally used to symbolize marriage, and a wall painting from Pompeii that appears to show two women engaging in oral sex.

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