Skip to content Skip to navigation


Blog entry

Serendipity has once again set up a series of related entries on this blog. When sorting through the recent journal article haul from the Journal of the History of Sexuality, this one jumped out at me as relating to the topic of classical Greek romance novels. I think it reads well as a pairing with the summary of the Babyloniaka from last week. Gorman takes a complex look at the various messages--both intentional and inadvertent--sent by using the Greek romance as a template for early Christian "adventure stories" um...that is...apocrypha.

With the help of several online friends (yay twitter!) I tracked down various versions of this text in time to discuss in in my podcast on women loving women in classical Rome, so it only made sense to add it to my occasional series of LHMP entries with primary sources. I can't say that I was happy to find that the evidence in the story for women's same-sex marriage in ancient Egypt was not quite as solid as some authors (like Brooten) imply.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 27d - Woman Plus Woman in Classical Rome - transcript

(Originally aired 2018/10/27 - listen here)


Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 28a - On the Shelf for November 2018 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2018/11/03 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for November 2018.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 28b - Interview with Elizabeth Tammi

(Originally aired 2018/11/10 - listen here)

A series of interviews with authors of historically-based fiction featuring queer women.

In this episode we talk about

This brings us near the conclusion of my mini-series on classical Roman sexuality and the bits and scraps it tells us about relationships between women. (Although I think I'll add another of my occasional primary source entries, with Iamblichos' Babylonaika and it's story of Berenike and Mesopotamia.) If you like the challenge of trying to reconstruct possible social systems from fragments, then there's both enough material to work from and enough empty canvas to paint on.

I think it isn't a big secret that I have issues with the "strong Foucaultian" position, that is, that sexuality is never an "inherent" characteristic but that sexual identity is entirely shaped by how a particular culture structures sexual categories and their meanings. But conversely, I'm quite convinced of the "weak Foucaultian" position that individuals will tend to channel and understand their inherent emotions and responses through the lens of the prototypes that society offers them.

As I hinted in last month's On the Shelf podcast and will be announcing officially in tomorrow's episode, The Lesbian Historic Motif Project and Podcast will be repeating this year's exciting audio fiction series in 2019! Please publicize this to anyone you think might be interested in submitting. There's a lot of buzz out there from readers who are hungry for f/f historical fiction. I'd like to do my part to give readers what they're clamoring for.

Past-me wrote a promissory note for this introduction. Present-me needs to get in to the office and wants to get the blog up. So you'll have to be satisfied with the book summary itself.

Since I'm beginning a series of publications relating to classical Rome, it only makes sense to begin with a book that reviews the vocabulary of sex in Latin. It isn't a work that is of particularly direct use for the topic of love or sex between women, as the author gives away his attitude toward the topic with words like "abnormal." But especially given how difficult it is to extract reliable information about female homoeroticism from the surviving Latin texts, the need to understand Roman attitudes toward sex in general is unavoidable.


Subscribe to LHMP