Western Civilization 1
Prior to Ancient Greece, human sexuality was not something that was typically shown openly. Human sexuality was first openly shown in the art work of Ancient Greece. Nudity as well as sexual relations has been a huge part of their culture and heritage. Unlike the European society, the Ancient Greeks being more open showed that they cared about their sexuality more than the other societies had. In the article "Women and Boys in Classical Athens," written by James Davidson, various sexual relations that had earlier existed in the Ancient Greek society are described. The Athenian goal was moderation, the ability to control and superintend ones pleasures and desires. In his studies Davidson forces the interpretations that sees “the reign of the phallus” in an Athens dominated by homosexuality. The men at this time were known for being “real penetrators”, they conveyed power through their sexual domination. For the others such as submissive men (boys), women and slaves were conquered and helpless. Davidson strongly believed that Athens people were mainly heterosexual and that impassive sexual partners actually enjoyed penetration. Compared to Sparta is seemed like Athens cared more about sexual pleasure then that of Sparta which was war and fighting.
From the reading Davidson talked about Athens during the classical period and how prostitution was separated into many different categories which were based on the characteristics of the prostitutes in the trade. These categories stretched from the lowly observed prostitutes to the courtesans who provided services to the nobility. The lower placed were discussed to as the pornai. Pornai were those who were in the lowest group of the social “ladder” since these prostitutes came from slaves. The prostitutes included girls who had no fathers or were reckless or their fathers had gotten up and left. These girls were active in the red districts brothels in classical Athens. This was to offer sexual services to males in return for money. Why pornai was known to be the lowest form of prostitution is because the women were property of the pimps. This means that the money that they earned from their trade went to their purported owners. “Pimping” in classical Greek period was considered an earning professional career, just like that of a tax collector. The classical Greek society measured prostitution as an important measure in the society to help cover disloyalty and, so, the trade was carried flexibly and was made legitimate by the administrators.
The Independent prostitution was the next stage. These women managed to earn some type of freedom. The independent prostitutes also included free women who could not secure employment or those who lost their husbands and had no other source of income. The independent prostitutes traded their bodies in the street to anything who could manage to pay for them. The main alteration between the independent and pornai prostitutes was that the independent reserved all their incomes after taxes, while the pornai’s incomes went to their titleholders. This group was also comprehensive in their trade than the pornai in that they had to willingly display their bodies in open areas. The payments charged for their services hinge on what their client were willing to pay. Most of the time it was based on the age, so the younger the prostitutes the higher the price. The highest category of prostitutes in the classical Greek society, were those women who did not only provide the sexual services, but also were company for their clients. They were known as the great megalomishthoi. Which were women who lived in upper level institutions in which they could invite whatever “lover” they sought to see over to their home at that time. These women were wealthy and famous, and most likely had plays written about them or speeches written on their behalf (pg 84). These women were well educated and new how to...
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