Thursday, October 6, 2011

Levin-Richardson on Graffiti in Pompeii's 'Purpose-Built' Brothel

Via Project Muse,
Sarah Levin-Richardson, Facilis hic futuit: Graffiti and Masculinity in Pompeii's 'Purpose-Built' Brothel, Helios 38.1.

Long overlooked by scholarship as obscene recordings of sexual encounters, the 135 graffiti of the 'purpose-built' brothel at Pompeii (VII 12 18-20; CIL IV 2173-96 and 3101a; Add. 215-6 and Add. 465) form a rich corpus that illuminates daily interactions among clients and prostitutes in the Roman world. In this paper, I demonstrate through these graffiti the multiple ways in which male clients, individually and collectively, negotiated male sexuality. Specifically, I analyze how male clients both created a hierarchy among themselves and solidified communal, normative masculinity in opposition to nonnormative males and marginalized females.