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  1. Courtesans & fishcakes : the consuming passions of classical Athens

    Davidson, James N.
    Hammersmith, London : HarperCollins, 1997.

    The luxury of the ancient world is legendary, but the Athenian reputation is sober because this wealthy, successful city-state spent all its money on the conspicuous consumption of ephemeral things. Their consuming passions for food, wine and sex drove their society, as well as generating the rich web of privilege, transgression, guilt and taboo for which they are remembered today. Using pamphlets, comic satires, forensic speeches - from authors as illustrious as Plato and as ignored as Philaenis - as source material - this study combines a traditional classicist's rigour with an appreciation of the new analytical techniques pioneered in gender and cultural studies to provide an alternative view of ancient Athenian culture and to bring its reality into a focus easier on the modern eye.

  2. Courtesans & fishcakes : the consuming passions of classical Athens

    Davidson, James N.
    First U.S. edition. - New York : St. Martin's Press, [1998]

    Crammed with intriguing details, this illuminating appraisal of vice and excess in the cradle of democracy delivers a fascinating and engagingly written study of the hedonism that ruled Athens. of photos.

  3. The Greeks and Greek love : a radical reappraisal of homosexuality in ancient Greece

    Davidson, James N.
    London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007.

    Though the issue of Greek homosexuality has been the subject of extensive research and debate in recent years, Kenneth Dover's 1978 GREEK HOMOSEXUALITY remains the most recent single-volume treatment of the subject as a whole. Drawing on fifteen years of ensuing research, James Davidson rejects Dover's excessively theoretical approach, using a wide variety of sources unknown to him - court cases, romantic novels, satirical plays and poems - to present a view of the subject that, in contrast to Dover and to Foucault, stresses the humanity of the ancient Greeks, and how they lived their loves and pleasures, rather than their moral codes and the theorising of philosophers. Homosexuality in Ancient Greece remains a central area of debate in the classics, in ancient history and lesbian and gay studies. Greek civilisation centrally underpins our own, providing a basis of so much of the west's culture and philosophy, yet the Greeks were more tolerant of homosexuality than virtually any other culture, certainly than the western civilisations that followed. The extent to which Greek attitudes to sexuality and in particular their privileging of 'Greek Love' were comparable and different to our own underlies the continuing debate over the formation of sexuality (is it natural or cultural?) as well as, both then and in our own time, the much wider question of the roles of nature and nurture in the formation of human behaviour and personality.

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