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Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean, 800 BCE–200 CE
Edited by Allison Glazebrook and Madeleine M. Henry

Wisconsin Studies in Classics
William Aylward, Nicholas D. Cahill, and Patricia A. Rosenmeyer, Series Editors

“By questioning the class-based polarity between courtesan (hetaira) and whore (porne) the authors substantially correct academic readings of the Greek prostitute as cultural construct, embedding them in gritty reality.”
—Marilyn Skinner, University of Arizona

Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean, 800 BCE–200 CE challenges the often-romanticized view of the prostitute as an urbane and liberated courtesan by examining the social and economic realities of the sex industry in Greco-Roman culture. Departing from the conventional focus on elite society, these essays consider the Greek prostitute as displaced foreigner, slave, and member of an urban underclass.

The contributors draw on a wide range of material and textual evidence to discuss portrayals of prostitutes on painted vases and in the literary tradition, their roles at symposia (Greek drinking parties), and their place in the everyday life of the polis. Reassessing many assumptions about the people who provided and purchased sexual services, this volume yields a new look at gender, sexuality, urbanism, and economy in the ancient Mediterranean world.

Clare Kelly Blazeby, Helene A. Coccagna, Sean Corner, Allison Glazebrook, Judith P. Hallett, Madeleine M. Henry, Konstantinos K. Kapparis, T. Davina McClain, Thomas A. J. McGinn, Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, and Nicholas K. Rauh


Allison Glazebrook

Allison Glazebrook is associate professor of classics at Brock University, Ontario, Canada.







Madeleine M. Henry

Madeleine M. Henry is professor of classical studies at Iowa State University and author of Menander’s Courtesans and the Greek Comic Tradition and Prisoner of History: Aspasia of Miletus and Her Biographical Tradition.









“Common prostitutes, such as those found in brothels, around harbors, and on the streets of ancient cities, have long been ignored in favor of their more glamorous counterpart, the hetaira. This volume for the first time puts the focus on the degradation, marginality, and exploitation inherent in the ancient sex trade through an exploration of the literary and artistic representation of prostitutes and the civic and domestic spaces they inhabited.”
—Laura K. McClure, coeditor of Prostitutes and Courtesans in the Ancient World



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A look on the ancient sex industry and Greek symposia.

January 2011
LC: 2010011575 HQ
360 pp.   6 x 9
14 b/w photos, 12 drawings

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Paper $26.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-23564-2
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