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Images of Ancient Greek Pederasty: Boys were their Gods Hardcover – June 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0415223676 ISBN-10: 0415223679 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415223679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415223676
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,954,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This extremely likable and well-presented book … will present essential reading for anyone working in the field of ancient sexuality and/or classical Greek iconography … This is a well-balanced and superbly written book – and one that is no doubt destined for classic status." –American Journal of Archaeology

"This volume will be a much-used starting point for students and scholars of Greek male sexuality." – Times Higher Education Supplement

"This book meets a real need. The very fact that the authors analysis is based on study of approximately 1000 vases (111 of which they illustrate) makes Images of Ancient Greek Pederasty a valuable resource, and an appendix including a catalogue of 647 vases compiled by the late Keith DeVries only adds to its value. The book greatly expands the amount of material available to nonspecialists, demonstrating that there are considerably more pederastic scenes in the surviving vases than has generally been believed, and its balanced and articulate readings of the material--the authors carefully describe recurring patterns, make allowance for exceptions, discuss alternative interpretations, and do not press when the evidence only goes so far--make it a significant contribution to our understanding of Greek pederasty." – Bryn Mawr Classical Review

About the Author

University of Columbia, USA University of Milan, Italy

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By C. M. O'Hara on June 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Lear and Cantarella have produced a great cross-over volume. They make a serious contribution to the scholarship on gender and sexuality in the ancient world; at the same time, their book is accessible to the general reader curious about sex and gender or ancient Greek culture and art. The study of same-sex love in the ancient Greek world was fundamental to the birth of modern gender studies, and from the beginning scholars have acknowledged that artistic evidence is as important to this area as literary evidence; the scenes on painted vases have always been considered particularly important. Most scholarship in the area has, however, focused on literary sources (Plato, Aristophanes, etc.), and even when visual evidence has been used, it has generally been interpreted simplistically, as if art portrayed social reality directly. This richly illustrated volume is the first general introduction to scenes of same-sex love in vase-painting. It gathers all the different types of scenes and explains how this artistic genre portrays same-sex love through its own language of repeated elements. It argues (quietly) that vase-painting portrays pederasty (the erotic relations between adult men and adolescent youths that were customary in the Greek world) as a central part of the life of ideal elite males; other types of male-male love, when they appear, are portrayed, by contrast, as comic and ugly.

The book rarely engages explicitly in scholarly debate, though it does so occasionally, as when Lear briefly disproves the common idea that vase-painting portrays pederastic courtship, metaphorically, as a kind of hunt.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jane on September 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The authors presented 100 vases! Flipping through the pages and looking at them before reading was interesting...but....
When I started reading about each vase - I was amazed at how complex and simple and what I was really looking at it became!

It was well written in that they talked about each vase...sometimes going back to it and referring to specific vases even though the chapter might be dealing with another related topic. Lear and Cantonella pulled it altogether in a logic and easy to read book.

They explained what I was looking at and also other reference books as well. They didn't gloss over each vase...but came back to many of them to tie the story of this love altogether.

It was well laid out and I know I learned a lot, because subsequently I have looked at other vases and now I can really 'see' the courtship, the erastes the eromenus ...the story of the relationship between them. It also taught me to look to the background, the symbols as this too was revealing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got the feeling that the truth was written here. I loved the fact that there were so many direct quotes from the ancient Greek and Roman commentators of the day. It has added to my knowledge of how Greek and Roman society functioned. Excellent read!!
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More About the Author

Andrew Lear is a Classicist, translator, and poet. He has an AB in English from Harvard, an MA in Creative Writing from CUNY, an MA in Classics from U. Va., and a Ph.D. in Classics from UCLA. He has held a number of research fellowships (including a Bourse Chateaubriand and a Mellon Fellowship at the Columbia Society of Fellows) and taught at several universities and colleges, including Harvard, Columbia, and Pomona College. He is currently teaching at the NYU Department of Classics. His poetry and translations have appeared in many journals, such as Exquisite Corpse, Button, Literary Imagination, and Persephone (which he helped to found). As a Classicist, he works on issues of gender and identity in ancient Greek poetry and art. He has published scholarly articles on such topics as the poetry of Anacreon, the god Eros, and sexuality in Virgil. Images of Ancient Greek Pederasty: Boys Were Their Gods is his first book. His second book project, called A History of Greek Pederasty, from the Age of Homer to the Athens of Plato, is under revision in the light of enthusiastic reader reports at Cambridge University Press.

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