Trinity Lennox Seminar Series: When Aphrodite Becomes Venus: Love, Sex and Security in Roman Visual Culture by John Clarke, University of Texas, Austin

Tuesday, November 6, 2012
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Trinity University, Ruth Taylor Recital Hall


Price: Free.

Clarke examines Roman sexual representations found in archaeological contexts to question their meanings for ancient viewers.  Beginning with the discovery of Herculaneum in 1748, excavators found “obscene objects,” including elegant sculptures, wall paintings, mosaics, and phallic objects.  Removed from their original settings and hidden away from public view, these objects lost their context and became what we moderns call “pornography.”  In this lecture Clarke reconstructs the original meanings of these objects through analysis of their original settings and ancient literary texts.  From phallic amulets meant to protect the wearer from evil spirits to elegant paintings celebrating the gifts of Venus, Clarke uncovers attitudes toward love, sex, and security that are quite different from our own.

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