Sunday, January 06, 2008
Followell, Duncan. "Greek Love [Review of Davidson's THE GREEKS AND GREEK LOVE]." TELEGRAPH January 5, 2008.
Davidson, James. The Greeks and Greek Love: a Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2007. . . . Davidson admits to how murky his subject is. Though Greek love was public, Greek sex life is invisible: "reading about Greek love one sometimes feels as if one has been beamed down into a painting by Watteau", but "what the Greeks don't enlarge on is sexual acts". I don't buy that - many of the vases are quite unambiguous - but it's true that there is no Greek Kama Sutra. In the end he has to state the obvious: that just as the region was itself a set of independent, often warring city-states, so "there were lots of different kinds of homosexuality in ancient Greece". It's clearly a field in which commentators can offload hang-ups of their own. Davidson seems remarkably free of these but there is, for example, a whole industry of scholars in modern Greek universities dedicated to disproving the remark of Athenaeus the Anthologist that Alexander the Great "was insanely fond of boys". Read the whole review here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/01/05/bodav105.xml.