- Title Pages
- Note to the Reader
- I Women in Classical Athens—Their Social Space: Ideal and Reality<sup>†</sup>
- 2 Ideology and “the Status of Women” in Ancient Greece<sup>†</sup>
- 3 The Athenian Woman
- 4 The Sociology of Prostitution in Antiquity in the Context of Pagan and Christian Writings
- 5 Classical Greek Attitudes to Sexual Behaviour
- 6 The Social Body and the Sexual Body<sup>†</sup>
- 7 Law, Society and Homosexuality in Classical Athens<sup>†</sup>
- 8 Pandora Unbound: A Feminist Critique of Foucault's History of Sexuality<sup>†</sup>
- 9 The Cultural Construct of the Female Body in Classical Greek Science<sup>†</sup>
- 10 Gender and Rhetoric: Producing Manhood in the Schools<sup>†</sup>
- 11 Representations of Male-to-Female Lovemaking<sup>†</sup>
- 12 Women's Life in Oriental Seclusion? On the History and Use of a Topos<sup>†</sup>
- 13 The Attitudes of the Polis to Childbirth: Putting Women into the Grid<sup>†</sup>
- 14 Archaeology and Gender Ideologies in Early Archaic Greece<sup>†</sup>
- 15 Concealing/Revealing: Gender and the Play of Meaning in the Monuments of Augustan Rome<sup>†</sup>
- 16 Satyrs in the Women's Quarters<sup>†</sup>
- 17 A Feminist Boomerang: The Great Goddess of Greek Prehistory<sup>†</sup>
- 18 The Asexuality of Dionysus<sup>†</sup>
- 19 “Vested Interests” in Plautus' Casina: Cross-Dressing in Roman Comedy<sup>†</sup>
- 20 The Hippocratic “Airs, Waters, Places” on Cross-Dressing Eunuchs: “Natural” yet also “Divine”<sup>†</sup>
- Intellectual Chronology
- Further Reading
The Asexuality of Dionysus†
The Asexuality of Dionysus†
- (p.319) 18 The Asexuality of Dionysus†
- Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome
- Edinburgh University Press
Dionysus was, of all gods, the most closely associated with the phallus, the erect male member, at once the instrument and symbol of male sexuality. His myths and cults also refer to the liberation, if only temporary, of both women and men from social controls, including sexual controls, which in most cultures are among the most rigid. The god himself is represented to a surprising degree as detached and unconcerned with sex. One can refer to Dionysus's detachment as ‘asexuality’, but one might also speak of his bisexuality, the coexistence of elements of both genders that may, in effect, cancel each other out, or even of his transcendence of sexuality. There are frequent references to his effeminacy, such as Aeschylus's lost play Edoni. Is this paradox, the effeminate god of the phallus, the phallic god of women, illusory, trivial or quite central to the conception of the god and the nature of his cults? The subject can be examined under, roughly, three headings: iconography, myth and cult.
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