Athenian Prostitution: The Business of Sex [Hardback]

Edward E. Cohen (Author)

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ISBN: 9780190275921 | Published by: Oxford University Press | Year of Publication: 2015 | Language: English 264p,

Athenian Prostitution: The Business of Sex


This is a pioneering study that examines the sale of sex in classical Athens from a commercial (rather than from a cultural or moral) perspective. Following the author's earlier book on Athenian banking, Athenian Prostitution analyzes erotic business at Athens not anachronistically, but in the context of the Athenian economy. For the Athenians, the social acceptability and moral standing of human labor was largely determined by the conditions under which work was performed. Pursued in a context characteristic of servile endeavor, prostitution-like all forms of slave labor-was contemptible. Pursued under conditions appropriate to non-servile endeavor, prostitution-like all forms of free labor-was not violative of Athenian work ethics. As a mercantile activity, however, prostitution was not untouched by Athenian antagonism toward commercial and manual pursuits; as the <"business of sex,>" prostitution further evoked negativity from segments of Greek opinion uncomfortable with any form of carnality. Yet ancient sources also adumbrate another view, in which the sale of sex, lawful and indeed pervasive at Athens, is presented alluringly.

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