SESSION 6

MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR! SEX, GENDER, AND FAMILY IN THE ROMAN PROVINCES

Organised by: Rob Collins and Tatiana Ivleva

The subjects of the human sexuality, flexible gender identities and the past attitudes towards sex and sexuality has become the trend in the contemporary theoretical vocabulary of art historians and classical archaeologists alike (Clarke 2001, 2003; Flemming 2010; Williams 2010; Conde Feitosa 2013; Masterson et al. 2015). Books and exhibitions on Classical eroticism and sexuality have become more commonplace in the past decade, but the subjects relating to constructions of gender and sex identities has yet to penetrate very deeply into Roman provincial studies. The session’s goal is to critically consider the gender and sexual behavior in the provinces in light of recent studies on Roman sexuality and flux gender identities. Specifically, the panel investigates whether one can talk of the extension of the traditional Romano-Hellenistic model to the provinces or more of a ‘provincialization’ or ‘barbarization’ of sex and gender identities similar to other well-known aspects of cultural negotiation and syncretism in the provinces. In this light, the session seeks to ask a number of questions:

  • How were gender(s) and sexuality perceived and represented in the provinces during the Roman imperial era?
  • What is the evidence for non-Roman, or rather ‘provincial’ or ‘barbarian’ gender constructs, sex and familial relations?
  • What impact(s) do historical events and trends have upon sex, gender, and familial relationships during the course of empire, for example with the extension of citizenship or the spread of Christianity?
  • What is the role of objects bearing images of genitalia or sex acts, or allusions to such activities, in the constructions of sexual and gender identities in provinces?

We seek papers that explore these issues from the variety of angles, and which also provide a balanced and rounded view of literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence.

Sexuality Embodiment in Roman Provinces. Towards Improved Theoretical and Methodological Models, Sanja Vucetic

On a Knife-Edge: Images of Erotic Performance and the Iconography of ‘Small Finds’ in the North-West Provinces, John Pearce

Sex on the Edge: Same-sex, Polygamous, and Single-parent Families in the Roman Frontiers, Tatiana Ivleva

The Phallus and the Frontier: The Physical and Metaphysical barrier of Hadrian's Wall, Rob Collins

Gender and Sexuality in Northern Britannia, Robyn Crook

Female identities and the construction of cultural borders, Kaja Stemberger