…not for the meek!
Over on theguardian.com Alison Flood offers the following fascinating article about a new Ancient Greek language translation, which this time does away with many of the Victorian niceties.
Yup, this time we get to read what the Ancient Greeks actually wrote without the veil of polite then modern Victorian society’s attempt to sanitize it. Read on…!
Perhaps the key paragraph from the article is this one (pardon the language!):
The new dictionary’s editors “spare no blushes”, (Professor James) Diggle said, when it comes to the words that “brought a blush to Victorian cheeks”. The verb χέζω (chezo), translated by Liddell and Scott as “ease oneself, do one’s need”, is defined in the new dictionary as “to defecate” and translated as “to shit”; βινέω (bineo) is no longer “inire, coire, of illicit intercourse”, but “fuck”; λαικάζω (laikazo), in the 19th-century dictionary translated as “to wench”, is now defined as “perform fellatio” and translated as “suck cocks”.
It’s fascinating to look at these ancient cultures and realize much of what we seen nowadays has indeed been sanitized. Views of sex in ancient times would appear to have been far more open/tolerant than what the Victorians -who did this earlier translation of the Greek language- were willing to accept and present to the public at large.
Even today there are examples -plentiful!- of art that is highly erotic which has been either held back or not presented to the public at large because of concerns regarding the subject matter.
Just doing a rudimentary Google search and putting in the line “Ancient Greek (or if you’re curious, Roman or Indian or Chinese or Japanese or Mayan, etc.) sex art” will certainly open your eyes when you look at images of artwork and statues depicting various sexual practices, some very much frowned upon today. Among the examples you may find are depictions or orgies, pedophilia, bestiality, homosexuality, and, of course, the more “vanilla” -yet sexually charged!- depictions of sex between a man and a woman.
Again, in these cases it was a very different time and some of these presented sexual practices, rightfully frowned upon today -especially when it comes to pedophilia and bestiality- weren’t viewed, one guesses, quite that way back then.
Regardless, it’s all there and at least to me its fascinating to look upon these ancient cultures as they actually were, in all their gleaming glory and, yes, extremely dark decadence, versus filtered through the veil of our more polite society.