Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This cultural history course examines the nature and representation of gender and sexuality in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. The primary focus is on the ancient world's conceptualisation of erotic attraction and desire; masculinity; and femininity. These are examined in the context of concepts of beauty; the institution of marriage; prostitution; same-sex relations; sex and violence; anxiety and repulsion, taboo; and pornography. To better understand the varied and, at times, complex world of the ancients' private lives, students are introduced to several historical methodologies. These include analysis of literary sources, such as poetry, philosophy, history, and oratory. Material culture, such as pottery, statuary, painting, epigraphy and graffiti are also examined. The secondary focus, on modern theories of gender, sexuality and the body, introduce students to various approaches to interpreting the same themes in antiquity. These theories are also considered in comparative analyses of gender and sexuality in ancient and modern contexts.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2019.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify the major themes and issues pertaining to gender and sexuality in Greek and Roman antiquity;

2. Analyse representations of gender and sexuality in antiquity via critical interpretations of ancient source materials (written, artistic, and epigraphic);

3. Evaluate representations of gender and sexuality in modern and contemporary contexts in comparison with ancient traditions;

4. Assess and interpret modern interpretations of gender and sexuality in antiquity via critical interpretation of modern theories of sexuality, gender, and the body;

5. Demonstrate skills to effectively articulate arguments in written and verbal form.


Course content will be drawn from the following range of topics:

  1. Concepts of gender
  2. Concepts of sexuality
  3. The nature of erotic attraction and desire
  4. The male world
  5. The female world
  6. Beauty: competition, athletics, public display
  7. Marriage, adultery, prostitution: law and custom
  8. Same-sex relations
  9. Sex and violence
  10. Sexual anxiety, repulsion, taboo, and pornography
  11. Modern theories of sexuality, gender, and the body



This course replaces AHIS3560. If you have successfully completed AHIS3560 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

20 units of Ancient History or History or Sociology at 1000 level or above

Assessment items

Essay: Major Essay - 35%

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial Exercise 1 - 15%

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial Exercise 2 - 15%

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial Exercise 3 - 15%

Journal: Journal - 20%

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.