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James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal (JMURJ)

Article Title

Incontinentia, Licentia et Libido : The Juxtaposition of Morality and Sexuality during the Roman Republic

Authors

Abstract

Sex and sexuality are important elements of human experience but are surrounded by taboos. Roman sexuality traditionally has been viewed as licentious and obscene in nature, and seemingly incongruous with the propriety expected in an honor-shame culture. But what is often considered moral, immoral, or obscene in our modern context meant something entirely different to the Romans. This paper examines Roman sex and sexuality during the Republic period (509-27 B.C.E.) and their existence alongside traditional Roman values and customs.