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James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal (JMURJ)

Abstract

Sex and sexuality are important elements of the human experience but are surrounded by various taboos. Roman sexuality has traditionally been viewed in a modern context as being licentious and obscene in nature, and seemingly incongruous with the elements of propriety that are expected in an honor-shame culture. What would be considered to be moral, immoral, or obscene in a modern context would not apply to the Romans as we would understand it in a modern context. This paper examines Roman sexuality during the Republic period (509 - 27 BCE) and how they can seemingly exist alongside what can be considered to be traditional Roman values and customs.

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