Professor Tim Parkin, The University of Melbourne

Sexual health is a topic of global concern for both specialists and the general public in the twenty-first century. Such open awareness and debate around topics such as contraception and sexually-transmitted diseases are usually seen as recent phenomena. However, the history of attitudes towards sexual health has a much longer history, and much of it is grounded in the classical world. Following the (alleged) arrival of syphilis from the ‘new world’, for example, medical writers and doctors of Europe were heavily influenced by much earlier Greek and Latin texts. But what of ancient times themselves? In this seminar I shall seek to explore knowledge of, and attitudes towards, as well as treatment of, sexually-transmitted diseases in antiquity. I shall also consider how classical discourse shaped subsequent understandings, attitudes and practices. How did the Greeks and the Romans think about their sexuality in terms of physical and mental health? How did perceived and real sexual health affect men and women’s status in society? To what extent did the advent of Christianity change attitudes towards sexual health?

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About Classics and Ancient History Seminars

The zoom link for the online seminars will remain unchanged for the whole semester, and will be emailed to our mailing list for events in Classics and Ancient History. To receive the zoom link and future event updates, please email admin-hapi@uq.edu.au.

Enquiries about the seminars may be made to Associate Professor David Pritchard.

The Friends of Antiquity, an alumni organisation of the University, runs its own series of public lectures, which take place on Sunday afternoons. The Friends’ program for can be found at https://alumni.uq.edu.au/friends-of-antiquity