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J., E. (1936). Sexual Life in Ancient Rome: By Otto Kiefer. Translated from Kulturgeschichte Roms unter Besonderer Berücksichtigung der Römischen Sitten by Gilbert and Helen Highet. (George Routledge & Sons, Ltd. London, 1934. Pp. 379. Price 25 s. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 17:135.

(1936). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 17:135

Sexual Life in Ancient Rome: By Otto Kiefer. Translated from Kulturgeschichte Roms unter Besonderer Berücksichtigung der Römischen Sitten by Gilbert and Helen Highet. (George Routledge & Sons, Ltd. London, 1934. Pp. 379. Price 25 s. net.)

Review by:
E. J.

This is a comprehensive survey, not so much of characteristic sexual activities in the narrow sense, but of the relationship between sexual attitudes of the general cultural history of Rome. The chapter headings are as follows:—

Introduction: The Ideals of Rome.

I. Woman in Roman Life.

II. The Romans and Cruelty.

III. Roman Religion and Philosophy in Relation to Sexual Life.

a. Religion.

b. Philosophy.

IV. Physical Life.

a. Dress and Ornament.

b. The Toilet.

c. Dancing and the Theatre.

V. Love in Roman Poetry.

VI. Men and Women of the Imperial Age.

VII. The Fall of Rome and its Causes.

The author considers the varying status of marriage and the varying degree of emancipation of Roman women. Naturally much stress is laid on the prominent part played by cruelty. In an interesting final chapter the author offers a penetrating, though condensed, discussion of causes leading to the fall of Rome. In it he expresses considerable scepticism about the common belief that moral degeneration played any important part.

The translation is really excellent and the authors have taken meticulous care about the rendering of Roman verses.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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