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social sciences

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Galli: Ancient Roman Priests  
page: 1  2  3  

There exists in the galli a fascinating interplay of nature and nurture. Walter Stevenson, who claims that eunuchs became more prevalent in the Greco-Roman world, writes: "Though it is helpful to separate discussion of sexuality from evocations of 'nature' and to use the more versatile concept of 'construction of sexuality,' in the case of eunuchs we are forced to face the interaction of these two forces: most often the eunuch's sexuality is first created by a surgical procedure, then, once biology has altered the individual's sexuality, the society creates roles and a 'construction' for him."

Studying the galli and eunuchs in general (cultural phenomena that no longer exist in the modern world) thus complicates our understanding of ancient sexuality and puts in question the rigid Foucauldian dichotomy of essential and constructed sexualities. The galli are neither masculine nor feminine but almost a third sex, a neuter(ed) category.

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Nikolai Endres

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Hubbard, Thomas K., ed. Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

Klosowska, Anna. Queer Love in the Middle Ages. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Richlin, Amy. "Not Before Homosexuality: The Materiality of the Cinaedus and the Roman Law against Love between Men." Journal of the History of Sexuality 3 (1993): 523-73.

Skinner, Marilyn B. "Ego Mulier: The Construction of Male Sexuality in Catullus." Roman Sexualities. Judith P. Hallett and Marilyn B. Skinner, eds. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997. 129-50.

Stevenson, Walter. "The Rise of Eunuchs in Greco-Roman Antiquity." Journal of the History of Sexuality 5 (1995): 495-511.

Taylor, Rabun. "Two Pathic Subcultures in Ancient Rome." Journal of the History of Sexuality 7 (1997): 319-71.

Tougher, Shaun, ed. Eunuchs in Antiquity and Beyond. London: Classical Press of Wales and Duckworth, 2002.

Williams, Craig A. Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.


    Citation Information
    Author: Endres, Nikolai  
    Entry Title: Galli: Ancient Roman Priests  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated November 15, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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