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Houses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of…

Houses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of Brothels, Houses, and Taverns in…

by Allison Glazebrook (Editor), Barbara Tsakirgis (Editor)

Other authors: Bradley A. Ault (Contributor), Mark L. Lawall (Contributor), Kathleen M. Lynch (Contributor), David Scahill (Contributor), Amy C. Smith (Contributor)1 more, Monika Trümper (Contributor)

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This collection of essays, edited by a historian of prostitution and an archaeologist specialising in houses, addresses the thorny problem of how we can recognise the brothels and taverns that are frequently mentioned in Greek literary sources but rarely identified in the archaeological record. The volume is an interesting and thought-provoking contribution to recent scholarship on Classical and Hellenistic houses, which aims to move away from elite-centred perspectives and to gain a more nuanced understanding of the social and economic role of houses. However — perhaps inevitably, given the nature of the subject — it is ultimately inconclusive.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Glazebrook, AllisonEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tsakirgis, BarbaraEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Ault, Bradley A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lawall, Mark L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lynch, Kathleen M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scahill, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Amy C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trümper, MonikaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812247566, Hardcover)

The study of ancient Greek urbanism has moved from examining the evidence for town planning and the organization of the city-state, or polis, to considerations of "everyday life." That is, it has moved from studying the public (fortifications, marketplaces, council houses, gymnasiums, temples, theaters, fountain houses) to studying the private (the physical remains of Greek houses). But what of those buildings that housed activities neither public nor private—brothels, taverns, and other homes of illicit activity? Can they be distinguished from houses? Were businesses like these run from homes? Classical Athenian writers attest to a diverse urban landscape that included tenement houses (sunoikiai), inns (diaitai, pandokeia), factories (ergasteria), taverns (kapelia), gambling dens (skirapheia), training schools (didaskaleia), and brothels (porneia), yet, despite our knowledge of specific terms, associating them with actual physical remains has not been easy. One such writer, Isaeus, mentions tenement houses that hosted prostitutes and wine sellers, while his contemporary Aeschines refers to doctors, smiths, fullers, carpenters, and pimps renting space. Were tenement houses not simply multi-inhabitant spaces but also multipurpose ones?

Houses of Ill Repute is the first book to focus on the difficulties of distinguishing private and semiprivate spaces. While others have studied houses or brothels, this volume looks at both together. The chapters, by leading scholars in the field, address such questions as "What is a house?" and "Did the business of prostitution leave behind a unique archaeological record?" Presenting several approaches to identifying and studying distinctions between domestic residences and houses of ill repute, and drawing on the fields of literature, history, and art history and theory, the volume's contributors provide a way forward for the study of domestic and entertainment spaces in the Hellenic world.

Contributors: Bradley A. Ault, Allison Glazebrook, Mark L. Lawall, Kathleen M. Lynch, David Scahill, Amy C. Smith, Monika Trümper, Barbara Tsakirgis.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 22 Jun 2016 07:08:56 -0400)

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