Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Terrible Fate of Intersex Children in Ancient Rome: Pliny, Nat. Hist. VII.iii.34

TRIGGER WARNING: Infanticide, Human Trafficking

Giguntur et utriusque sexu quos hermaphroditos vocamus, olim androgynos vocatos et in prodigiis habitos, nunc vero in deliciis.

-- Pliny the Elder, Nat. Hist. VII.iii.34

We call those born with characteristics of both sexes "hermaphrodites," [formerly called "androgynous"]. They were once considered bad omens, but now are used for entertainment.

Name:  Gaius Plinius Secundus
Date:  23 – 79 CE
Works:  Naturalis Historia*

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans

 Pliny was an Italian-born Roman statesman and author who lived during the reigns of the early Roman emperors. He spent most of his life in service of his country; he ultimately gave his life in arranging the evacuation of the regions devastated by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. His work, the Natural History, is a 37-volume collection of art, history, and science of the ancient world.
Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE