A holistic study of five key texts of Athenian oratory, this book unravels the complex cultural constructions of sexual labor in classical Athens and offers a new perspective on the history of sex laborers in ancient Greece.
Oratory is a valuable source for reconstructing the practices, legalities, and attitudes surrounding sexual labor in classical Athens. It provides evidence of male and female sex laborers, sex slaves, brothels, sex traffickers, the cost of sex, contracts for sexual labor, and manumission practices for sex slaves. Yet the witty, wealthy, free, and independent hetaira well-known from other genres, does not feature. Its detailed narratives and character portrayals provide a unique discourse on sexual labor and reveal the complex relationship between such labor and Athenian society.
Through a holistic examination of five key speeches, Sexual Labor in the Athenian Courts considers how portrayals of sex laborers intersected with gender, the body, sexuality, the family, urban spaces, and the polis in the context of the Athenian courts. Drawing on gender theory and exploring questions of space, place, and mobility, Allison Glazebrook shows how sex laborers represented a diverse set of anxieties concerning social legitimacy and how the public discourse about them is in fact a discourse on Athenian society, values, and institutions.