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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important study - but not quite, 14 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: The Greeks And Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality In Ancient Greece (Hardcover)
The Greek construction of male sexuality has fascinated scholars since the 19th century and before, and it was recognised that the subject was complex. Then came Kenneth Dover's important study, which seemed to put everything in order and to make the whole subject readily comprehensible.

Davidson recognises that it is anything but ordered and straightforward. This is a social phenomenon that lasted several centuries, and spanned very different Greek cultures. It's hardly likely that the Spartans, the Athenians and the Cretans would all have had identical behaviour patterns. So if Davidson seems confusing, that's because he's trying to be faithful to the topic. Yes, he does need a good editor to focus his writing, but for the time being this is the best study that we have.

That said, there is a whole range of Greek art forms - not just vases - that have visual evidence which literally illuminates the subject: sculpture, cameos, murals, metalwork, etc, etc. If Davidson had paid greater attention to the wealth of unexplored material, then his criticisms of Dover would be a lot sharper and his insights would be more useful.

So maybe Davidson will favour us with a revised second edition that tackles these issues: then that really could be an important work.
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