Imago Genitalium: Sex and Gender in Ancient Mediterranean Art
Thomas R. Blanton IV, Philippe Guillaume, Sandra Jaeggi-Richoz, and Joy Rivault
This project sheds light on a cluster of topics that previous generations have closely guarded by taboo: sex and sexuality, the genitalia (vulva, vagina, uterus; phallus, testicles), and the nourishing breast. Although these topics are vital for understanding ancient perceptions of gender, sexuality, and the human life cycle, much of the relevant material—including statuary, frescoes, vase paintings, herms, votives and figurines, gems and amulets, and ceramic breast pumps, among others—remains hidden away in the vaults of museums, uncataloged and unpublished. This project aims to identify, catalog, and publish in an online database previously unknown and under-researched material related to sexuality, the genitalia, and procreation, aspects of the human life cycle that have until recently been insufficiently integrated into scholarly reconstructions of ancient Mediterranean cultures.