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Textual and Sexual Hybridity: Gender in Catullus 63

By Jennifer Weintritt

This paper focuses on the transgender identity of Attis in Catullus’ 63rd poem and, in particular, how the instability of the text compounds the ambiguity of Attis’ gender. Following Attis’ self-castration in line 5 of the poem, the narrator imposes a grammatical sex change on the youth, recently arrived from Greece to celebrate the rites of Cybele. In the manuscripts, at least, Attis’ gender continues to fluctuate grammatically, provoking questions about gender identity that each editor must confront.

Dio’s First Tarsian Oration and the Rhetoric of Gender-Indeterminacy

By Anna Peterson

In his First Tarsian Oration (Or.33), Dio of Prusa offers up a colorful harangue against a mysterious fault that he refuses to name, despite the threat he says it poses to the reputation of the city. Instead, Dio speaks in analogies, likening it specifically to an inelegant snore (ῥέγκουσιν, 33).

(N)either Men (n)or Women? The Failure of Western Binary Systems

By Rachel Hart

In his extensive account of the Scythians, Herodotus twice mentions the Enareës, male diviners who were afflicted by Aphrodite with a “female disease” (θήλεα νοῦσος, 1.105) and later described as “androgynous” (οἱ ἀνδρόγυνοι, 4.67). The nature of this disease has most often been explained as impotence (e.g., Asheri 1977, Jouanna 1999), due mainly to a comparable passage in the Hippocratic treatise Airs, Waters, Places.

Gender Ambiguity and Cult Practice in the Roman Novel

By Barbara Blythe

I argue that ambiguous gender expression on the part of the protagonists of the Roman novel can be explained partly by their involvement in religious cults. Konstan (1994) argues that the hero and heroine of the Greek novel are equal romantic partners. This erotic mutuality is a product of the equalizing combination of traditional gender expectations, the heroine’s unusual boldness, and the hero’s curious tendency toward passivity.

An intersex manifesto: Naming the non-binary constructions of the ancient world

By Chris Mowat

In the modern Anglophone world, the term ‘hermaphrodite’ has long since been laid to rest in favour of more appropriate words (and phrases) to define those whose bodies do not conform biologically to our traditional notions of male and female. Yet it is still almost unanimously used within Classics and Ancient History to talk about these individuals in the ancient world.

Life After Transition: Spontaneous sex change and its aftermath in ancient literature

By Kelly Shannon

This paper examines ancient literary descriptions of women who spontaneously transform into men, with a view to understanding what these stories can tell us about ancient conceptions of the gender binary. These individuals, whose transition from female to male is imposed upon them by external circumstance rather than originating from their internal gender identity, must renegotiate their place in society after they transform, with mixed results. Previous scholarly studies touching on these passages have focused on their medical (e.g.