Games of Venus: An Anthology of Greek and Roman Erotic Verse from Sappho to Ovid, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Games of Venus

An Anthology of Greek and Roman Erotic Verse from Sappho to Ovid, 1st Edition

Edited by Peter Bing, Rip Cohen


294 pages

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Recent attacks on contemporary art have portrayed the erotic content of works by Robert Mapplethorpe and others as if it were a deviation from the Western artistic tradition. On the contrary, there is a rich tradition of eroticism in the arts beginning with the erotic verse of ancient Greek and Roman poets.

Games of Venus, the first comprehensive anthology in English of ancient Greek and Roman erotic verse, revives this tradition for the modern reader.

Games of Venus presents the whole spectrum of erotic poetry from Sappho to Ovid in translations which evoke the full range of styles and tones present in the original Greek and Latin.

Brief biographical sketches accompany the work of each poet as do notes referring to the myths, geography, historical events, personages, and sexual and social customs mentioned in the verse.


"This first comprehensive anthology of ancient Greek and Roman erotic verse includes Sappho, pederastic verse from Anacreon and Theognis, Virgil's homoerotic 2nd Eclogue, and other gay and lesbian poems." -- Lambda Book Report

". . . an extremely useful reference work for tomorro's students. It is handsomely produced and fills a most important gap." -- Daily Telegraph

"The introduction is scholarly; the translations are new; one can easily imagine the practicality of a text that provides an alternative to worn and stodgy collections of classical love poetry." -- The Yale Review

"Their translations display the freshness of an Ezra Pound rather than the late-Victorian murk of a Gilbert Murray. . . . Their renderings of Catullus, a challenge to generations of fledgling poets, are first rate . . . [T]his is a splendid book. Perhaps it is the best book that could have been devoted to an ethos that underlies all subsequent Occidental erotica." -- Libido: The Journal of Sex and Sensibility

About the Authors/Editors

Peter Bing is Associate Professor of Classics at Emory University. He is the author of The Well-Read Muse (1988), and translator of Homo Necans (1983). Rip Cohen has taught Classics and Romance Languages at the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General