Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

Sexuality, Ancient Greece, Female Homoeroticism

Biography

David Schwartz is a junior at Marshall University, pursuing majors in English and philosophy as well as minors in history, constitutional democracy, and Latin. His areas of study often analyze representations of sexuality and identity in both ancient and modern texts. After earning his bachelor’s degree, David hopes to pursue an MA/MFA in English and Creative Writing, and to continue analyzing the intersections of sexuality, identity, and the posthuman self.

Major

English/Philosophy

Advisor for this project

Dr. Christina Franzen

Start Date

19-4-2019 2:00 PM

End Date

19-4-2019 3:15 PM

Abstract

Unlike the vast majority of phallocentric Ancient Greek myth, women both divine and mortal occupy the foreground as autonomous subjects in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Along with this focus, the practices of pre-classical women likewise receive special attention. Of particular interest in this hymn are passages concerning the preparation and consumption of food. Each of these passages carries with it a practice of food preparation regarded as inherently feminine within the culture of Archaic Greece, and a set of sexual effects on the female subject. Through an explication of these passages containing the epithet “honey-sweet”, this explication argues that the Homeric Hymn to Demeter , through its depictions of wine and the pomegranate-seed, offers in each iteration symbols of feminine sexuality. Likewise, because these foods are linked with such an arousal of the feminine sexuality, and because such preparation is inherently feminine, this explication argues that the offering of honey-sweet food and drink represents a homoerotic interaction. Most importantly, these findings highlight a relationship of feminine homoeroticism present but sparsely recorded in the late archaic era of Ancient Greece, and thus posit the Hymn to Demeter as further evidence of this marginalized and elusive cultural practice.

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Apr 19th, 2:00 PM Apr 19th, 3:15 PM

'Honey Sweet': An Explication of Female Sexuality and Homoeroticism Through Food in The Homeric "Hymn To Demeter"

Unlike the vast majority of phallocentric Ancient Greek myth, women both divine and mortal occupy the foreground as autonomous subjects in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Along with this focus, the practices of pre-classical women likewise receive special attention. Of particular interest in this hymn are passages concerning the preparation and consumption of food. Each of these passages carries with it a practice of food preparation regarded as inherently feminine within the culture of Archaic Greece, and a set of sexual effects on the female subject. Through an explication of these passages containing the epithet “honey-sweet”, this explication argues that the Homeric Hymn to Demeter , through its depictions of wine and the pomegranate-seed, offers in each iteration symbols of feminine sexuality. Likewise, because these foods are linked with such an arousal of the feminine sexuality, and because such preparation is inherently feminine, this explication argues that the offering of honey-sweet food and drink represents a homoerotic interaction. Most importantly, these findings highlight a relationship of feminine homoeroticism present but sparsely recorded in the late archaic era of Ancient Greece, and thus posit the Hymn to Demeter as further evidence of this marginalized and elusive cultural practice.