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The Priapus Poems: Erotic Epigrams from Ancient Rome Hardcover – Apr 1 1999

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 147 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252024435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252024436
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 345 g

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First Sentence
Dear reader, though my uncombed verse be queer, unfurl at once that supercilious sneer. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Interesting Dec 21 2010
By Brian Smith - Published on
Format: Paperback
The poems were probably written anonymously by a number of famous Roman poets such as Catullus. As such they not only give insight into the pseudo-religious world of lesser deities but also show Roman humor at its most sordid. If you're easily offended by sexual writing don't bother with this book; if not then you'll find the epigrams entertaining and the additional information insightful.

As this book seems to be out of print a good alternative is Envocation to Priapus.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Stiff Dose of Roman Comic Poetry Nov. 9 2006
By J. Pfundstein - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hooper's slim volume contains the original Latin text of the Priapaea, a fresh translation of it and brief commentary on the translation, along with some Priapic poems from other sources.

The Latin text is clean and readable but doesn't (in Hooper's words) "pretend to be based on a fresh study of the manuscripts." The introduction gives a concise but useful discussion of sexual mores in Greece and Rome, and the kind of meaning the Priapus figure had for the original audience of these poems. The commentary gives some depth and scholarly context to the translation, and there is a useful bibliography.

The real glory of this book, though, is in the translation: witty, deft and accurate. One could quibble here or there, but that would be to miss the blunt weighty point. These translations brilliantly recreate their originals in English which is clear, frank, and often laugh-out-loud funny.

A caveat, if any is necessary: this book is not about the glory that was Greece or the grandeur that was Rome, nor is it (in spite of the subtitle) particularly erotic. It's a collection of phallic jokes; any reader likely to be offended should pass this book by. But for anyone interested in sexuality in the ancient world, or the overlapping topics of humor and sexual aggression, this book is a very useful resource.