Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

‘Genitalia of the Sea’: Seafood and Sexuality in Greek Comedy

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Mnemosyne

Fish play a sizable role in the remains of ancient Greek comedy. Although scholars have proposed various cultural, economic, and generic explanations for comedy’s interest in sea creatures, they have not adequately considered the importance of seafood’s relationship to obscenity and sexuality. Greek comic poets correlate a range of sea creatures with sex and sexuality in imaginative and humorous ways, making obscene jokes about courtesans and aphrodisiacs, as well as creating double entendres for male and female genitalia. This study provides a lexical resource for Greek comedy’s numerous seafood fragments, uncovering many neglected ancient sexual jokes and offering fresh insight on comedy’s interest in sea creatures.

Affiliations: 1: 5800 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Adams J.N The Latin Sexual Vocabulary 1982 Baltimore
2. Andrews A.C Greek and Latin Mouse-Fishes and Pig-Fishes 1948 Vol TAPhA 79 232 253
3. Arnott W.G Alexis: The Fragments 1996 Cambridge
4. Braund D.C. , Wilkins J. Athenaeus and His World, Reading Greek Culture in the Roman Empire 2000 Exeter
5. da Cunha Corrêa P ‘Muddy Eels’ (Archilochus 189W) 2002 Vol Synthesis 9 81 90
6. Dalby A Mars & Mars Food and Sexuality in Classical Greece 1993 165 190
7. Dalby A Siren Feasts 1996 London
8. Dalby A Food in the Ancient World from A to Z 2003 London
9. Davidson J Fish, Sex and Revolution in Athens 1993 Vol CQ 43 53 66
10. Davidson J Wilkins Harvey , Dobson Opsophagia: Revolutionary Eating at Athens 1995 204 213
11. Davidson J Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens 1997 London
12. Degani E Wilkins Harvey , Dobson Problems in Greek Gastronomic Poetry: On Matro’s Attikon deipnon 1995 413 428
13. Degani E Filosseno di Leucade e Platone Comico ( fr. 189 K.-A) 1998 Vol Eikasmos 9 81 99
14. Deninger H.S A History of Substances Known as Aphrodisiacs 1930 Vol Annals of Medical History 2 383 393
15. Dobrov G. The City as Comedy: Society and Representation in Athenian Drama 1998 Chapel Hill
16. van der Eijk P Diocles of Carystus: A Collection of the Fragments with Translation and Commentary 2001 Leiden
17. Eisler R Der Fisch als Sexualsymbol 1914 Vol Imago 3 165 195
18. Eisler R Orpheus the Fisher 1921 London
19. Fauth W Kulinarisches und Utopisches in der griechischen Komödie 1973 Vol WS 7 39 62
20. Fisher N Harvey D. , Wilkins J. " Symposiasts, Fish-Eaters and Flatterers: Social Mobility and Moral Concerns " The Rivals of Aristophanes 2000 London 355 396
21. Gallant T A Fisherman’s Tale 1985 Ghent
22. Garnsey P Food and Society in Classical Antiquity 1999 Cambridge
23. Gerber D.E Eels in Archilochus 1973 Vol QUCC 16 105 109
24. Gerber D.E Greek Iambic Poetry 1999 Cambridge, MA
25. Gilula D Wilkins Harvey & Dobson Comic Food and Food for Comedy 1995 386 399
26. Gulick C.B. Athenaeus: The Deipnosophists 1927-41 Cambridge, MA 7 vols
27. Henry M.M Richlin A. " The Edible Woman: Athenaeus’s Concept of the Pornographic " Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome 1992 Oxford 250 268
28. Henderson J The Maculate Muse 1991 Oxford
29. Hordern J.H Sophron’s Mimes. Text, Translation, and Commentary 2004 Oxford
30. Katz J.T Jones-Bley K. , et al " To Turn a Blind Eel " Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference, Los Angeles, November 5-6 2004 2005 Washington, D.C. 259 296
31. Lawrence R.J The Fish: A Lost Symbol of Sexual Liberation? 1991 Vol Journal of Religion and Health 30 311 319
32. Mars G. , Mars V. Food, Culture and History 1993 London
33. McClure L Courtesans at Table: Gender and Greek Literary Culture in Athenaeus 2003 London
34. Murphy C.T Review of The Fragments of Attic Comedy, after Meineke, Bergk, and Kock by John Maxwell Edmonds 1959 Vol TAPhA 80 95 98
35. Nesselrath H.-G Dobrov The Polis of Athens in Middle Comedy 1998 271 288
36. Olson S.D Broken Laughter: Select Fragments of Greek Comedy 2007 Oxford
37. Olson S.D. Athenaeus: The Learned Banqueters 2006-2011 Cambridge, MA 7 vols
38. Olson S.D. , Sens A. Matro of Pitane and the Tradition of Epic Parody in the Fourth Century BCE 1999 Oxford
39. Olson S.D. , Sens A. Archestratos of Gela 2000 Oxford
40. Pellegrino M Utopie e Immagini Gastronomiche nei Frammenti dell’Archaia 2000 Bologna
41. Pirrotta S Plato Comicus: Die fragmentarischen Komödien. Ein Kommentar 2009 Berlin
42. Purcell N Wilkins Harvey & Dobson Eating Fish: the Paradoxes of Seafood 1995 132 149
43. Rodríguez-Noriega Guillén L. Epicarmo de Siracusa. Testimonios y Fragmentos. Edición Crítica Bilingüe 1996 Oviedo
44. Rosen R.M Dobrov G. " Plato Comicus and the Evolution of Greek Comedy " Beyond Aristophanes 1995 Atlanta 119 137
45. Rothwell K.S Nature, Culture, and the Origins of Greek Comedy: a Study of Animal Choruses 2007 Cambridge
46. Rusten J. The Birth of Comedy: Texts, Documents and Art from Athenian Comic Competitions, 560-280 B.C.E. 2011 Baltimore
47. Seaford R Silenus erectus: Euripides, 1987 Vol Cyclops 227 LCM 12 142 143
48. Schneidewin F.G Delectus Poesis Graecorum Elegiacae, Iambicae, Melicae 1838 Göttingen
49. Shaw C.A ΣΚΟΡΠΙΟΣ OR ΣΚΩΡ ΠΕΟΣ? A sexual joke in Archestratus’ 2009 Vol Hedypatheia, CQ 59 634 639
50. Sparkes B Wilkins Harvey & Dobson A Pretty Kettle of Fish 1995 150 161
51. Taillardat J Les images d’Aristophane: études de langue et de style 1965 Paris
52. Thompson D.W A Glossary of Greek Fishes 1947 Oxford
53. Watkins C " ἀνόστεος ὃν πόδα τένδει " Étrennes de septantaine. Travaux de linguistique et de grammaire comparée offerts à Michel Lejeune 1978 Paris 231 235
54. West M.L Studies in Greek Elegy and Iambus 1974 Berlin
55. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff U. von Lesefrüchte 1924 Vol Hermes 59 249 273
56. Wilkins J.M. Mars & Mars Social Status and Fish in Greece and Rome 1993a 191 203
57. Wilkins J.M. The Significance of Food Eating in Greek Comedy 1993b Vol LCM 18 66 74
58. Wilkins J.M Wilkins J.M. " Eating in Athenian Comedy " Food in European Literature 1996 Exeter 46 56
59. Wilkins J.M Dobrov Comic Cuisine: Food and Eating in the Comic Polis 1997 250 268
60. Wilkins J.M. Braund & Wilkins Athenaeus and the Fishes of Archippus 2000a 523 535
61. Wilkins J.M. The Boastful Chef 2000b Oxford
62. Wilkins J.M. Harvey D. , Wilkins J.M. " Edible Choruses " The Rivals of Aristophanes: Studies in Athenian Old Comedy 2000c London 341 354
63. Wilkins J.M Keay S. , Moser S. " Eating Fish in Greek Culture " Greek Art in View: Essays in Honour of Brian Sparkes 2004 Oxford 148 158
64. Wilkins J.M. , Harvey D. , Dobson M. Food in Antiquity 1995 Exeter
65. Younger J.G Sex in the Ancient World from A to Z 2005 London/New York

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Mnemosyne — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation