‘Give me a thousand kisses’: the kiss, identity, and power
in Greek and Roman antiquity
by RICHARD HAWLEY (ROYAL HOLLOWAY, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON)
ABSTRACT: “While modern studies of gender have discussed at length the social meanings of the sex-act in Greek and Roman antiquity, less scholarly attention has focused upon the act of kissing. This article offers suggestions towards a reevaluation of the kiss in Greek and Roman literature and society, as a taster of a larger ongoing project by the author. It discusses Greek and Latin terminology, and then key themes in the non-sexual, sexual, and social uses of the kiss, from Homeric times to the third century AD. The uses and meanings of the kiss are seen to develop across time, embracing questions of identity that include age, gender, social status, race, morality, and power”.