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Byzantinisches Erotikon

Beck, Hans-Georg.

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How permissive eroticism and sensuality in Byzantium triumphed over attempts by the church and religion to suppress it – that story is the theme of this book.

In early Byzantium the largely heathen way of life clashed with the strict standards of the Byzantine church. Everyday life, art and literature were still direct descendants of the refined-naïve animalism of classical and post-classical Greece. In contrast, the Christian priesthood preached ascetics and rejection of the pleasures of this world. The gulf was a deep one. While the Church Fathers regarded the story of Zeus pouring himself as a stream of golden rain into his lover Danae as the height of obscenity, their more worldly contemporaries saw it as an apt metaphor for the greed of the courtesans. The author describes in what ways the forces of eroticism sought to overcome the resistance of the Orthodox church, and in doing so he shows how a culture over the centuries achieved a “playful” balance between opposing efforts.

Byzantine Erotica is published in the Serbian translation by Savica Toma and Vesna Čkovrić under the title “Vizantijski erotikon” by Karpos, Loznica.

Reviews: Dnevnik, Danas, Danas, Večernje novosti, Radio Srbija, Večernje novosti, Republika

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