Relationships between men were part of Greek and Roman culture, from slaves to emperors, most famously the emperor Hadrian and his Greek lover, Antinous.Today such ancient images remind us that the way societies view sexuality is never fixed.Due to it its explicit imagery, the cup was refused entry to the USA in 1953 This Roman silver cup is a fascinating and very versatile object, combining drinking, money and sex all in one!
Picture a dinner party, course after course of exotic food and lots of fine wine.
The guests talk about politics and love as they pass round the table this luxurious, tactile silver cup.
Their host is delighted that they admire its decoration (and its value).
This luxurious silver cup was used at Roman dinner parties.
The cup originally had two handles and depicts two pairs of male lovers.
One side shows two teenage boys making love, while the other shows a young man lowering himself onto the lap of his elder, bearded lover.
A slave-boy peers in voyeuristically from behind a door.
The luxurious fabrics and musical instruments indicate that these scenes are set in a world heavily influenced by Greek culture, which the Romans admired and largely adopted.
What was the Roman attitude to relationships between men?