Saara Lilja

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Saara Lilja is the second person after Johannes Friedrich Christ and his 1727 work Historia legis scatiniae to have done any appreciable study on the Lex Scantinia, aka Scantia. She takes the position that Domitian issued it to prohibit the castration of boys to turn them into eunuchs, ostensibly for sexual enjoyment. Few scholars have accepted her view. It used to be considered a joke, because the best attestation is in an epigram by Juvenal, and there are no known prosecutions under it. The poem features a judge condemning a prostitute for her trade, and she plays fresh with him when she claims some of his behavior could have him punished under the Lex Scantinia. In recent years, however, about half of scholars have come to believe that the law somehow dated to the republic and prohibited outright any homosexual activity of any sort between Roman males of the citizen class, regardless of age. Laws were named after who proposed them, and the old family's tended to dominate the magistracies during the republic, but there was no known magistrate Scantinius or Scantus and Rome never has a feminist movement to object to sex play between males.

Although a Finnish professor, Lilja writes in English.


Lilja, Saara, Homosexuality in Republican and Augustan Rome, Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1982.

From Homosexuality: a research guide: "A judicious and penetrating study of the ancient sources, including Plautus, Catullus, Vergil, Horace, and Cicero - as well as graffiti and legal evidence."

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