New Class: Love, Sex, and Desire in the Ancient World

with David Miano

Mondays 6:30-8 pm

44As we expand our offerings into other subject areas, new and interesting courses are now becoming available at our academy. This class will introduce you to the cultures of ancient Sumer, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Rome, and India through an examination of their conceptions and expressions of love, desire and sexuality. These ideas are culturally determined and reflect important cultural assumptions very different from our own. We will engage in an interdisciplinary study using a variety of literary genres including lyric poetry, love letters, philosophical dialogue, didactic poetry and the romance novel. The focus of this study will introduce a wide range of topics for discussion including the split between physical and spiritual love, philosophic ideals of “love” and “beauty,” perceptions of appropriate gender roles, physical ideals of female and male beauty, the different conceptions of hetero- and homosexual relations, and the conventions of literary form.


1880_pierre_auguste_cot_-_the_storm1An integral component of the course involves an exercise in source analysis. At some of the classes, the readings will be made available in handouts. At others, because the readings are longer, we recommend purchasing the book and reading it prior to the class (much as in a book club), so that we may discuss. Our store will stock copies of the needed texts, so that you may get them right on our campus at your convenience.

Recommended texts: Ariel Bloch and Chana Bloch, The Song of Songs (University of California Press, 1998); Plato’s Symposium (S. Benardete, trans.; Univ. of Chicago Press, 2001); Ovid, The Art of Love (J. Michie, trans.; Modern Library, 2002); Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon (T. Whitmarsh, trans.; Oxford University Press, 2001); Kamasutra (W. Doniger, trans.; Oxford University Press, 2009).

Full course: $325

Cost per session: $35

Starts January 30


Lecture Schedule
Love at the Beginning of Civilization
Inanna and Dumuzi
Egyptian Love Poetry
Biblical Erotica
Aphrodite and Eros
Male and Female in Greece
Pastoral Poetry
Love in Philosophy
Love in Rome
The Art of Love
The Ancient Romance Novel
Leucippe and Clitophon
The Kama Sutra
No readings
Sumerian love poems (provided in class)
Egyptian love poems (provided in class)
The Song of Songs (bring to class)
Greek love poems (provided in class)
Greek love poems (provided in class)
Theocritus’ Idylls (provided in class)
Plato’s Symposium (bring to class)
Roman love poems (provided in class)
The Art of Love (bring to class)
Leucippe and Clitophon (bring to class)
Leucippe and Clitophon (bring to class)
Kama Sutra (bring to class)


  1. Hey David and Charles,

    Should I pay for the whole class in person or is there a way to buy online?

    xo, Sorcha

    • admin says:

      Hi Sorcha. We are still working on our online pay system, so for now it is best either to come in, or send a check to us in the mail:

      7226 21st St. E.
      Sarasota, FL 34243