2 Boys, 1 Cup

2000 years old, worth £1.8 million, banned from the USA, not publicly exhibited until 1999.
Meet history’s most expensive piece of gay porn: The Warren Cup

One side depicts a man (the active participant or erastes) engaging in anal sex with a young man (the catamite, eromenos, or passive participant), who lowers himself onto the erastes using a rope or support from the ceiling in roughly the modern sexual position of reverse cowgirl. Meanwhile a boy, perhaps a slave, watches surreptitiously from behind a door — the inferior status of a slave in Roman eyes would make him suitable to this role of voyeur. The other side depicts two young men making love. Both scenes also include draped textiles in the background, as well as a kithara (lyre) in the former scene and auloi (pipes) in the latter. These, along with the careful delineation of ages and status and the wreaths worn by the youths, all suggest a cultured, elite, Hellenized setting with music and entertainment.

Found in this essay about boy love, tweeted by fishfawn & posted on reddit


31 thoughts on “2 Boys, 1 Cup”

  1. Now I wonder what they would have been drinking from that cup…

    Jokes aside, that’s really fascinating.

  2. I once posted images of the “Warren Cup” with a scholarly article. Also it gathered a number of comments from informed academics, and others.

    For this my blog was deleted.

    I assume blogspot thought it was all child porn.

  3. I wonder why this cup got banned and hidden for so long. Basically all Roman pottery involves one of two things; discus throwers or discus throwers having sex with boys. It’s not like gay sex on the side of a cup is new to anyone that has seen an exhibit on Roman history.

  4. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever. ” John Keats

    It is sad when an ancient artifact cannot just be enjoyed for what it is.

    Men and women have enjoyed same sex relations since the beginning of the ‘human’ concept.
    You have to wonder why people are so afraid of it?
    No one is advocating we all do it, just those who choose to without being humiliated, socially ruined and made a pariah or worse, murdered.

    I am just so sick of it all.

    1. You can thank RELIGIONS for all the paranoia, fear and [bullshit] “moralities” associated with any thoughts or renditions of same-sex relations. They are the absolute ROOT of it all and more of the root of evil than money ever was [is].

      1. In previous times, perhaps. Now, however, when no one has the power to defy the state, the state has taken on this puritanical cloak under the guise of protecting “children”, women or an endangered ardvaark species.

        You will notice that these laws have gotten worse in the Western nations as religion has faded.

        When the state is the executor of the laws and the moral force in the land, totalitarianism is already upon us but individuals only notice when the state turns its baleful eye on them.

  5. Very interesting cup, and highly amusing that no one would originally touch it. Because important cultural pieces from ancient civilisations that help shed light on life 2,000 years ago are irrelevant if they depict something deemed offensive to a country’s culture of the time, of course.

    Good on the British Museum for eventually having the wit to buy it, means i get to see it.

  6. I am now feeling the desire to acquire pieces of everyday utensils adorned with similar art. The hellenistic style is very appealing, especially in the depiction of bodies. There must be affordable modern day copies of that stuff around!

    1. There are, Nimatek. Search for Museum Replicas online. I have several, a Red Figure amphora and a Black Figure Oinachos from the 5th Century BCE.

      1. Are there any good sites for that? It might be interesting to have one as a centrepiece when I finally get my own place. And a job that actually pays me well.

  7. The first things to go in a society that represses human feeling and expression is art and literature.

    We are well on the road to that. As I have said before, regardless of how you feel about a piece of art or book, or some expression of another’s view, it should be protected or we all lose.

    Whether it is a novel like ‘A Catcher in the Rye’ or a manga of Shotakon, or the Bible for that matter, we have to strive to protect them. The very concept of a ‘legitimate cultural relevance is abhorrent.

    This is not a new problem. It is an never ending fight against those who want to limit our minds to what they dictate as ‘relevant and good’. We have to keep it all or we lose it all. Period.

  8. I imagine one of the enterprising among us in this present age could make a tidy profit from doing a facsimile reproduction in pewter and selling them online…..

  9. I have seen this artwork at British Museum, really worth to visit if you have a chance. These naugthy scenes were really popular and widespread during late Greek and Hellenistic Roman times, and still many of them survived, with the help of Christian monks in monasteries, and even cardinals and popes who loved art. (Think about the art collection of Vatican. So I think blaming christianity for todays phobia is a very stupid thing.)

    Anyway I know you’re just joking with that, but it’s really not “porn”. They didn’t wanted to create something to make you horny, they just wanted to create something beautiful. And thought this scene fits in well.

  10. Somewhere i’ve got pictures I took at the museum in Cologne of Peruvian oil lamps from 500 years ago depicting a variety of male/male sex acts. It was quite eye opening.

  11. What:

    Wait, that was Greece. But still, gay porn cups isn’t anything new

    but usuaually not such a blunt and detailed scene, (homosexual) anal intercourse was actually a taboo subject.

  12. You should really brush up on your greek history a bit.

    Stereotypical greek representations within the media tend towards the olympic-style systems as the concept is still a major player within our society. As such, when people attempt to find more information to ancient greece due to curiosity; it is re-directed towards information concerning the tossing of round plates.

    Skip the public libraries and head to a university library. :D

  13. forbin:

    You should really brush up on your greek history a bit.

    Are you referring to me? Actually, I was providing the majority of the pics on this site years ago: http://www.gay-art-history.org/gay-history/gay-art/greek-love-homosexual-art/homosexual-greek-love-art.html
    I repeat my impression that Greek art generally avoided to depict anal penetrations of males (the intercrucial thing is really a different subject). Be aware that some pics you may have seen elsewhere are modern fakes.

  14. I would say most of the contemporary prudery and repression comes from the Anglo-Saxon world. The Black Pilgrims, the black frocks so to speak were and are still the worst. Destroying of all imagery in churches to start with, and how much have they destroyed in the New World what they viewed as heathen? Of course The Spaniards weren’t any better / Incas and pre-Inca civilisation full of homo-erotic anal and phallic objects were obliterated.

    So much of the Egyptian’s erotic art (how much has been publicised? None! The French and British kept it hidden, they were shocked to see such a high standing civilisation had produces such ‘lewd’ things. Even God Min’s erection was hidden for a long time in the British Museum.

    In Belgium in 1992 with an exhibit of pre-Columbian arefacts, teh erotic phallic (oil lamps et all) ceramics of the Mochica were hidden in a special room, schools had asked for this as elementary and high school students were no allowed to see this. I say this falsification of history.

    USA’s Disney does worse, putting a censor grid over the genitals of Michelangelo’s David in the movie the Pagemaster (sure children will be traumatized by a naked David!), or Metropolitan that anounces with a big banner outside its doors: “Beware Male nudes on show.”
    Would they say that if it were women in art on show?

    Did you know how Kellogs got big? Because when the Quakers started that business they told every single parent that if they gave them cornflakes to eat, they wouldn’t masturbate.

    1. Dr Kellogg was a well-known respected doctor at the time. He published the defintive medical report on the 50 diseases masturbation caused.
      It was pure ‘science’.
      We have similar science today: one that proves so-called mental traumatisation through sex with a minor.

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