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The Greek and Roman Body

Front cover of 'Exposed' by Caroline Vout

A gloriously intimate tour of the body in antiquity.

Gavin Francis

A triumph... an extraordinary book that stopped me in my tracks.

Peter Frankopan

Impressive... sublime.

Jimmy Mulville

The Greek and Roman body is often seen as flawless – cast from life in buff bronze and white marble to sit upon a pedestal. But this, of course, is a lie.

Here, classicist Caroline Vout reaches beyond texts and galleries to expose Greek and Roman bodies for what they truly were: anxious, ailing, imperfect, diverse, and responsible for a legacy as lasting as their statues.

Taking us on a gruesome, thrilling journey, she taps into the questions that those in the Greek and Roman worlds asked about their bodies – where do we come from? What makes us different from gods and animals? What happens to our bodies, and the forces that govern them, when we die?

Vout also reveals the surprising actions people often took to transform their bodies – from sophisticated surgery and contraception to body oils, cosmetics and early gym memberships.

You’ve seen the paintings, read the philosophers and heard the myths – now here’s the classical body in all its flesh-and-blood glory.

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Date published
423 pages

About the author

Black and white photograph of author Caroline Vout

Caroline Vout

Caroline Vout is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge. She is also Director of Cambridge’s Museum of Classical Archaeology and has curated exhibitions at the Fitzwilliam Museum and at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. Carrie has appeared on ‘Woman’s Hour’ and ‘In Our Time’, and contributed pieces to magazines such as Apollo, Minerva, History Today, and to the Times Literary Supplement and Observer. In 2012 and 2013, she chaired the judging panel of the John D Criticos Prize, and from 2019 to 2024 holds the Byvanck Chair at Leiden University. She has given public lectures across the world, and is regularly invited to talk to schools.