Sexual attitudes and behaviors in ancient Rome are indicated by art , literature and inscriptions , and to a lesser extent by archaeological remains such as erotic artifacts and architecture. It has sometimes been assumed that "unlimited sexual license" was characteristic of ancient Rome. In the popular imagination and culture, it is synonymous with sexual license and abuse. But sexuality was not excluded as a concern of the mos maiorum , the traditional social norms that affected public, private, and military life. Roman society was patriarchal see paterfamilias , and masculinity was premised on a capacity for governing oneself and others of lower status, not only in war and politics, but also in sexual relations. The corresponding ideal for a woman was pudicitia , often translated as chastity or modesty, but a more positive and even competitive personal quality that displayed both her attractiveness and self-control.
We need not just new stories, but a whole new shape to what a story is. And it will start with our writing. So Britannia is a story for the modern world: forget the rigid, hidebound, impossible-to-fulfill institutions of marriage: in the ancient world, the women could have as many husbands as they wanted.
Societal attitudes towards same-sex relationships have varied over time and place, from requiring all males to engage in same-sex relationships, to casual integration, through acceptance, to seeing the practice as a minor sin, repressing it through law enforcement and judicial mechanisms, and to proscribing it under penalty of death. In a study, Gwen Broude and Sarah Greene compared attitudes towards and frequency of homosexuality in the ethnographic studies available in the Standard cross-cultural sample. They found that out of 42 communities: homosexuality was accepted or ignored in 9; 5 communities had no concept of homosexuality; 11 considered it undesirable but did not set punishments; and 17 strongly disapproved and punished.