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In talk, Making Manhood Harder a pun


It’s a typical academic-sounding title: “Making Manhood Harder: Roman Representations of Military and Erotic Masculinity.”

But the talk by University of Maryland Professor Judith Hallett is about an atypical topic: erectile dysfunction.

The malady is something Roman rulers talked and joked about easily, unlike in today’s society, Hallett said.

Hallett, who jumps from talking about Roman emperors one minute, to Monica Lewinski and Viagra ads the next, will begin her talk with a clip from The Colbert Report.

But she will focus primarily on ancient texts, including one that describes how Tiberius used his vast power and wealth in “incredibly wasteful and cruel ways — just to get himself aroused.”

Roman military figures often referred to themselves as “soldiers of love,” describing how “it’s just as difficult to ‘get it up’ as it is to win wars,” she said.

The talk is at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in Room 216 of Marsh Hall at Pacific University in Forest Grove.