Elephantis  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Elephantis or Elephantine was a Greek poetess apparently renowned in the classical world as the author of a notorious sex manual. Her works have not survived.

According to Suetonius, the Roman Emperor Tiberius took a complete set of her works with him when he retreated to his resort on Capri.

One of the classical epigrams of the Priapeia collected by Sir Richard Burton refers to her books:

Obscenas rigido deo tabellas
dicans ex Elephantidos libellis
dat donum Lalage rogatque, temptes,
si pictas opus edat ad figuras.

("Lalage dedicates a votive offering to the God of the erect penis, bringing shameless pictures from the books of Elephantis, and begs him to try and imitate with her the variety of intercourse of the figures in the illustrations.")

And the Roman poet Martial wrote:

Quales nec Didymi sciunt puellae,
Nec molles Elephantidos libelli,
Sunt illic Veneris novae figurae

("Such verses as neither the daughters of Didymus know, nor the debauched books of Elephantis, in which are set out new forms of lovemaking.") "Novae figurae" has been read as "novem figurae" (i.e., "nine forms" of lovemaking, rather than "new forms" of lovemaking), and so some commentators have inferred that she listed nine different sexual positions.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Elephantis" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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