De figuris Veneris  

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

De figuris Veneris (On the figures of Venus) is an anthology of ancient Greek and ancient Roman source texts on erotic topics, discussed objectively and classified and grouped by subject matter.

It was first edited and published by the German classicist Friedrich Karl Forberg in 1824 in Latin and Greek as critical apparatus to his Antonii Panormitae Hermaphroditus, a reprint of Hermaphroditus. It was later published as a separate work and translated into various languages. It concludes with a list of 90 sexual positions.

De figuris Veneris has been translated as into English as Manual of classical erotology, into French as Manuel d’érotologie classique by Alcide Bonneau (one French edition was illustrated by Édouard-Henri Avril) and into Spanish as Manual de erótica clásica.

It was published in the United States by Medical Press of New York in 1964.



The work of Venus may be accomplished with or without the help of the mentula (virile member). If with the mentula, the friction of this organ, in which friction the whole pleasure consists, can be effected either in the vulva (female organ), in the anus (arse-hole), in the mouth, by the hand or in any cavity of the body. If without the mentula, the vulva may be worked either with the tongue, with the clitoris, or with any object resembling the virile organ (Manual of Classical Erotology: 23).


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