In our newest installment of the A.D. History Podcast, Paul and Patrick traverse the histories of the notorious Kama Sutra from its author to its greatest advocate, Richard Burton. We also explore the architectural enduring miracle that is the famed Roman Pantheon.
Kama Sutra: A Book of Two Histories
There are few texts in the modern world that are more readily recognized than the Kama Sutra. The Kama Sutra is also one of the most misunderstood texts in modern times, that encompasses tremendous histories.
The Kama Sutra is believed to have been written between 400BC and 300AD, however modern consensus suggests it was most likely written in the early 2nd century AD. It’s little known author Vātsyāyana was likely a Hindu ascetic, seeking to write a sutra – a boiled down summary text – to share his insights with mostly young men to guide their way into sexuality.
The Kama Sutra is composed of seven books, covering a number of issues from romance, marriage, adultry and the most well known second book – covering exotic sexual positions.
1,700 years after its initial writing, an original Sanskrit transcript was discovered by British Orientalist Sir Richard Burton. Burton in his determination to publish the translated copies of the Kama Sutra, was forced to circumvent British law of the era.
To do so, he co-founded the Kama Shastra Society to secretly distribute copies to its members, and is directly responsible for why the Kama Sutra is so well known today.
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The Roman Pantheon: The Miracle of Endurance
The famed Roman Pantheon is one of the most classic examples of classical architecture. The Pantheon’s original construction was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the rule of Augustus, yet was devastated by fire.
Yet in 113AD, Trajan commissioned a restoration and expansion of the original temple. Though most of its construction was overseen by Trajan’s successor, Hadrian.
The Panthron in all its grandeur has one quality that makes it truly singular, it’s amazing ability to endure so well over nearly 2,000 years. Patrick looks further into this incredible feat, and it’s equally enduring influential impact. However the Pantheon’s true purpose is hotly debated by scholars today. Was it solely a temple, or was it meant to be a stately backdrop for Roman emperors? Find out more in this episode of the A.D. History Podcast.
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Hosted by Paul K. DiCostanzo & Patrick Foote
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