Houses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of Brothels, Houses, and Taverns in the Greek World by Allison GlazebrookHouses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of Brothels, Houses, and Taverns in the Greek World by Allison Glazebrook

Houses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of Brothels, Houses, and Taverns in the Greek World

EditorAllison Glazebrook, Barbara Tsakirgis

Hardcover | April 20, 2016

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The study of ancient Greek urbanism has moved from examining the evidence for town planning and the organization of the city-state, or polis, to considerations of "everyday life." That is, it has moved from studying the public (fortifications, marketplaces, council houses, gymnasiums, temples, theaters, fountain houses) to studying the private (the physical remains of Greek houses). But what of those buildings that housed activities neither public nor private—brothels, taverns, and other homes of illicit activity? Can they be distinguished from houses? Were businesses like these run from homes? Classical Athenian writers attest to a diverse urban landscape that included tenement houses (sunoikiai), inns (diaitai, pandokeia), factories (ergasteria), taverns (kapelia), gambling dens (skirapheia), training schools (didaskaleia), and brothels (porneia), yet, despite our knowledge of specific terms, associating them with actual physical remains has not been easy. One such writer, Isaeus, mentions tenement houses that hosted prostitutes and wine sellers, while his contemporary Aeschines refers to doctors, smiths, fullers, carpenters, and pimps renting space. Were tenement houses not simply multi-inhabitant spaces but also multipurpose ones?

Houses of Ill Repute is the first book to focus on the difficulties of distinguishing private and semiprivate spaces. While others have studied houses or brothels, this volume looks at both together. The chapters, by leading scholars in the field, address such questions as "What is a house?" and "Did the business of prostitution leave behind a unique archaeological record?" Presenting several approaches to identifying and studying distinctions between domestic residences and houses of ill repute, and drawing on the fields of literature, history, and art history and theory, the volume's contributors provide a way forward for the study of domestic and entertainment spaces in the Hellenic world.

Contributors: Bradley A. Ault, Allison Glazebrook, Mark L. Lawall, Kathleen M. Lynch, David Scahill, Amy C. Smith, Monika Trümper, Barbara Tsakirgis.

Allison Glazebrook is Associate Professor of Classics at Brock University. With Madeleine Henry, she edited Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean, 800 BCE-200 CE. Barbara Tsakirgis is Associate Professor of Classics at Vanderbilt University.
Title:Houses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of Brothels, Houses, and Taverns in the Greek WorldFormat:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:April 20, 2016Publisher:University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.Language:English

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ISBN - 10:0812247566

ISBN - 13:9780812247565

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Introduction Allison Glazebrook and Barbara Tsakirgis The study of Hellenic urbanism has developed from an investigation of the evidence for town planning, the identification of particular architectural features constituting a polis (fortifications, agora, bouleuterion, prytaneion, gymnasium, temple, theater, and fountain houses), to considerations of "everyday life" based on the physical remains of private structures, Greek oikiai . But what about activity that exists somewhere between the public and private realms? Classical Athenian writers attest to a diverse urban landscape that includes not only private houses but also tenement houses ( sunoikiai ), inns ( diaitai , pandokeia ), factories ( ergastēria ), taverns ( kapeleia ), gambling dens ( skirapheia ), training schools ( didaskaleia ), and brothels ( porneia ) (Isae. 6.19-21; Ar. Vesp . 109-14, 550; Dem. 27.19 and 28.12; Isoc. 287; Aeschin. 1.24). Yet, despite our knowledge of specific terminology, associating these terms with actual physical remains is not an easy task. Isaeus mentions a sunoikia in the Peiraeus housing prostitutes and one in the Kerameikos district selling wine (Isae. 6.19-20). Aeschines refers to doctors, smiths, fullers, carpenters, and pimps renting space in another (1.24). The term sunoikia , regularly translated as tenement house, might have implied not simply multioccupancy, but also multipurpose function. Current research on Greek domestic architecture, furthermore, has revealed the lack of zoning in ancient Greek cities (Tsakirgis 2005) and raises questions concerning whether or not the physical polis should be thought of in terms of a modern city where houses and commercial areas are largely separate. Apollodoros, for example, suggests that his opponent Stephanos was running a brothel out of his oikia ([Dem.] 59.67), that is, mixing private residential with commercial function in one building. Depending on the interpretation of this passage, brothels in oikiai are either shocking or a normal occurrence (see also Aeschin. 1.124 on Timarchos). Socrates, in turn, proposes that Aristarchos should put his female relatives to work baking, cooking, and weaving and then selling the surplus items for profit (Xen. Mem . 2.7). The only objection to this plan appears to be that it should be slaves who undertake such work for profit. The collocation of work space and living space was a definite feature of the physical landscape at both Olynthos and Athens (Cahill 2005: 65; Tsakirgis 2005: 79). The material remains together with the literary sources suggest the need to think about what constitutes nonpublic urban architecture and consider where, or even if, a line can be drawn between the identification of residences and commercial buildings. From Houses to Taverns The starting point for the discussion, and the baseline against which all else will be measured in this volume, is the ancient Greek house. The study of ancient houses has evolved tremendously in the past century and especially in the past thirty years. Previously, houses were viewed only as the repository for works of art, like mosaic pavements and fresco paintings, and little considered for their architectural details, layout, and what both could tell us about the social life of the inhabitants. That Greek houses were excavated at all and subject to scholarly publication was in large part due to the attention previously paid to the houses of Roman Campania and the large residences built in the final century of habitation on the Aegean island of Delos. The latter, while nominally in Greek territory, were as much the expression of the wealthy Roman traders who inhabited the island in its last major phase, as products of Greek cultural and social practice. Attention paid to Greek houses intensified after the Second World War. Modern geopolitical events played little role in this altered focus; rather, the influence of research by prehistorians revealed that hitherto ignored aspects of the domestic setting, including floral and faunal remains and the spatial distribution of finds, could serve as eloquent testimony to human action and interaction within the house. Previously, the spatial mapping of finds in houses had been done, quite fortuitously, in the excavation of the houses at Olynthos (Cahill 2002), but beginning in the 1970s and 1980s the practice became widespread in the excavation of houses throughout the territories once inhabited by Greeks. This new information vastly increased the possibility of analyzing the use of space within houses and advancing our understanding of the social use of space in the domestic environment. One of the first scholars to appreciate fully the potential of this information was Michael Jameson of Stanford University. Jameson had long worked on social, especially religious, practices of the Greeks and was deeply involved in the excavations at Halieis in the Argolid in Greece. The excavations at Halieis became a laboratory for the unearthing and recording of all finds from the houses and allowed for a much deeper understanding of domestic lives. Bradley Ault''s 2005 publication of the houses and their attendant assemblages attests to the value of this approach to interpreting the domestic material. Jameson also published in 1990 two articles that have had long-lasting positive implications for the study of Greek houses. In those nearly identical contributions, Jameson spoke to the value of Greek houses as sources for Greek social life; in many ways the present volume stems from that conviction. In addition, Jameson argued for the value of the archaeological evidence as independent from the scant and prejudiced literary sources on Greek houses, especially in light of material evidence that seems to contradict the written. Jameson''s clarion call has been answered by numerous scholars working on Greek houses and households. Analysis of the houses and attendant domestic assemblages at Halieis by Bradley Ault (2005a), as mentioned above, and the reexamination by Nicholas Cahill (2002) of the domestic impedimenta and their find spots in the Olynthian houses have proven the great value of a close look at the humble objects left behind by the residents of a house. Margriet Haagsma has done the same for the early Hellenistic houses at New Halos. In two books, Lisa Nevett (1999, 2010b) has also taken up the banner of spatial analysis, extending her view over houses from the Iron Age through the Hellenistic periods, and from both the Greek mainland and the other areas of the Greek world. Recently she has begun the excavation of a house at Olynthos using the principles of total recovery, so that the floral and faunal remains will get their due in an understanding of the domestic environment at this northern Greek site. Lisa Nevett and Bradley Ault''s volume, Ancient Greek Houses and Households: Chronological, Regional, and Social Diversity (2005a), highlighted the contribution of domestic archaeology to our understanding of the social, cultural, and economic organization of the polis. They acknowledge that while a rich record of literary references to the oikos remains extant, these texts are Athenocentric and present the elite male perspective. The archaeological record, in contrast, reveals a broad range of living and working arrangements, and their volume thus paved the way for the present one. According to several of the authors writing for that volume, some of whom have written again for this book, oikoi were not simply self-sufficient, but directly involved in market exchange. Even more wealthy oikoi , for example, might include some form of industrial activity. Ault and Nevett and their fellow authors emphasize the importance of looking for patterns in ground plans and the careful plotting of actual finds. Contributors examining oikoi from Athens, Olynthos, Delos, and Sardis demonstrate ways in which the physical oikos connected to a diverse social and economic life within the polis. The collection adopts a broad interpretation of "house" based on whether or not the structure has "the full range of domestic activities represented" (165). The present volume builds on this very important work by considering both houses and those purporting to be "houses of ill repute"—establishments for transient populations and entertainment. While Ault touches on these types of structures in his chapter, "Housing the Poor and Homeless in Ancient Greece," in the aforementioned volume, that earlier collection more commonly centers on oikoi as places of permanent residence. The examination of brothels and the evidence for them in the Greek world follow logically from the recent 2011 volume Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean, 800 BCE-200 CE (2011), edited by Madeleine M. Henry and Allison Glazebrook. While the existence of brothels in Classical Greece has not been in dispute, both disagreement over their physical identifiers and hesitation to examine a less seemly side of antiquity have heretofore resulted in a paucity of scholarship on the topic. The several essays appearing in Glazebrook and Henry''s volume on Greek prostitutes are foundational to, but in no way repetitive of, the considerations presented in this volume. Similarly, the use of context pottery to elucidate social settings, as will be presented in the chapters by Ault, Lawall, and Lynch in this volume, draws in its methodology from books such as The Symposium in Context: Pottery from a Late Archaic House Near the Athenian Agora , an award-winning study authored by Kathleen Lynch (2011b). The contextualization of the remains, including both pottery and other small finds, is a fundamental approach proven valuable in each of these essays here to our understanding of the humble buildings, whether strictly domestic or mixed use, and the varied activities that went on in them. The types of objects and their spatial distribution within the buildings in which they were found can provide eloquent testimony to human behavior and the use of space. Urbanism Studying buildings and objects without consideration of their urban context is to deprive them of an essential feature that adds immeasurably to the understanding of those houses, brothels, and taverns, and their attendant finds. The houses and other buildings considered in the following pages are all found in the urban setting, being used by the general population by means of the thoroughfares that gave access to them, and interacting with neighboring buildings. Many of the buildings examined in the following chapters also shared walls with other structures, and so were intimately and inextricably linked to their neighbors. These facts are significant when one considers the role and functioning of houses, taverns, and brothels in the economy of the ancient city. In order to be easily accessible to patrons, commercial establishments were often located on major thoroughfares, at intersections, or near significant landmarks. Thus Building Z, examined below by Bradley Ault, lies just inside the Sacred Gate and very close to the Dipylon Gate of Athens, off two major streets of the ancient city. The South Stoa at Corinth, being restudied by David Scahill, is located at the end of the Lechaion Road, next to the open space of what would become the forum of Corinth. The tavern whose inscribed amphoras were previously published by Mark Lawall (2000) opens onto the road that led directly into the eastern side of the Athenian Agora. The accessibility of some of the buildings discussed in these pages, such as the House of the Lake on Delos, mentioned in the chapters by Allison Glazebrook and Monika Trümper, is bordered by four streets, such an easily accessible spot that it led Nicholas Rauh (1993) to assert that the house was a brothel. One as yet unanswered aspect of the urban setting of these commercial establishments is the ownership of both the houses and the possible taverns and brothels discussed below, and the relationship, if any, between the owners of such enterprises and previous owners of the buildings, or owners and residents of contiguous structures. Prosopographical evidence from the houses and shops of Classical Athens and Corinth is very scant, and we can identify neither the owners nor the occupants of the buildings. We make the last distinction because those who owned and those who resided in the buildings may not have been one and the same; commercial enterprises in Athens were often the province of metics, who were not allowed to possess real estate before the fourth century BCE. This means that while the businesses of sex, entertainment, and drink may have been profitable for the brothel and tavern keepers, the buildings themselves may have been profitable for owners who kept their hands free of the commercial activities by merely charging rent to those who ran such establishments, and not by selling wine and women themselves (Glazebrook 2011a). The urban setting for the houses, brothels, and taverns, and their role in the economy, can also be seen when one interrogates the small finds, as Kathleen Lynch, Bradley Ault, and several others do in their chapters. The pottery recovered from private residences and commercial enterprises was produced elsewhere, either in the Greek city or farther away, as was the case with the transport amphoras (and their erstwhile contents) studied by Mark Lawall. In order to purchase these vessels for use at home or in the tavern or brothel, the buyer needed both to visit a seller and to have the goods transported to his brothel or tavern. Thus the road system discussed above served not only as access for customers to the brothels and taverns but also as the means of access for the commodities sold. While it has long been recognized that ancient cities had no formal or legislated zoning in the Classical period, we can also recognize from the written and material record that self-selected zoning did take place. Thus the so-called Industrial District of Athens southwest of the Agora consists of a number of houses and shops where stone working was done (Young 1951; Shear 1969: 383-94). As places of entertainment, brothels and taverns likely clustered in high-traffic areas, such as an agora, a harbor, or near city gates, without being segregated from spaces of habitation (whether single-family dwellings or tenement houses) (Glazebrook 2011a). Scope of the Volume This book tackles in particular the problem of the identification of private buildings in the ancient Greek city through the examination of artifactual assemblages, architectural design, and facilities such as water sources, with a focus on such issues as determining what amount and types of pottery represent a domestic structure versus a nondomestic space such as a tavern or brothel. A fundamental question behind every one of the chapters is this: can we distinguish between places of permanent residence and places of temporary habitation and dining, like kapeleia , pandokeia , and porneia , where, while some may reside permanently, the transient daily visitors, who might eat, drink, have sex, and/or even sleep, outnumber the residents? Various chapters underscore the importance of archaeological assemblages and how such assemblages can and cannot be used to reconstruct the social and economic organization of the polis and its individual structures. The volume begins with a chapter by Barbara Tsakirgis on the identification, in both material and theoretical terms, of a house. While a great number of houses have now been excavated and published in the Greek world, and many have been recognized as having functions beyond simple residency, the question of how to define living space is still debated. Janett Morgan''s recent analysis (2011) of the houses in Athens and Olynthos is but one attempt to wrest more definitive definitions from the material remains, and the first chapter follows suit in its examination of the question "what is a house?" The determination of whether an excavated structure was a house depends on many factors, including its location, its date, and the socioeconomic level of its inhabitants, but examination of the architecture alone cannot answer the question. Ideally the matter is decided by observing how human beings acted and interacted within each building, but given that they went out of use long ago, our interpretation of the remains must come from an examination of the associated assemblages of finds in comparison with written accounts of Greek daily life. This chapter examines houses of the Classical and Hellenistic periods in order to allow the formulation of a definition of a Greek house; one of its objects is to establish the groundwork for the subsequent chapters in the volume. The second chapter, by Kathleen Lynch, examines artifacts recovered from a Late Archaic domestic well deposit (J 2:4) north of the Athenian Agora. Lynch argues that artifacts in context can help identify the function of structures and the spaces within them, and by applying that theory to the ceramic assemblage from the well, she demonstrates that household assemblages might be distinguished from those of brothels. Lynch acknowledges the unfortunately uneven archaeological preservation, formation processes, and disturbed stratigraphy, all of which contribute to a patchwork of evidence, but considers that the cleanup horizon after the Persian sack of Athens in 479 BCE provides the best evidence for Late Archaic household assemblages. Lynch presents the quantities of pottery in the deposit and the problems inherent in vessel quantification methodology. She makes comparisons to the material recovered from the Dema and Vari Houses in Attica, and the many houses excavated at Olynthos. One important contribution of her chapter concerns the large proportion of this household''s pottery that relates to hosting symposia. The well deposit is the first to allow the quantification of an Athenian household''s investment in the activity of drinking, thus allowing for arguments that focus on whether the presence of drinking vessels is an indicator of a commercial space of entertainment. In Chapter 3, Mark Lawall investigates the patterns of amphora discard from houses, shops, taverns, and brothels. Lawall notes that recent research draws attention to the various uses, reuses, discarding, rediscarding, and postexcavation "editing" of transport amphoras and concedes that such events might lead one to despair of any likelihood of using amphoras in the archaeological study of houses, shops, taverns, and brothels. Lawall argues, however, that certain patterns in the use and discard of amphoras do seem to allow a distinction between those used in typical households and those used in commercial settings. Commercial graffiti, for example, tend to cluster around the latter, while more generic markings are more widespread. Long-term storage of amphoras appears to have been common enough in both houses and shops, but large-scale discard tends to be more often associated with places of commerce. Lawall''s study takes him to Building Z in the Kerameikos, where Bradley Ault returns in the next chapter. In Chapter 4, Ault turns our attention again to Building Z in the Athenian Kerameikos, applying some of the arguments used earlier by Lynch in order to ask whether the structure was a house, tavern, or brothel. Building Z, excavated just within the Sacred Gate, spans five major phases between its initial construction ca. 430 BCE and its final destruction early in the first century BCE. Since Building Z lacks the earmarks of a public edifice, Ault follows the excavators in believing that it had a distinctly private character, despite the fact that it is twice the size of an average Classical Athenian house. Already in its first phase, Building Z contains evidence of expensive interior decoration and an ample water supply in its two courtyards; the excavators identified the use of the building in this phase as domestic in character. The artifacts, including fine ware drinking vessels, loomweights, votive deposits, and unusual examples of jewelry recovered from well-preserved destruction layers of the later phases, point to the Building Z''s exceptional nature, and the excavators have proposed that the building served as a tavern and inn with prostitutes in its third phase. Ault interrogates both the varied artifact assemblages and their evolving spatial configurations with an eye to assessing the character of Building Z. In Chapter 5, Monika Trümper takes the discussion into a later period by considering the locations deemed to have been of ill repute in Late Hellenistic Delos. Delos was a thriving cosmopolitan free port from about 167/166 to the mid-first century BCE, with high fluctuation in its multicultural, commerce-oriented population, and although it is very likely that this bustling harbor city provided facilities for activities of ill repute, namely taverns and brothels, their identification in the archaeological record is challenging. Trümper critically reviews two facilities, a putative taberna vinaria and a putative brothel, the so-called House of the Lake. While the taberna provides some evidence for the sale and consumption of wine, systematically contextualizing the House of the Lake within local domestic and public architecture shows that its identification as a purpose-built brothel cannot be maintained. The criteria used for this latter building''s identification as a location of ill repute would render up to 76 percent of all known Delian houses as potential purpose-built brothels. In the second part of her chapter, Trümper examines where else in Delos facilities of ill repute may have been located, following the criteria that have recently been developed for the identification of taverns and brothels (e.g., McGinn 2002; Ault 2005b; and Glazebrook 2011a and this volume [Chapter 8]). She identifies several buildings, such as the "Granite Palaestra" and the warehouses on the coast, as multifunctional commercial-residential buildings that could be used by many people, including the possibly for activities of ill repute. She concludes that given the lack of comprehensive conclusive find assemblages, ultimately it must remain unknown for now where the inhabitants of Delos enjoyed activities of ill repute. Her methodology, however, offers a systematic way of looking for diversity in the material remains. In Chapter 6, David Scahill also takes the reader out of Athens, now to Corinth, where he considers the South Stoa at Corinth and its function as a place of dining and observance of the cult of Aphrodite. Constructed sometime around the end of the fourth century BCE, the South Stoa may have been designed to house the delegates of the Corinthian League after its refounding by Demetrios Poliorketes, but, as with many stoas, it could have been put to any number of uses by the city and its citizens and its function probably changed over time. Scahill notes that the area of ancient Corinth in which the stoa was built hosted cult activity well into the Hellenistic period, and he argues that the South Stoa likely took on functions related to that cult activity rather than having served strictly as a commercial establishment. Early in its history, the stoa shows signs of having been used for banquet-like gatherings, and Scahill argues that these were probably centered on magistrates and cult activities. Whether or not these included the cult of Aphrodite is currently unknown, owing to the paucity of concrete evidence, but Scahill contends that the relationship between cult banqueting and the congregating of celebrants would more than likely invite informal if not formal connections with many forms of entertainment, potentially including prostitution. In the seventh chapter, Amy Smith analyzes the degree to which vase painting, ca. 550-350 BCE, can be used as evidence of nonpublic interior space as it was experienced in ancient Athens. She takes the vast majority of her examples from Athens''s democratic period (from 510 BCE), when red-figure artists enlivened their pots with many images of figures that cannot be identified as heroes or divinities, that is, not necessarily figures of myth. Among these nonmythic scenes, and even a few mythic illustrations, Smith sees indications of both social space, shown through activities and objects, and architectural space, illustrated with features of the built landscape, namely columns, doors, windows, and ladders, and she argues that both categories of space might be interpreted literally and metaphorically. The plethora of images of doors, some opening onto the marriage bed, for example, both indicate the appearance and use of doors and are used metaphorically to refer to the "secrets" held within. Smith contends that such conflation should not present us with an either/or choice in our interpretation of the scenes, but rather encourage us to read vase paintings, as well as the actors who populate them and the attributes they bear, in a nuanced manner. She asserts that the craftsmen who decorated these vases surely intended their images to be understood on many levels and perhaps differently by their variety of viewers. Similarly the vase evidence supports an emerging idea of flexibility of space and, contrary to our modern conceptions, discourages us from dividing interior space according to gender and in terms of labor. They further reveal the fallacy inherent in our search for "nonpublic interior" space. Living space in ancient Greece lay at the intersection of continuity from public to private and outside to inside. The final chapter, by Allison Glazebrook, takes us directly into the world of brothels and sex for sale, and how the former can be identified as a location of the latter by asking the question "Is There an Archaeology of Prostitution?" Glazebrook looks back on the evidence presented in some of the previous chapters and argues that while few examples of spaces of prostitution, like brothels, exist in the ancient material record of the Greek world, some, such as Building Z 3 in the Kerameikos, the Aphrodiseion at Markopoulo, and another in Piraeus, have been linked to prostitution in Classical Athens. She also examines spaces in Hellenistic and Roman Greece, such as in Thessaloniki and on Delos, where venues associated with prostitution have been identified. Glazebrook interrogates the features commonly used to identify such spaces of prostitution, including multiple entrances, easy visibility from the street, small rooms, multiple andrōnes , concentrations of sympotic ware, large cisterns, erotic graffiti, erotic objects, foreign jewelry, inscriptions, and concentrations of sympotic ware and loomweights. She asks important questions regarding how many of these features were necessary to define a space as a brothel or to associate other spaces with prostitution. Glazebrook argues that if such locations for sexual activity for hire can be identified from the material remains, we will be able to learn more about the various types of prostitutes in the Greek world and the reality of the world of prostitution. Why This Project Matters Why should the examination of humble buildings evoke so much interest? Houses surround us today, as in antiquity; it is worth remembering, in light of the scholarly focus on monumental buildings, that there were more houses than all public buildings combined in any given ancient city. The domestic environment, including the built form of the house and the attendant household assemblages, have much to tell us about the social organization of the Greeks, whether from the perspective of human reactions or the greater questions of the economy and religion. Less glamorous structures are also important sites of commercial activity. Brothels and taverns are an important feature of this economy. We know that the sex and entertainment trade flourished in ancient Athens and Corinth, and based on the accounts in Athenian oratory and comedy, we know that women worked as innkeepers, servers at taverns, and sex traffickers, as well as prostitutes. As a result, the study of brothels, taverns, and inns sheds light on the role of women in the ancient Greek economy. A richer picture of Greek urbanism that includes the complexity of activities undertaken in the Greek polis has the potential to shed light on the diversity of experiences as well as populations within ancient Greek cities, and enhance our understanding of the social and economic importance of the sex and entertainment industries in the Greek world. The first step toward a fuller and richer understanding of the nuances and complexity of private architecture is raising awareness about the richness of the urban landscape and considering methods for identifying structures in the archaeological record.

Editorial Reviews

"Houses of Ill Repute is a prime example of what can be gained by a careful study of archaeological contexts. The essays collected in the volume build on previous studies of domestic architecture by considering the evidence for structures used as Greek brothels and their urban context."—John Oakley, College of William and Mary