Women in the Classical World: Image and Text

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Information about women is scattered throughout the fragmented mosaic of ancient history: the vivid poetry of Sappho survived antiquity on remnants of damaged papyrus; the inscription on a beautiful fourth century B.C.E. grave praises the virtues of Mnesarete, an Athenian woman who died young; a great number of Roman wives were found guilty of poisoning their husbands, but was it accidental food poisoning, or disease, or something more sinister. Apart from the legends of Cleopatra, Dido and Lucretia, and images of graceful maidens dancing on urns, the evidence about the lives of women of the classical world--visual, archaeological, and written--has remained uncollected and uninterpreted. Now, the lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched Women in the Classical World lifts the curtain on the women of ancient Greece and Rome, exploring the lives of slaves and prostitutes, Athenian housewives, and Rome's imperial family. The first book on classical women to give equal weight to written texts and artistic representations, it brings together a great wealth of materials--poetry, vase painting, legislation, medical treatises, architecture, religious and funerary art, women's ornaments, historical epics, political speeches, even ancient coins--to present women in the historical and cultural context of their time. Written by leading experts in the fields of ancient history and art history, women's studies, and Greek and Roman literature, the book's chronological arrangement allows the changing roles of women to unfold over a thousand-year period, beginning in the eighth century B.C.E. Both the art and the literature highlight women's creativity, sexuality and coming of age, marriage and childrearing, religious and public roles, and other themes. Fascinating chapters report on the wild behavior of Spartan and Etruscan women and the mythical Amazons; the changing views of the female body presented in male-authored gynecological treatises; the "new woman" represented by the love poetry of the late Republic and Augustan Age; and the traces of upper- and lower-class life in Pompeii, miraculously preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 C.E. Provocative and surprising, Women in the Classical World is a masterly foray into the past, and a definitive statement on the lives of women in ancient Greece and Rome.
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About the author

Elaine Fantham is Giger Professor of Latin at Princeton University. Helene Peet Foley is Olin Professor of Classics at Barnard College. Natalie Boymel Kampen is Professor of Women's Studies and Art History at Barnard College. Sarah B. Pomeroy is Professor of History at Columbia University. H. Alan Shapiro is Professor of Classics at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Sep 15, 1994
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9780199879212
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / General
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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An introduction to women and gender in the classical world that draws on the most recent research in the field

Women in Classical Antiquity focuses on the important objects, events and concepts that combine to form a clear understanding of ancient Greek and Roman women and gender. Drawing on the most recent findings and research on the topic, the book offers an overview of the historical events, values, and institutions that are critical for appreciating and comparing the life situations of women across both cultures.

The author examines the lifecycle of women in ancient Greek and Rome beginning with how young females acquired the gendered characteristics necessary for adulthood. The text explores female adolescence, including concerns about virginity, medical views of the female body, religious roles, and education. Views of marriage, motherhood, sexual activity, adultery, and prostitution are also examined. In addition, the author explores how women exercised authority and the possibilities for their civic engagement. This important resource:

Explores the formation of classical women’s social identity through the life stages of birth, adolescence, marriage, childbirth, old age, and death Contains information on the most recent research in this rapidly evolving field Offers a review of the life course as a way to understand the social processes by which Greek and Roman females acquired gender traits Includes questions for review, suggestions for further reading, and a glossary of key terms

Written for academics and students of classical antiquity, Women in Classical Antiquity offers a general introduction to women and gender in the classical world.

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