Paul Chrystal has written the first full length study of women and warfare in the Graeco Roman world. Although the conduct of war was generally monopolized by men, there were plenty of exceptions with women directly involved in its direction and even as combatants, Artemisia, Olympias, Cleopatra and Agrippina the Elder being famous examples. And both Greeks and Romans encountered women among their 'barbarian' enemies, such as Tomyris, Boudicca and Zenobia. More commonly, of course, women were directly affected by war as noncombatant victims, of rape and enslavement as spoils of war and this makes up an important strand of the author's discussion. The portrayal of female warriors and goddesses in classical mythology and literature, and the use of war to justify gender roles and hierarchies, are also considered. Overall it is a landmark survey of how war in the Classical world affected and was affected by women.
The martial virtues—courage, loyalty, cunning, and strength—were central to male identity in the ancient world, and antique literature is replete with depictions of men cultivating and exercising these virtues on the battlefield. In Women and War in Antiquity, sixteen scholars reexamine classical sources to uncover the complex but hitherto unexplored relationship between women and war in ancient Greece and Rome. They reveal that women played a much more active role in battle than previously assumed, embodying martial virtues in both real and mythological combat. The essays in the collection, taken from the first meeting of the European Research Network on Gender Studies in Antiquity, approach the topic from philological, historical, and material culture perspectives. The contributors examine discussions of women and war in works that span the ancient canon, from Homer’s epics and the major tragedies in Greece to Seneca’s stoic writings in first-century Rome. They consider a vast panorama of scenes in which women are portrayed as spectators, critics, victims, causes, and beneficiaries of war. This deft volume, which ultimately challenges the conventional scholarly opposition of standards of masculinity and femininity, will appeal to scholars and students of the classical world, European warfare, and gender studies. -- Kurt Raaflaub, Brown University, coeditor of Raymond Westbrook’
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.
Selected by Choice as a 2012 Outstanding Academic Title Awarded a 2012 PROSE Honorable Mention as a Single Volume Reference/Humanities & Social Sciences A Companion to Women in the Ancient World presents an interdisciplinary, methodologically-based collection of newly-commissioned essays from prominent scholars on the study of women in the ancient world. The first interdisciplinary, methodologically-based collection of readings to address the study of women in the ancient world Explores a broad range of topics relating to women in antiquity, including: Mother-Goddess Theory; Women in Homer, Pre-Roman Italy, the Near East; Women and the Family, the State, and Religion; Dress and Adornment; Female Patronage; Hellenistic Queens; Imperial Women; Women in Late Antiquity; Early Women Saints; and many more Thematically arranged to emphasize the importance of historical themes of continuity, development, and innovation Reconsiders much of the well-known evidence and preconceived notions relating to women in antiquity Includes contributions from many of the most prominent scholars associated with the study of women in antiquity
"Professor Prichett is an acknowledged authority in more than a few techniques of investigation, and readers can immediately see that they are in safe hands. What can be known is clearly presented. What is not known is identified. Erroneous explanations throughout the history of classical scholarship are cited and disassembled. . . . He takes into account the special conditions that control interpretation of epigraphical texts. He includes matters of topography, numismatics, and vase-painting. He asks questions a reader might never have thought to ask, e.g., Where is booty from a battle sold? His questions and surveys lead naturally and inevitably to topics as large as the Athenian economy in the fourth century B.C."—A. L. Boegehold, Brown University "Pritchett's Greek State at War is one of the monuments of classical scholarship in our time. . . . A work that every student of Greek history will consult whenever he is concerned with war in the Greek world. No ancient historian can possibly do without it. . . . The implications of [the work] extend in many directions—into Greek psychology, religion, political thinking—and students will be kept busy for a long time in considering them in detail."—Sir Moses Finley
It has often been thought that participation in fertility rituals was women's most important religious activity in classical Greece. Matthew Dillon's wide-ranging study makes it clear that women engaged in numerous other rites and cults, and that their role in Greek religion was actually more important than that of men. Women invoked the gods' help in becoming pregnant, venerated the god of wine, worshipped new and exotic deities, used magic for both erotic and pain-relieving purposes, and far more besides. Clear and comprehensive, this volume challenges many stereotypes of Greek women and offers unexpected insights into their experience of religion. With more than fifty illustrations, and translated extracts from contemporary texts, this is an essential resource for the study of women and religion in classical Greece.