Women in the Ancient World – Reed Magazine

ANME 377 with Prof. Ellen Millender explores gender, sexuality, and energy in historical societies.

September 23, 2021

Wandering wombs. Murdering mothers. Calculating queens. The life of women in the ancient Mediterranean had been considerably additional advanced, and extra fluid, than is normally portrayed. This training course, Ancient Mediterranean Scientific studies 377, investigates the feminine encounter in the Mediterranean from the eighth century BCE to the 1st century CE. We get started with the hanging solid of feminine characters in Homer’s Odyssey, Sappho’s renowned poetic fragments, and the unforgettable protagonist of Euripides’ Medea. We examine healthcare texts on the wandering womb and the frightening female human body, an Athenian speech that recounts the everyday living of a prostitute named Naeara, and a loaded source of proof on girls in Ptolemaic Egypt. We study the fictitious letters that the Roman author Ovid penned from popular heroines to their lovers, these as Penelope’s letter to Odysseus, and master about the feminine members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in imperial Rome. 

In excess of the class of the semester we intently review literary, documentary, and archaeological evidence that illuminates historic concepts about the woman gender, attitudes towards women, women’s every day lived practical experience, the woman existence cycle, and the numerous practical and symbolic roles that girls performed in the historical Mediterranean. Subject areas covered in this class consist of scientific information and folklore relating to both gender and sexuality, the building of the feminine in historical literature and art, philosophical therapies of gender, and the political, authorized, financial, and social position of women of all ages in archaic and classical Greece, in the Hellenistic Greek world, and in the Roman Republic and early Empire.

“I unquestionably enjoy the substance that we go over in this class,” states Prof. Ellen Millender. “From Homer’s Odyssey to Athenian pottery to inscriptions of feminine gladiators! How amazing is that? What I especially appreciate about the program is how it takes the learners to societies that are in many strategies so alien from our possess but are at moments also disturbingly familiar in terms of their gender mores.”

Prof. Millender is the Omar & Althea Hoskins Professor of Greek, Latin, and Historical Mediterranean Scientific studies and Humanities at Reed College, in which she has taught because 2002. She has revealed on quite a few facets of Spartan society, which includes literacy, kingship, navy business, and girls. Her the latest do the job contains chapters on Spartan girls and kingship for the Blackwell Companion to Sparta and content on the heroization of the Spartan princess Cynisca, Thucydides’ cure of Spartan speech, and Spartan commanders in Xenophon’s Anabasis. Forthcoming publications include things like scientific tests of the Athenian Xenophon’s cure of Spartan obedience, Spartan feminine luxury in Plato’s Guidelines and Aristotle’s Politics, and Spartan management.

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