Classical Studies
CLA 9-264-2010

Women in Antiquity


Daily Schedule:

Introduction: Evidence for Women's History, Methodology

Day 1 Introductions, Types of Evidence, Methodology

  • Fantham et al. pgs. 5-12
  • Gruber-Miller, "Six Categories for Assessing the Representation of Women in Textbooks" (Moodle)
  • Semonides, How to Pick a Wife (L&F #57)


Day 2 Myths, Memories, and the Question of ancient Matriarchy

AM: Paleolithic and Neolithic figurines, women's work: textiles, the myth of matriarchy

PM: Minoan, Cycladic, and Mycenean women: evidence from painting, architecture, and Linear B

  • Ehrenberg, "Matriarchy, Patriarchy, or Equality" and "Was Minoan Crete a Matriarchy?" Women in Prehistory 63-76 and 109-18 (Moodle)
  • Ian Hodder, "Women and Men in Catalhoyuk" (Moodle)
  • Catalhoyuk (Anatolia)
  • Barber, Women's Work, Chs 1, 4 (Moodle)
  • J. Billigmeier and J. Turner, "The Socio-economic roles of women in Mycenean Greece," in Reflections of Women in Antiquity, ed. Helene Foley (Gordon and Breach 1981) 1-18. (Moodle)
    • Recommended Readings (on reserve):
    • Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves, Ch 2
    • Chris Witcombe, Venus of Willendorf (under Prehistoric) and Minoan Snake goddess (under Aegean)
    • Jeremy Rutter, Minoan Religion
    • Paul Rehak, "Imag(in)ing a Woman's World in Bronze Age Greece: The Frescoes from Xeste 3 at Akrotiri, Thera," in N. Rabinowitz and L. Auanger, eds., Among Women: From the Homosocial to the Homoerotic in the Ancient World (Texas 2002) 34-59.

Day 3 Mother Goddesses and archaic Greek religion

Day 4 Women's Life Stages in ancient Greece

  • Fantham et al. pgs. 19-49
  • Richlin, "The Ethnographer's Dilemma" (Moodle)
  • Interviews of Nigerian women (Oral Interview Project)
  • Informal Writing Assignment #1: Re-read the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and explore what it says about the stages of women's lives in archaic Greece, mother-daughter relationships, and women's relationships. What, according to the Hymn, is important to women at each stage of their life? Does the hymn present a positive model of female relationships? How does this model compare with other sources you have read from archaic Greece?

PM: Preparing for an oral interview (Laura Farmer and Brooke Bergantzel). Story Corps interview with Grace Lee Boggs.

Day 5 A Woman's Voice: Sappho

A.M. Presentation on archaic Greek women's choruses, Sappho's poetry, and Sappho Lesbian: Emily, Jessica, and Chloe

  • Snyder Chapter 1
  • Fantham et al. pgs. 12-22
  • Study Guide for Sappho
  • New Poems by Sappho (TLS 5 Feb 2014)
  • Group interview questions due (post on Moodle)
    • Recommended Readings:
    • Stehle, Eva. "Women in Performance in the Community." Performance and Gender in Ancient Greece: Nondramatic Poetry in its Setting. Princeton, 1997. 71-118.
    • Greene, Ellen. "Subjects, Objects, and Erotic Symmetry in Sappho's Fragments," Among Women: From the Homosocial to the Homoerotic in the Ancient World. Ed. N. S. Rabinowitz and L. Auanger. Texas, 2002. 82-105.
    • Most, Glenn. "Reflecting Sappho." Re-Reading Sappho: Reception and Transmission. Ed. Ellen Greene. Berkeley: California, 1996. 11-35.
    • De Jean, Introduction to Fictions of Sappho
    • Hallett, "Sappho and Her Social Context: Sense and Sensuality" Signs 4 (1979) 447-64.
    • Skinner, "Woman and Language in Archaic Greece, or, Why is Sappho a Woman?" in Rabinowitz and Richlin, eds., Feminist Theory and the Classics, 125-44.
    • Parker, "Sappho Schoolmistress" Transactions of the American Philological Association 123 (1993) 309-51
    • Winkler, "Double Consciousness in Sappho's Lyrics," in Constraints of Desire, 162-87; repr. in McClure, Sexuality and Gender in the Classical World

Day 6 The Exchange of Women: Concubines & Slaves

  • Fantham et al. pgs. 50-53
  • Hurmence, ed., My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk About Slavery: Twenty-one Oral Histories of Former North Carolina Slaves (Winston-Salem, NC:
    John F. Blair, Publisher, 1984), pp. 35-39 and 67-74 (Moodle)
  • Iliad 1.160-231, 318-361; 3.120-180; 6.365-465; Odyssey 1.424-444, 15.351-484; 18.304-45; 23.390-472 (Moodle)
  • Hesiod, The Creation of Women (also Fantham 40-42)
  • Euripides, Hecuba (Moodle)
  • Questions
    • Recommended Readings (on reserve):
    • Gerda Lerner: "The Woman Slave," The Creation of Patriarchy
    • F. I. Zeitlin, "Playing the Other: Theater, Theatricality, and the Feminine in Greek Drama," in McClure, Sexuality and Gender in the Classical World, 103-38
    • Rabinowitz, "Slaves with slaves: Women and class in Euripidean tragedy," in Joshel and Murnaghan, eds., Women and Slaves in Greco-Roman Culture, 56-68


Day 7 Athens: Women's standing in politics, law, and economics

AM Panel: Women and wealth: inheritance, occupations, prostitution--Kat, Evan, Ujjesa

PM: no class

  • Fantham et al. pgs. 68-83, 106-113
  • Lefkowitz & Fant plates 2, 3, 9 &10
  • How to Train a Wife (L&F #267)
  • Legal Status (L&F #80-87, 236)
  • Women's Response? (L&F #34)
  • Women and Women (L&F #226-227)
  • Working Women:
    • Prostitution (L&F #90, 225, 235, 287, 288 ) Theodote
    • Other Occupations (L&F #303, 317-18, 322-25, 327, 329-332, 376, 379)
  • More Questions
    • Recommended Readings (on reserve):
    • Blundell, Women in Ancient Greece, 113-24
    • Foxhall, Lin. "Household, Gender, and Property in Classical Athens." Classical Quarterly 39 (1989): 22-44.
    • Harris, E. "Workshop, Marketplace and Household: the nature of technical specialization in classical Athens and its influence on economy and society." Money, Labour and Land: Approaches to the Economies of Ancient Greece. Ed. P. Cartledge, E. Cohen, and L. Foxhall. London, 2002. 67-99.
    • Glazebrook, Allison. "Porneion: Prostitution in Athenian Civic Space." Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean. Ed. A. Glazebrook and M. Henry. Wisconsin, 2011. 34-59.
    • Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves, Ch 4
    • Keuls, "The Athenian Prostitute: A Good Buy in the Agora" in The Reign of the Phallos
    • Keuls, " The Whore with the Golden Heart, the Happy Hooker, and other Fictions" in The Reign of the Phallos
    • Kurke, "Inventing the Hetaira: Sex, Politics, and Discursive Conflict in Archaic Greece," Classical Antiquity 16 (1997) 106-50

Day 8 Athens: Women's sexuality as subject to social and legal control; domestic space

AM: Marriage, "good" and "bad" women in classical Athens, three lawcourt speeches

PM Panel: Women in domestic and civic space: housing, bathing, fountain house--Cynthia, Sam, Kent

  • Fantham et al. pgs. 109-118
  • Lysias, "On the Murder of Eratosthenes," Antiphon, "Against a Stepmother," and pseudo-Demosthenes, "Against Neaera" (L&F 88-90)
  • Good Wives: (L&F #29, 36-38, 237)
  • Bad Girls: (L&F #59-67, 88-89, 238)
  • Plato's Female Pupils (L&F #216)
  • Informal Writing Assignment #2: Describe your reactions after reviewing the Athenian laws and customs regarding adultery, concubinage, and prostitution and re-reading L&F #88-90. What attitude (or attitudes) regarding women's sexuality do you think these reveal? Do you perceive any inconsistencies or contradictions in these laws and customs? How do you think the women (both "respectable" women and "nonrespectable" women) might have reacted to these laws/customs and the male attitudes that underlie them? Please cite specific passages that are relevant to your argument.
    • Recommended Readings (some on reserve):
    • Nevett, Lisa. "Towards a Female Topography of the Ancient Greek City: Case Studies from Late Archaic and Early Classical Athens (520-400 BCE). Gender and History 23.3 (2011): 576-96.
    • Trumper, Monika. "Gender and Space, Public and Private." A Companion to Women in the Ancient World. Ed. S. James and S. Dillon. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. 288-303.
    • Morris, "Remaining Invisible: The Archaeology of the Excluded in Classical Athens" in Women and Slaves in Greco-Roman Culture
    • Trumper, Monika. "Space and Social Relationships in the Greek Oikos of the Classical and Hellenistic Periods." A Companion to Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Ed. B. Rawson. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 32-52.
    • Trumper, Monika. "Gender-differentiation in Greek public baths." SPA Sanitas per Aquam. Proceedings of the International Frontinus-Symposium on the Technical and Cultural History of Ancient Baths. Ed. R. Kreiner and W. Letzner. Peeters, 2012.
    • Blundell, Women in Ancient Greece, 124-26, 147-48
    • Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves, Ch 5
    • Patterson, Cynthia B. "Marriage and the Married Woman in Athenian Law." Women's History and Ancient History. Ed. S. Pomeroy. Chapel Hill: North Carolina, 1991. 48-72.
    • Johnstone, "Cracking the Code of Silence: Athenian Legal Oratory and the Histories of Slaves and Women" in Joshel and Murnaghan, eds., Women and Slaves in Greco-Roman Culture
    • Williams, "Women on Athenian Vases: Problems of Interpretation," in Images of Women in Antiquity
    • Halperin, "The Democratic Body," in One Hundred Years of Homosexuality

Day 9 Women's Roles in Greek Religion

A.M. Presentation: Women's Roles in Civic and Private Religion: festivals, votives, priestesses, magical spells--Maitland, Tessa, Erin

HAIG lecture: Prof. Catherine Stewart, "The New Maid: Real Stories during the Great Depression of African American Domestics and the Color Line." Hedges, 11:10 a.m.

PM: Workshop: Editing your interviews and making a podcast: Brooke Bergantzel, Laura Farmer, Matt Zhorne

  • Fantham et al. pgs.83-97
  • Religion (L&F #77, 391-92, 394-96, 398-400, 402-405)
  • one of the following two articles (Moodle):
    Bella Zweig, "The Primal Mind: Using Native American Models for the Study of Women in Ancient Greece," in Feminist Theory and the Classics, ed. N. Sorkin Rabinowitz and A. Richlin (Routledge 1993) 145-80.
    Jill Dubisch, "Gender, Kinship, and Religion: 'Reconstructing' the Anthropology of Greece," in Contested Identities: Gender and Kinship in Modern Greece, ed. P. Loizos and E. Papataxiarchis (Princeton 1991) 33-46.
    • Recommended Readings (one on reserve):
    • Clark, "The Gamos of Hera: Myth and Ritual" in The Sacred and the Feminine in Ancient Greece
    • Nixon, "The Cults of Demeter and Kore" in Women in Antiquity: New Assessments
    • Stehle and Day, "Women Looking At Women: Women's Ritual and Temple Structure" in Sexuality in Ancient Art
    • Stears, "Death Becomes Her: Gender and Athenian Death Ritual" in The Sacred and the Feminine in Ancient Greece
    • Winkler, "Laughter of the Oppressed: Demeter and the Gardens of Adonis" in Constraints of Desire
    • Zeitlin, "Cultic Models of the Female: Rites of Dionysus and Demeter" in Playing the Other

Day 10 Women outside of Athens: Spartan Women, Amazons, Classical Women Poets

AM: Spartan Women, Amazons, Classical Women Poets

PM: no class

  • Fantham et al. pgs. 56-66, 128-35
  • Greek Myths and Legends of Womanpower (Diotima)
  • Snyder, "Women Poets of Fifth Century Greece," chapter 2
  • Telesilla (L&F # 160)
  • Lefkowitz & Fant #76, 95-100,
  • Alkman, Parthenion
    • Recommended Readings
    • Neils, Jenifer. "Spartan Girls and the Athenian Gaze." A Companion to Women in the Ancient World. Ed. S. James and S. Dillon. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. 153-66.
    • Pomeroy, Sarah. Spartan Women. Oxford, 2002.


Day 11 Women's Bodies: Ancient Medical Theories, dress and portraiture, initiation rites

A.M. Panel Presentation: women's bodies, medical theories, dress and portraiture, initiation rites--Rachel, Jamie, Kendra

  • Fantham et al. "Excursus on Anatomy" (pgs. 183-203)
  • King, "Producing Woman: Hippocratic Gynaecology," in Women in Ancient Societies
  • Hiring a wet nurse (L&F #250)
  • A philosopher on breast-feeding (L&F #253)
  • Gynecology & Reproductive Issues (L&F #338-381)
  • Cures of women at Epidauros (L&F 406)
  • Greek and Roman surgical instruments (Asclepion)
  • Questions to Ponder
  • Study Guides:
  • Recommended Readings (on reserve):
    • King, "Bound to Bleed: Artemis and Greek Women," in McClure, Sexuality and Gender in the Classical World, 77-97.
    • King, "Self-help, self-knowledge: in search of the patient in Hippocratic Gynaecology," in Hawley and Levick, eds., Women in Antiquity: New Assessments
    • Dean-Jones, "The Cultural Construct of the Female Body in Classical Greek Science," in Pomeroy, ed., Women's History and Ancient History
    • Valerie French, Midwives and Maternity Care in the Roman World," Helios 13.2 (1986) 69-84.
    • Lee, Mireille. "Dress and Adornment in Archaic and Classical Greece." A Companion to Women in the Ancient World. Ed. S. James and S. Dillon. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. 179-90.
    • Donohue, A. A. "Interpreting Women in Archaic and Classical Greek Sculpture." A Companion to Women in the Ancient World. Ed. S. James and S. Dillon. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. 167-78.
    • Dillon, Sheila. "Female Portraiture in the Hellenistic Period." A Companion to Women in the Ancient World. Ed. S. James and S. Dillon. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. 263-77.
    • Salomon, "Making a World of Difference: Gender, Asymmetry, and the Greek Nude," in Koloski-Ostrow and Lyons, eds., Naked Truths, 197-219.

Day 12 Hellenistic Culture, Women Poets & Philosophers

AM: Panel: Women's Education: domestic arts, religious rites, choral song, literacy and numeracy--Delanie, Katherine, Alec, Glory-Lieb

  • draft transcript of the podcast due
  • informal writing assignment 3 : Three Greek sculptures of women
  • Fantham et al. pgs.140-180
  • Snyder Chapter 3
  • women painters (L&F #307)
  • Hipparchia (L&F #217-218)
  • More Questions
    • Recommended Readings (on reserve):
    • Cole, "Could Greek Women Read and Write?" in Reflections of Women in Antiquity
    • Cribiore, Raffaella. "Woman and Education." Gymnastics of the Mind: Greek Education in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt. Princeton, 2001. 74-101.
    • Stehle, Eva. "The Good Daughter: Mothers' Tutelage in Erinna's Distaff and Fourth-century Epitaphs." Making Silence Speak: Women's Voices in Greek Literature and Society. Ed. A. Lardinois and L. McClure. Princeton, 2001.
    • Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves, Ch 7


Day 13 Early Roman Legends; Women in the early Republic; Etruscan Women

A.M. Panel: Roman Foundation myths (Sabine women, Tarpeia, Cloelia, Lucretia), Etruscan women, Vestal virgins--Sarah, Hayley, Vicky

  • Fantham et al. (pgs. 211-241, 243-58, 260-65)
  • Livy's accounts of the Sabine Women, Tarpeia, Lucretia, and Cloelia (L&F #233, 166, 165)
  • Marriage & Social Status: Laws of the Kings, The Twelve Tables ( L&F #107-111, 208, 213)
  • Case Study: Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi (L&F 51-3, 223, 259-60)
  • Aristocratic Women (L&F #71, 173, 174, 176, 178)
  • Vestal Virgins (L&F # 408-413)
    • Recommended Readings:
    • Joshel, "The Body Female and the Body Politic: Livy's Lucretia and Verginia," in McClure, Sexuality and Gender in the Classical World, 163-87.
    • Stehle, "Venus, Cybele, and the Sabine Women: The Roman Construction of Female Sexuality," Helios 16.2 (1989) 143-64.
    • Dixon, "Rape in Roman Law and Myth," in Reading Roman Women, 45-55.
    • Hallett, Judith. "Women in Augustan Rome." A Companion to Women in the Ancient World. Ed. S. James and S. Dillon. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. (on reserve)
    • Mary Beard, "Re-reading Vestal Virginity," in Hawley and Levick, eds., Women in Antiquity: New Assessments, 166-77.

Guest Lecture: Judith Simmer-Brown, "Mindful Awareness and Leadership Development: Wisdom Insights from the Tibetan Sacred Feminine," Hall-Perrine, Jan 27, 11:10 a.m.

PM: Discussion of Roman women and wealth and religion

Day 14 Women, Family and Sexuality in the Late Republic & Early Empire

A.M. Panel: Women, Family and Sexuality in the Late Republic & Early Empire: Augustan marriage laws, Ara Pacis, Pompeian brothels--Missy, Alex, Sheree

  • Complete draft of Letter to woman interviewed due at time of conference; please bring to the conference a hard copy of the letter.
  • Fantham et al. (pgs. 271-77, 280-292 (skim), 294-306, 314-321)
  • Marriage, Family, Divorce, & Social Status (L&F # 41, 43-45, 48-50, 69, 120-131, 191, 211, 242, 249, 253, 258)
  • Adultery & Sexual Crimes ( L&F # 123-127, 142-47, 240, 265)
  • Case Studies: Clodia (L&F 71) and Sempronia (L&F 174)
  • The Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace)
    • Recommended Readings:
    • Cohen, "The Augustan Law on Adultery: The Social and Cultural Context" in The Family in Italy from Antiquity to the Present
    • Zanker, Paul. The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus. Michigan 1988. 156-62, 167-83, esp. 172-83. 
    • Flemming, "Quae Corpore Quaestum Facit: The Sexual Economy of Female Prostitution in the Roman Empire," Journal of Roman Studies 89 (1999) 38-61
    • Edwards, " Unspeakable Professions: Public Performance and Prostitution in Ancient Rome," in Hallett and Skinner, eds., Roman Sexualities, 66-95
    • Levin-Richardson, Sarah. “fututa sum hic: Female Subjectivity and Agency in Pompeian Sexual Graffiti.” Classical Journal 108.3 (2013): 319–45.
    • Myerowitz, "The Domestication of Desire: Ovid's Parva Tabella and the Theater of Love," in Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome
    • Treggiari, "Ideals and Practicalities in Matchmaking in Ancient Rome" in The Family in Italy from Antiquity to the Present
    • Hallett, "Female Homoeroticism and the Denial of Roman Reality in Latin Literature" in Roman Sexualities

Day 15 Art in Roman Life

  • podcast completed
  • Visit the Riley Collection at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art: departure from the Commons Circle at 9:30 a.m. followed by lunch in CR.
  • L&F 39-43, 47, 168-172, 239, 254-56
  • Writing Assignment (optional): Describe in detail how the life of an upper-class Roman woman of the late Republic/early Empire differed strikingly from that of an upper-class woman in classical Athens in TWO of the following five areas: 1) guardianship; 2) economic capacities; 3) marital roles; 4) political roles; 5) religious roles. For each of the two areas that you choose to describe, support your statements about the Roman women with specific information (including at least one direct quotation) from the readings from Fantham, et al. (Chapters 9 and 11) and/or Pomeroy (Chapters 8 and 10)(on reserve). What do you think accounted for these differences?

PM: Individual Writing Conferences: please bring to the conference a hard copy of the letter.

Day 16 Elite Women: Roman Women Writers, Cleopatra, Imperial Women

AM Panel: Women and wealth

  • Final draft of the letter due at 5:00 p.m.
  • Fantham et al. (pgs. 136-139, 307-313, 322-27, 345-68)
  • Snyder, Chapter 5
  • Hallett, Elite Roman women: public speech, literary interests and education (course pack)
  • Case Studies: McManus, brief biography of Livia, wife of Augustus; Octavia, Augustus' sister (Fantham et al. 274-75); Julia, Augustus' daughter (L&F #265-66); Cleopatra: (L&F #175); Women of Pompeii: Eumachia (#196); Mamia (#425)
  • Sulpicia the Satirist (L&F #224)
  • one of the following two articles (Moodle):
    Hallett "Woman as Same and Other in Classical Roman Elite" Helios 16 (1989)
    Fischler, "Social Stereotypes and Historical Analysis: The Case of Imperial Women at Rome" in Women in Ancient Societies
  • Aristocratic Women (L&F 68, 71, 75, 168, 170-174, 176, 192-201, 209, 214, 219, 243-248, 263, 345-368)
  • Imperial Women (L&F # 180, 210, 220, 265-66)
  • Curses & Potions (L&F # 415-420)
    • Recommended Readings:
    • Parker, "Loyal Slaves and loyal wives: The crisis of the outsider-within and Roman exemplum literature," in Joshel and Murnaghan, eds., Women and Slaves in Greco-Roman Culture, 152-73, esp. 152-56 and 163-70
    • Hillard, "On the Stage, Behind the Curtain: Images of Politically Active Women in the Late Roman Republic," Helios 16 (1989)
    • Joshel, "Female Desire and the Discourse of Empire: Tacitus's Messalina" in Hallett and Skinner, eds. Roman Sexualities
    • Plutarch, "The Life of Antony" (see Cleopatra above)
    • Richlin, Julia's Jokes, Galla Placidia, and the Roman Use of Women as Political Icons," in Stereotypes of Women in Power
    • Wyke, "Augustan Cleopatras," in The Roman Mistress: Ancient and Modern Representation

Day 17 Working Women, Freedwomen & Slaves

  • Reflection on the Oral Interview Project due at 5:00 p.m.
  • Fantham et al. (pgs. 265-70, 330-44, 368-391)
  • Slaves & Prostitutes (L&F # 119, 155, 169, 181)
  • Midwives & Medical Practitioners (L&F # 369-375, 377-78, 380-382)
  • Freedwomen (L&F # 47, 212, 239, 251. 254)
  • Final Questions to Ponder

Day 18 Final Exam

Maintained by: Last Update: February 11, 2016 10:56 pm

Professor John Gruber-Miller
CLA 9-264-2010
Women in Antiquity

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