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Women in the Classical World: Image and Text
     

Women in the Classical World: Image and Text

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by Elaine Fantham
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Donna Seaman
It's no easy task to assemble accurate portraits of the women of ancient Greece and Rome. Fantham and her collaborators--all professors of classics, history, art history, or Latin--have conducted diligent searches of surviving sources, both literary and visual, to chronicle the lives of women both famous and anonymous, aristocratic and indentured, worshiped and abused. The result is a unique illustrated chronological survey of women's lives built upon a foundation of vivid cultural and social history and laced with poetry, anecdotes, and original interpretations. Women are portrayed within the contexts of household customs, sexual mores, experiences in marriage, outlets for creativity, religion, motherhood, and politics. Each sphere is illuminated in surprising detail, the result of careful yet passionate study of all kinds of texts, from medical treatises to trade documents and literature, as well as by astute scrutiny of images found on monuments, decorative arts, murals, and sculptures. Fantham and company have achieved an exciting and invaluable synthesis of visual and literary materials, a triumph, in sum, of scholarship and analysis.
From the Publisher
"A much needed book which synthesizes text and image very effectively for undergraduates."—Wendy Slatkin, University of Redlands

"Well-written and well-organized text. Good use of artistic and archaeological evidence."—Thea Smith, University of Cincinnati

"A broad range of primary sources is well integrated into interpretive essays on various aspects of the female experience in Greek and Roman societies. The authors are to be congratulated for doing such a good job of introducing the students to the issues."—W.J. Murnane, University of Memphis

"Highly interesting!"—Ann Nauman, St. Joseph Seminary College

"One of the finest works to emerge from recent feminist scholarship....This is the first study to recognize the bounty that previously-ignored source material yields....Seasoned scholars and novices alike will be entranced by this clearly written, richly illustrated account of a mysterious age."—Bookman's World

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199879212
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
09/15/1994
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,027,927
File size:
11 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

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Meet 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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Women in the Classical World: Image and Text 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Manirul More than 1 year ago
Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!