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Classical Studies: Women in the Classical World

Contents

A collection of resources on Women in the Classical World.

Diotima

Diotima : Materials for the Study of Women and Gender in the Ancient World : Interdisciplinary research tool for issues of gender in the classical world. Searchable for on-line book reviews, articles, images, and related databases. Provides links to related on-line resources.

Book Covers

Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Greek and Roman Women : Notable Women from Sappho to Helena

Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Greek and Roman Women : Notable Women from Sappho to Helena


A companion to women in the ancient world

A companion to women in the ancient world


Daughters of Gaia : Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Critical Moments in Classical Literature : Studies in the Ancient View of Literature and Its Uses


Encyclopedia of Women in the Ancient World 

Encyclopedia of Women in the Ancient World


Finding Persephone : Women's Rituals in the Ancient Mediterranean

Finding Persephone : Women's Rituals in the Ancient Mediterranean


Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves : Women in Classical Antiquity

Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves


Pandora's Daughters : the Role and Status of Women in Greek and Roman Antiquity

Pandora's Daughters : the Role and Status of Women in Greek and Roman Antiquity


Theodosian empresses : women and imperial dominion in late antiquity

Theodosian empresses : women and imperial dominion in late antiquity


Women in antiquity : real women across the ancient world

Women in antiquity : real women across the ancient world


Women's Life in Greece and Rome : a Source Book in Translation

Women's Life in Greece and Rome : a Source Book in Translation


Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800

Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800


Women's Roles in Ancient Civilizations : A Reference Guide

Women's Roles in Ancient Civilizations : A Reference Guide


Aphrodite's Tortoise : the Veiled Woman of Ancient Greece

Aphrodite's Tortoise : the Veiled Woman of Ancient Greece


The Constraints of Desire : the Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece

The Constraints of Desire : the Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece


Courtesans & Fishcakes : the Consuming Passions of Classical Athens

Courtesans & Fishcakes : the Consuming Passions of Classical Athens


Courtesans at Table : Gender and Greek Literary Culture in Athenaeus

Courtesans at Table : Gender and Greek Literary Culture in Athenaeus


The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women : Constructions and Reconstructions

The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women : Constructions and Reconstructions


Portrait of a Priestess : Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece

Portrait of a Priestess : Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece


The Reign of the Phallus ; Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens

The Reign of the Phallus ; Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens


Sappho's Lyre : Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece

Sappho's Lyre : Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece


Women in Ancient Greece

Women in Ancient Greece


Women of Ancient Greece

Women of Ancient Greece


From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins

From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins


The Herculaneum Women : History, Context, Identities

The Herculaneum Women : History, Context, Identities


Matrona Docta : Educated Women in the Roman Elite from Cornelia to Julia Domna

Matrona Docta : Educated Women in the Roman Elite from Cornelia to Julia Domna


Reading Roman Women : Sources, Genres and Real Life

Reading Roman Women : Sources, Genres and Real Life


Roman Women : Their History and Habits

Roman Women : Their History and Habits


Roman Women

Roman Women


Roman Women

Roman Women


Vestal Virgins, Sibyls, and Matrons : Women in Roman Religion

Vestal Virgins, Sibyls, and Matrons : Women in Roman Religion


Women and Beauty in Pompeii

Women and Beauty in Pompeii


Women and Religion in the First Christian Centuries

Women and Religion in the First Christian Centuries


Selected Books

Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Greek and Roman Women : Notable Women from Sappho to Helena / Marjorie Lightman and Benjamin Lightman. New York : Facts On File, c2000. 298pp. Reference Biography Alcove (1 East) HQ1136 .L54 2000  : Profiles the lives of women from archaic Greece in the seventh century BCE to the fall of Rome in 476 CE, including poet Julia Balbilla, Boudicca, Cleopatra III, Sappho, and Eurydice.

A companion to women in the ancient world / edited by Sharon L. James and Sheila Dillon.  Malden, MA : Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.  616pp.  Main Library HQ1127 .C637 2012 : 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

Daughters of Gaia : Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World / Bella Vivante.  Westport, Conn. : Praeger Publishers, 2007.  230pp.  Main Library Main Library HQ1127 .V56 2007 : From their personal lives at home to their roles in the realms of religion, health, economics, governance, war, philosophy, and poetry, this is the story of ancient women in all their aspects. Vivante explores women's lives in four ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome. While the experiences of women in ancient cultures were certainly very different from those of most women today, a tendency to focus too much on negative or restrictive images has until now provided readers with a rather incomplete picture. Looking at this important era from a female-oriented perspective, Vivante widens the perceptual lens and makes it possible to highlight the fundamental empowered aspects of women's activities in order to present them in balance with the various limits imposed on their societal participation. 

Encyclopedia of Women in the Ancient World / Joyce E. Salisbury ; foreword by Mary Lefkowitz. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c2001. Reference (1 East) HQ1127 .S25 2001 : Telling the stories of many women from the ancient world, Salisbury shows the choices they made in their lives as they looked for happiness, wealth, power, or well-being for their families. Her coverage extends from earliest recorded Mesopotamia through Jewish matriarch and heroines, Egyptian queens and consorts, and Alexandrian times, to the classical ages of Greece and Rome to about the year 500. Whereas many such books assume a fair degree of familiarity with conventional history and just add in the missing women, she does not, and explains the historical context. Cross-references and bibliographies follow each entry.

Finding Persephone : Women's Rituals in the Ancient Mediterranean / edited by Maryline Parca and Angeliki Tzanetou.  Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2007.  327pp.  Main Library BL625.7 .F485 2007 : Drawing upon the latest research in gender studies, history of religion, feminism, ritual theory, performance, anthropology, archaeology, and art history, Finding Persephone investigates the ways in which the religious lives and ritual practices of women in Greek and Roman antiquity helped shape their social and civic identity. Barred from participating in many public arenas, women asserted their presence by performing rituals at festivals and presiding over rites associated with life passages and healing. The essays in this lively and timely volume reveal the central place of women in the religious and ritual practices of the societies of the ancient Mediterranean. Readers interested in religion, women's studies, and classical antiquity will find a unique exploration of the nature and character of women's autonomy within the religious sphere and a full account of women's agency in the public domain.

Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves [electronic resource] : Women in Classical Antiquity / Sarah B. Pomeroy.  New York : Schocken Books, c1995.  267pp.  HQ1134  Online;  Also available in print : (Main Library HQ1134 .P64 1975, 265pp.) : "The first general treatment of women in the ancient world to reflect the critical insights of modern feminism. Though much debated, its position as the basic textbook on women's history in Greece and Rome has hardly been challenged."

Pandora's Daughters : the Role and Status of Women in Greek and Roman Antiquity / Eva Cantarella ; translated by Maureen B. Fant ; with a foreword by Mary R. Lefkowitz.  Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c1987.  229pp.  Main Library HQ1134 .C3513 1987 : Expanded and updated for this English-language translation, this book offers the first history of women in ancient Greece and Rome to be written from a legal perspective. Cantarella demonstrates how literary, anecdotal. and judicial sources can and cannot be used to discover that Greek and Roman men thought about women.

Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome / edited by Mark Golden and Peter Toohey.  Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press, [2003], ©2003.  400pp.  Main Library HQ18.G8 S49 2003 : Contents - Women in classical Athens / Christine Schnurr-Redford -- Ideology and "the status of women" in ancient Greece / Marilyn Katz -- Athenian woman / H.D.F. Kitto -- Sociology of prostitution in antiquity in the context of pagan and Christian writings / Hans Herter -- Classical Greek attitudes to sexual behavior / K.J. Dover -- Social body and sexual body / David Halperin -- Law, society, and homosexuality in classical Athens / David Cohen -- Pandora unbound / Lin Foxhall -- Cultural construct of the female body in classical Greek science / Lesley Dean-Jones -- Gender and rhetoric / Amy Richlin -- Representations of male-to-female lovemaking / J.R. Clarke -- Women's life in oriental seclusion? / B. Wagner-Hasel -- Attitudes of the Polis to childbirth / Nancy Demand -- Archaeology and gender ideologies in early archaic Greece / Ian Morris -- Concealing/revealing / Barbara Kellum -- Satyrs in the women's quarters / François Lissarrague -- Feminist boomerang / Lauren E. Talalay -- Asexuality of Dionysus / Michael Jameson -- "Vested interests" in Plautus' Casina / Barbara Gold -- Hippocratic "airs, waters, places" on cross-dressing eunuchs / Elinor Lieber.

Theodosian empresses : women and imperial dominion in late antiquity / Kenneth G. Holum.  Berkeley : University of California Press, [1982].  258pp.  Main Library  DG322 .H64 1982  : "Theodosian Empresses" sets a series of compelling women on the stage of history and offers new insights into the eastern court in the fifth century.

Woman and the Lyre : Women Writers in Classical Greece and Rome  / Jane McIntosh Snyder.  Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1989.  199pp.  PA3067 .S69 1989eb  Online : Beginning with Sappho in the seventh century B.C. and ending with Hypatia and Egeria in the fifth century A.D., Jane McIntosh Snyder listens carefully to the major women writers of classical Greece and Rome, piecing together the surviving fragments of their works into a coherent analysis that places them in their literary, historical, and intellectual contexts....While relying heavily on modern classical scholarship, Snyder refutes some of the arguments that implicitly deny the power of women’s written words—the idea that women’s experience is narrow or trivial and therefore automatically inferior as subject matter for literature, the notion that intensity in a woman is a sign of neurotic imbalance, and the assumption that women’s work should be judged according to some externally imposed standard....The author studies the available fragments of Sappho, ranging from poems on mythological themes to traditional wedding songs and love poems, and demonstrates her considerable influence on Western thought and literature....An overview of all of the authors Snyder discusses shows that ancient women writers focused on such things as emotions, lovers, friendship, folk motifs, various aspects of daily living, children, and pets, in distinct contrast to their male contemporaries’ concern with wars and politics....Straightforwardness and simplicity are common characteristics of the writers Snyder examines. These women did not display allusion, indirection, punning and elaborate rhetorical figures to the extent that many male writers of the ancient world did....Working with the sparse records available, Snyder strives to place these female writers in their proper place in our heritage.

Women in antiquity : real women across the ancient world / edited by Stephanie Lynn Budin and Jean MacIntosh Turfa.  London ; New York : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.  1074pp. Main Library  HQ1127 .W643 2016  : This volume gathers brand new essays from some of the most respected scholars of ancient history, archaeology, and physical anthropology to create an engaging overview of the lives of women in antiquity. The book is divided into ten sections, nine focusing on a particular area, and also includes almost 200 images, maps, and charts. The sections cover Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia, Cyprus, the Levant, the Aegean, Italy, and Western Europe, and include many lesser-known cultures such as the Celts, Iberia, Carthage, the Black Sea region, and Scandinavia. Women's experiences are explored, from ordinary daily life to religious ritual and practice, to motherhood, childbirth, sex, and building a career. Forensic evidence is also treated for the actual bodies of ancient women. Women in Antiquity is edited by two experts in the field, and is an invaluable resource to students of the ancient world, gender studies, and women's roles throughout history.

Women in the classical world : critical concepts in classical studies / edited by Sharon L. James and Sheila Dillon.  New York : Routledge, 2017.  4 vols.  on order : The study of women in Graeco-Roman antiquity has a long history but many recent developments—prominent among which are the rise of feminist theory and theoretical and interpretive work in material culture—have transformed approaches to the study of women’s lived experiences in antiquity. This four-volume collection brings together the best scholarship that has both established the field and moved it forward.

Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800 [electronic resource] / Roger S. Bagnall and Raffaella Cribiore ; with contributions by Evie Ahtaridis.  Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press ; New York : ACLS Humanities E-Book, 2008, c2006.  HQ1137.E3  Online Resource.  Also available in print (Main Library HQ1137.E3 B34 2006, 421pp.) : When historians study the women of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquity, they are generally dependent on ancient literature written by men. But women themselves did write and dictate. And only in their own private letters can we discover unmediated expression of their authentic experiences....More than three hundred letters written in Greek and Egyptian by women in Egypt in the millennium from Alexander the Great to the Arab conquest survive on papyrus and pottery. These letters were written by women from various walks of life and shed light on critical social aspects of life in Egypt after the pharaohs. Roger S. Bagnall and Raffaella Cribiore collect the best preserved of these letters in translation and set them in their paleographic, linguistic, social, and economic contexts. As a result, Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800, provides a sense that these women's habits, interests, and means of expression were a product more of their social and economic standing than of specifically gender-related concerns or behavior....Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt, 300 BC-AD 800, takes the reader through theoretical discussions about the handwriting and language of the letters, the education and culture of the writers, and the writers' everyday concerns and occupations, as well as comparing these letters to similar letters from later historical periods. For each letter, discussion focuses on handwriting, language, and content; in addition, numerous illustrations help the reader to see the variety of handwritings. Most of this material has never been available in English translation before, and the letters have never previously been considered as a single body of material.

Women's Life in Greece & Rome : Mary Lefkowitz & Maureen Fant post texts illustrating the social role of women in antiquity including a broad range of religious contexts, such as the bacchanalia, the vestal virgins, & the martyrdom of the philosopher Hypatia.

Women's Life in Greece and Rome : a Source Book in Translation / Mary R. Lefkowitz and Maureen B. Fant.  Baltimore : Johns Hopkins, 2005.  3rd edition, 420pp.  Main Library HQ1127 .W653 2005 : This highly acclaimed collection provides a unique look into the public and private lives and legal status of Greek and Roman women of all social classes -- from wet nurses, prostitutes, and gladiatrixes to poets, musicians, intellectuals, priestesses, and housewives. The third edition adds new texts to sections throughout the book, vividly describing women's sentiments and circumstances through readings on love, bereavement, and friendship, as well as property rights, breast cancer, female circumcision, and women's roles in ancient religions, including Christianity and pagan cults.

Women's Roles in Ancient Civilizations : A Reference Guide / edited by Bella Vivante.  Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.  389pp.  Main Library HQ1127 .W654 1999 : Knowledge about the roles of women in ancient civilizations has been limited to traditionally held notions, but recent discoveries and research have led to exciting insights into the great variety of ways in which women contributed to ancient cultures. This reference work, designed for student research, features lengthy essays and a wealth of new information about women's roles in twelve ancient civilizations around the world--China, India, Japan, Mesopotamia, the Levant, Egypt, West Africa, Greece, Rome, the Maya, the Inca, and Native North America.

Greek Focus

Aphrodite's Tortoise : the Veiled Woman of Ancient Greece / Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones.  Swansea, Wales : Classical Press of Wales, c2003.  358pp.  Main Library GT2112 .L54 2003 : The author explores the veiling of women in the ancient Greek world--from mainland Greece to Asia Minor, Egypt, and south Italy--between about 900 BC and 200 AD. He suggests that veiling was so common a practice that it seldom received mention in the ancient male sources. From iconography and literature, he analyzes the elaborate Greek vocabulary for veiling and considers what the veil was meant to achieve. Using Greek and more recent, mainly Islamic, evidence, he shows as well how women sometimes exploited and subverted the veil to communicate eloquently and emotionally.

The Constraints of Desire : the Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece / John J. Winkler.  New York : Routledge, [1990]  269pp.  Main Library DF93 .W56 1990 : For centuries, classical scholars have intensely debated the "position of women" in classical Athens. Did women have a vast but informal power, or were they little better than slaves? Using methods developed from feminist anthropology, Winkler steps back from this narrowly framed question and puts it in the larger context of how sex and gender in ancient Greece were culturally constructed. His innovative approach uncovers the very real possibilities for female autonomy that existed in Greek society.

Courtesans & Fishcakes : the Consuming Passions of Classical Athens / James N. Davidson.  New York : St. Martin's Press, 1998.  371pp.  Main Library DF275 .D23 1998 : An engaging, richly detailed portrait of life in ancient Athens examines the hedonistic lifestyles of the Greeks, detailing the vice, excess, and ephemeral pleasures that marked the classical world.

Courtesans at Table : Gender and Greek Literary Culture in Athenaeus / Laura K. McClure.  New York : Routledge, 2003.  242pp.  Main Library PA3937 .M26 2003 : Witty nicknames, crude jokes, public nudity and lavish monuments - all of these things distinguished Greek courtesans from respectable citizen women in ancient Greece. Although prostitutes appear as early as archaic Greek lyric poetry, our fullest accounts come from the late 2nd century CE. Drawing on Book 13 of the Athenaeus' "Deipnosophistae", which contains almost all known references to Hetaeras from all periods of Greek literature, Laura K. McClure has created a window onto the ways ancient Greeks perceived the courtesan and the role of the courtesan in Greek life.

The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women : Constructions and Reconstructions / edited by Richard Hunter.  Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2005. 349pp.  Main Library PA4009.Z5 H47 2005 : This collection of essays offers an exploration of the meaning and significance of the Catalogue of Women, attributed to Hesiod.

Portrait of a Priestess : Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece / Joan Breton Connelly.  Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2007.  413pp.  Main Library  BL795.W65 C66 2007 : These are just some of the influential women visible through the cracks of conventional history in Joan Breton Connelly’s eye-opening Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece. Her portrait is not in fact that of an individual priestess, but of a formidable class of women scattered over the Greek world and across a thousand years of history, down to the day in A.D. 393 when the Christian emperor Theodosius banned the polytheistic cults. It is remarkable, in this age of gender studies, that this is the first comprehensive treatment of the subject, especially since, as Connelly persuasively argues, religious office was, exceptionally, an “arena in which Greek women assumed roles equal ... to those of men.” Roman society could make no such boast, nor can ours.

The Reign of the Phallus : Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens / Eva C. Keuls.  Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, 1993.  477pp.  HQ1134 .K48 2000  Online.  Also available in print  (Main Library HQ1134 .K48 1985, 452pp.) : At once daring and authoritative, this book offers a profusely illustrated history of sexual politics in ancient Athens....The phallus was pictured everywhere in ancient Athens: painted on vases, sculpted in marble, held aloft in gigantic form in public processions, and shown in stage comedies. This obsession with the phallus dominated almost every aspect of public life, influencing law, myth, and customs, affecting family life, the status of women, even foreign policy....This is the first book to draw together all the elements that made up the "reign of the phallus"--men's blatant claim to general dominance, the myths of rape and conquest of women, and the reduction of sex to a game of dominance and submission, both of women by men and of men by men....In her elegant and lucid text Eva Keuls not only examines the ideology and practices that underlay the reign of the phallus, but also uncovers an intense counter-movement--the earliest expressions of feminism and antimilitarism....Complementing the text are 345 reproductions of Athenian vase paintings. Some have been reproduced in a larger format and gathered in an appendix for easy reference and closer study. These revealing illustrations are a vivid demonstration that classical Athens was more sexually polarized and repressive of women than any other culture in Western history.

Sappho's Lyre : Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece / translations, with introduction and notes, by Diane J. Rayor ; foreword by W.R. Johnson.  Berkeley : University of California Press, c1991.  207pp.  Main Library PA3622 .R39 1991 (Also available online) : Sappho sang her poetry to the accompaniment of the lyre on the Greek island of Lesbos over 2500 years ago. Throughout the Greek world, her contemporaries composed lyric poetry full of passion, and in the centuries that followed the golden age of archaic lyric, new forms of poetry emerged. In this unique anthology, today's reader can enjoy the works of seventeen poets, including a selection of archaic lyric and the complete surviving works of the ancient Greek women poets—the latter appearing together in one volume for the first time....Sappho's Lyre is a combination of diligent research and poetic artistry. The translations are based on the most recent discoveries of papyri (including "new" Archilochos and Stesichoros) and the latest editions and scholarship. The introduction and notes provide historical and literary contexts that make this ancient poetry more accessible to modern readers....Although this book is primarily aimed at the reader who does not know Greek, it would be a splendid supplement to a Greek language course. It will also have wide appeal for readers of' ancient literature, women's studies, mythology, and lovers of poetry.

Women in Ancient Greece / Sue Blundell.  Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1995.  224pp.  Main Library HQ1134 .B58 1995 : To read the history of ancient Greece as it has been written for centuries is to enter a thoroughly male world. This book, a comprehensive history of women in the Archaic and Classical Ages, completes our picture of ancient Greek society....Largely excluded from any public role, the women of ancient Greece nonetheless appear in various guises in the art and writing of the period, and in legal documents. These representations, in Sue Blundell's analysis, reveal a great deal about women's day-to-day experience as well as their legal and economic position--and how they were regarded by men. Here are women as portrayed in Homer, in Greek lyric poetry, and by the playwrights; the female nature as depicted in medical writings and by Aristotle; representations of women in sculpture and vase paintings. This is evidence filtered through a male view: Sappho is the only female writer of antiquity much of whose work survives. Yet these sources and others such as regulations and law court speeches reveal a great deal about women's lives and about their status as defined by law and by custom....By examining the roles that men assigned to women, the ideals they constructed for them, and the anxieties they expressed about them, Blundell sheds light on the cultural dynamics of a male-dominated society. Lively and richly illustrated, her work offers a fresh look at women in the ancient world.

Women in Ancient Greece  : Seclusion, Exclusion, or Illusion?  On order  This is a much-needed analysis of how women behaved in Greek society, how they were regarded, and the restrictions imposed on their actions. Given that ancient Greece was very much a man's world, most books on ancient Greek society still tend to focus on men; this book redresses the imbalance by shining the spotlight on that neglected other half: women had significant roles to play in Greek society and culture--this book illuminates those roles. Women in Ancient Greece asks the controversial question: how far is the assumption that women were secluded and excluded just an illusion? It answers it by exploring the treatment of women in Greek myth and epic; their treatment by playwrights, poets and philosophers, and the actions of liberated women in Minoan Crete, Sparta and the Hellenistic era when some elite women were politically prominent. It covers women in Athens, Sparta and in other city states; describes women writers, philosophers, artists and scientists; it explores love, marriage and adultery, the virtuous and the meretricious, and the roles women played in death and religion. Crucially, the book is people-based, drawing much of its evidence and many of its conclusions from lives lived by historical Greek women.

Women in Classical Athens / Sue Blundell.  London : Bristol Classical Press, 1998.  106pp.  Main Library HQ1134 .B57 1998  : This book takes as its starting-point the images of women in the Parthenon sculptures, in order to investigate two levels of feminine experience in Classical Athens, the human and the divine. The inter-play between women's religious prominence and their domestic obscurity is examined in relation to the young citizen women who lead the procession; while the great goddesses represented in the frieze are studies in terms of their relationships with their human worshippers and, on a symbolic level, with the mythological females, such as the Amazons, who appear in the metopes. Finally, the book turns to a third aspect of th e feminine experience, and looks at the women who do not appear in the Parthenon sculptures - the prostitutes, slaves and alien women who made a vital economic and ideological contribution to the Athenian achievement.

Women of Ancient Greece / Pierre Brulé ; translated by Antonia Nevill.  Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press, c2003.  240pp.  Main Library HQ1134 .B7813 2003 : Clearly sympathetic to women and not aiming for neutrality, the author tackles a problematic subject in his own way, managing to be both scholarly and thought-provoking in a volume accessible to a wide audience but still relevant to experts. While informed by recent scholarship on gender, the book sticks to the ancient sources and quotes them freely. Brule clarifies the problems with the almost entirely male sources on ancient Greek women. He focuses on famous individual women of the eighth through fourth centuries BCE, but also includes chapters on religion (goddesses and the conduct of women in religious ritual) and on the body and sexuality, including female roles as maidens, daughters, wives, and concubines/prostitutes. Throughout his wide-ranging discussion, Brule illuminates and simplifies a variety of subjects of ongoing scholarly publication, including the practical realities of marriage between a prepubescent girl and a man of 30, the variety of sexual partners and pederastic relationships available to males, and the functions of dowries. A respectably large, selected bibliography has been enhanced for this translation by the addition of further English titles.

Roman Focus

From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins : Sex and Category in Roman Religion / Ariadne Staples. London ; New York : Routledge, 1998.  207pp.  Main Library BL815.W6 S73 1998 : The role of women in Roman culture and society was a paradoxical one. They enjoyed social, material and financial independence yet they were denied basic constitutional rights. Although Roman history is not short of powerful female figures, such as Agrippina and Livia, their power stemmed from their associations with great men and was not officially recognized....Ariadne Staples' book examines how women in Rome were perceived both by themselves and by men through women's participation in Roman religion, as Roman religious ritual provided the single public arena where women played a significant formal role. From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins argues that the ritual roles played out by women were vital in defining them sexually and that these sexually defined categories spilled over into other aspects of Roman culture, including political activity. Staples provides an arresting and original analysis of the role of women in Roman society, which challenges traditionally held views andprovokes further questions.

The Herculaneum Women : History, Context, Identities / edited by Jens Daehner ; with texts by Jens Daehner ... [et al.].  Los Angeles : J. Paul Getty Museum ; Dresden : Skulpturensammlung, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, c2007.  178pp.  Fine Arts Library, Art Collection NB169 .H47 2007 : About 1710, three life-size marble statues of women were found near Portici on the Bay of Naples. This discovery led to further exploration of the site, which was soon identified as the ancient city of Herculaneum, one of the towns buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. The statues became famous throughout Europe as the "Herculaneum Women." First brought to Vienna, they have been in the Antiquities Collection in Dresden since 1736....This book presents for the first time in any language the comprehensive story of these famous statues, including their discovery, archaeological context, art history, interpretation, (an ongoing debate), and the impact of the Greek statuary types on representations of Roman women throughout the Mediterranean. No other models of the draped female body were used more often in Roman sculpture to carry individual portraits, including those of empresses, than the Large and Small Herculaneum Women.

Matrona Docta : Educated Women in the Roman Elite from Cornelia to Julia Domna / Emily A. Hemelrijk. London ; New York : Routledge, 1999.  382pp.  Main Library HQ1136 .H45 1999 : A unique study of the education of upper-class women in Roman society in the central period of Roman history, from the second century BC to AD 235. The author explores the place of Roman upper-class women in the world of the educated. She reconstructs their opportunities to acquire an education; the impediments they face; the level of education they could reach; and the judgement on educated women in Roman society. She examines also the role of women as patronesses of literature and learning and Roman women's writing.

Reading Roman Women : Sources, Genres and Real Life / Suzanne Dixon.  London : Duckworth, 2001. 242pp.  Main Library HQ1136 .D59 2001 : Roman women were either luxurious sluts or domestic paragons - at least according to the men who wrote Roman history and poetry. These authors introduced women into their works to make a moral point. We also have our own prejudices about ancient Rome and Roman women. Derived from film, television and sensational novels, these prejudices affect the way we 'read' the ancient material. Suzanne Dixon presents a range of examples to show that our ideas of what we 'know' about women's work, sexuality, commerce, or political activity in the Roman world have been shaped by the format, or genre, of each ancient source. She suggests ways in which we can read the evidence more critically and how Roman attitudes affected the crime of rape and women's chastity.

Roman Women : Their History and Habits / J. P. V. D. Balsdon. Publisher London : Bodley Head, 1974. 355pp. Main Library DG91 .B3 1974
1962 edition also available. : In this highly acclaimed work, historian J.P.V.D. Balsdon combines an in-depth study of the important women in ancient Rome with a detailed examination of Roman women's daily life. Covering a period of more than one thousand years, Roman Women traces the history and habits of Roman women from, the founding of Rome 753 B.C. to the death of Constantine in A.D. 337....Part One treats of Roman women of myth and legend. Part Two is an intriguing review of the habits of Roman women from all walks of life. In lively and informative text, Balsdon discusses the societal norms concerning such issues as marriage, child-rearing, adultery, divorce, and alcohol consumption, and describes the arduous beauty regimen undertaken by Roman women.

Roman Women / edited and with a new introduction by Augusto Fraschetti ; translated into English by Linda Lappin. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2001. 249pp. Main Library HQ1136 .R6613 2001 : This collection of essays features important Roman women who were active in politics, theater, cultural life, and religion from the first through the fourth centuries. The contributors draw on rare documents in an attempt to reconstruct in detail the lives and accomplishments of these exceptional women, a difficult task considering that the Romans recorded very little about women. They thought it improper for a woman's virtues to be praised outside the home. Moreover, they believed that a feeble intellect, a weakness in character, and a general incompetence prevented a woman from participating in public life....Through this investigation, we encounter a number of idiosyncratic personalities. They include the vestal virgin Claudia; Cornelia, a matron; the passionate Fulvia; a mime known as "Lycoris"; the politician Livia; the martyr and writer Vibia Perpetua; a hostess named Helena Augusta; the intellectual Hypatia; and the saint Melania the Younger. Unlike their silent female counterparts, these women stood out in a culture where it was terribly difficult and odd to do so.

Roman Women / Eve D'Ambra.  Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2007.  215pp.  Main Library HQ1136 .D35 2007 : This book examines the daily lives of Roman women by focusing on the mundane and less celebrated aspects of daily life - family and household, work and leisure, worship and social obligations - of women of different social ranks. Using a variety of sources, including literary texts, letters, inscriptions, coins, tableware, furniture, and the fine arts, from the late Republic to the high Imperial period, Eve D'Ambra shows how these sources serve as objects of social analysis, rather than simply as documents that recreate how life was lived. She also demonstrates how texts and material objects take part in shaping realities and what they can tell us about the texture of lives and social attitudes, if not emotions of women in Roman antiquity.

Vestal Virgins, Sibyls, and Matrons : Women in Roman Religion / by Sarolta A. Takács.  Austin, TX : University of Texas Press, 2008.  194pp.  Main Library BL815.W6 T35 2008 :  Roman women were the procreators and nurturers of life, both in the domestic world of the family and in the larger sphere of the state. Although deterred from participating in most aspects of public life, women played an essential role in public religious ceremonies, taking part in rituals designed to ensure the fecundity and success of the agricultural cycle on which Roman society depended. Thus religion is a key area for understanding the contributions of women to Roman society and their importance beyond their homes and families....In this book, Sarolta A. Takács offers a sweeping overview of Roman women's roles and functions in religion and, by extension, in Rome's history and culture from the republic through the empire. She begins with the religious calendar and the various festivals in which women played a significant role. She then examines major female deities and cults, including the Sibyl, Mater Magna, Isis, and the Vestal Virgins, to show how conservative Roman society adopted and integrated Greek culture into its mythic history, artistic expressions, and religion. Takács's discussion of the Bona Dea Festival of 62 BCE and of the Bacchantes, female worshippers of the god Bacchus or Dionysus, reveals how women could also jeopardize Rome's existence by stepping out of their assigned roles. Takács's examination of the provincial female flaminate and the Matres/Matronae demonstrates how women served to bind imperial Rome and its provinces into a cohesive society.

Women and Beauty in Pompeii / Antonio D'Ambrosio.  Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001.  67pp.  Fine Arts Library-Art Collection DG91 .D4 2001 : This volume explores the nature of female beauty in ancient Rome by studying depictions of heavenly and earthly women in Pompeiian art. The first section discusses the care of the body: hygiene, cosmetics, coiffure, and perfume. The second section discusses adornments like jewelry and clothing, and explains how such items were distributed in the Roman world. Here, archaeology and art come together to offer numerous insights into this fascinating subject.

Women and Religion in the First Christian Centuries / Deborah F. Sawyer.  London ; New York : Routledge, 1996.  186pp.  Main Library BL815.W6 S28 1996 : Focuses on religion during the period of Roman imperial rule and its significance in women's lives. Discussing the rich variety of religious expression, from pagan cults and classical mythology to ancient Judaism and early Christianity, and the wide array of religious functions fulfilled by women, the author analyzes key examples from each context, creating a vivid image of this crucial period which laid the foundations of Western civilization....This study challenges the concepts of religion and of women in the light of post-modern critique. As such, it is an important contribution to contemporary gender theory. In its broad and interdisciplinary approach, this book will be of interest to students of early religion as well as those interested in cultural theory.

Specific Women

Cleopatra : Last Queen of Egypt / Joyce TyldesleyNew York : Basic Books, 2008.  290pp.  Main Library DT92.7 .T95 2008b : Cleopatra is often portrayed as a woman ruled by emotion rather than reason; a queen hurtling towards inevitable self-destruction. But these tales of seduction, intrigue, and suicide by asp have obfuscated Cleopatra's true political genius. Stripping away our preconceptions, many of them as old as Egypt's Roman conquerors, Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley offers a magnificent biography of a most extraordinary queen.

Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi / Suzanne DixonLondon ; New York : Routledge, 2007.  95pp.  Main Library DG254.5 .D59 2007 : Examining the remarkable life of Cornelia, famed as the epitome of virtue, fidelity and intelligence, Suzanne Dixon presents an in-depth study of the woman who perhaps represented the ideal of the Roman matrona more than any other.  Studying her life during a period of political turmoil, Dixon examines Cornelia's attributes: daughter of Scipio Africanus, wife of an aristocrat, and mother of the Gracchi; and how these enabled her to move in high echelons of society. For students and scholars of classical studies and Roman history, this study will give students a glimpse into the life of Cornelia, and of the influence she had on the period.

The empress Theodora : partner of Justinian / James Allan Evans.  Austin : University of Texas Press, 2002.  146pp.  DF572.5 .E83 2002  : Even by modern standards, the Empress Theodora had a remarkable rise to power. Born into the lowest class of Byzantine society, she worked as an actress in burlesque theatre. Yet she attracted the love of the future emperor Justinian, who, to the astonishment of proper society, made her not only his wife but also his partner in government. Justinian's respect for and trust in Theodora gave her power in her own right unmatched by almost any other Roman or Byzantine empress. In this book, James Allan Evans provides an account of the life and times of the Empress Theodora. He follows her from her childhood as a Hippodrome bearkeeper's daughter to her imperial roles as Justinian's most trusted counsellor and as an effective and powerful advocate for the downtrodden. In particular, he focuses on the ways in which Theodora worked to improve the lives of women. He also explores the pivotal role Theodora played in the great religious controversy of her time, involving a breach between sects in the Christian church.

Galla Placidia : the Last Roman Empress / Hagith Sivan.  New York : Oxford University Press, 2011. 224pp.  Main Library DG338 .S58 2011 : The astonishing career of Galla Placidia (c. 390-450) provides valuable reflections on the state of the Roman empire in the fifth century CE. In an age when emperors, like Galla's two brothers, Arcadius (395-408) and Honorius (395-423), and nephew, Theodosius II (408-450), hardly ever ventured beyond the fortified enclosure of their palaces, Galla spent years wandering across Italy, Gaul and Spain first as hostage in the camp of Alaric the Goth, and then as wife of Alaric's successor. In exile at the court of her nephew in Constantinople Galla observed how princesses wield power while vaunting piety. Restored to Italy on the swords of the eastern Roman army, Galla watched the coronation of her son, age six, as the emperor of the western Roman provinces. For a dozen years (425-437) she acted as regent, treading uneasily between rival senatorial factions, ambitious church prelates, and charismatic military leaders. This new biography of Galla is organized according to her changing roles as bride, widow, bereaved mother, queen and empress. It examines her relations with men in power, her achievements as a politician, her skills at establishing power bases and political alliances, and her efficiency at accomplishing her desired goals. Using all the available sources, documents, epigraphy, coinage and the visual arts, and Galla's own letters, Hagith Sivan reconstructs the turning points and highlights of Galla's odd progression from a bloodthirsty princess at Rome to a bride of a barbarian in Gaul, from a manipulative sister and wife of emperors at the imperial court at Ravenna to a beggar at the court of her relatives in Constantinople, and from a devious regent of the western Roman empire to a collaborator of popes in Rome.

Hypatia of Alexandria : Mathematician and Martyr / Michael A.B. DeakinAmherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2007.  231pp.  Main Library QA29.H88 D43 2007 : In the late fourth and early fifth centuries of our era, Hypatia of Alexandria was the world's greatest living mathematician and astronomer. A strikingly beautiful woman and a devoted celibate, she lived in a city as turbulent and troubled as Baghdad or Beirut is today. She achieved fame not only in her special field, but also as a philosopher, religious thinker, and teacher who attracted a large popular following. Her life ended tragically in violence at the hands of a rampaging mob of Christian fanatics, who killed her for her "pagan" beliefs, some say at the instigation of St. Cyril of Alexandria....This is the first biography of Hypatia to integrate all aspects of her life. Mathematician Michael Deakin emphasizes that, though she was a philosopher, she was first and foremost a mathematician and astronomer of great accomplishment. In a fascinating narrative that brings to life a richly diverse ancient society, he describes her work so that the mathematics, presented in straightforward terms, finds its true place in the context of her life as a whole. Deakin supplies full detail on the historical, intellectual, and religious context of Hypatia's times. He also analyzes the pattern of her life and thought, and finally gives an account of the events leading up to her lynch-mob execution....Although this outrageous crime has made Hypatia a powerful symbol of intellectual freedom and feminist aspiration to this day, Deakin makes clear that the important intellectual contributions of her life's work should not be overshadowed by her tragic death.

Julia Augusti: The Emperor's Daughter  / Elaine Fantham.  London ; New York : Routledge, 2006.  Main Library DG291.7.J85 F36 2006 : Julia, the only daughter of Emperor Augustus, became a living example of the Augustan policy. By her marriage and motherhood she encapsulated the Augustan reforms of Rome and helped secure a dynasty. An unidentified scandal, distorted or concealed in the ancient sources which led to her summary banishment, has discredited Julia, or at least clothed her in mystery. However, studying the abundant historical evidence available, this biography illustrates each stage of Julia's life in remarkable detail: her childhood, taken from her divorced mother to become part of a complex and unstable family structure, her youth, set against the brilliant social and cultural life of the new Augustan Rome, her marriages, as tools for Augustus' plans for succession.  Julia's defied her father's publicized moral regime, and implicity exposed his hypocrisy by claiming the same sexual liberty he had once enjoyed. Reflecting new attitudes, and casting fresh light on their social reality, this accessible but penetrating portrait from one of the foremost scholars of Augustan literature and history will delight, entertain and inform anyone interested in this engaging Classical figure.

Julia Domna, Syrian Empress / Barbara Levick.  London ; New York : Routledge, 2007.  244pp.  Main Library DG298.7.J85 L48 2007 : This book covers Julia's life, and charts her travels throughout the Empire from Aswan to York during a period of profound upheaval, seeking the truth about this woman who inspired such extreme and contrasting views, exposing the instability of our sources about her, and characterizing a sympathetic, courageous, intelligent, and important woman.  This book contains a fresh reassessment of the one of the most significant figures of her time and questions: (1) Was Julia more powerful than earlier empresses? (2) Did she really promote despotism? (3) How seriously is her literary circle to be taken?  As part of a dynasty which used force and violence to preserve its rule, she was distrusted by its subjects; as a Syrian, she was the object of prejudice; as a woman with power, she was resented. On the other hand, Domna was the centre of a literary circle considered highly significant by nineteenth-century admirers.

Olympias : Mother of Alexander the Great / Elizabeth CarneyNew York : Routledge, 2006.  221pp.  Main Library DF233.8.O6 C37 2006 : The definitive guide to the life of the first woman to play a major role in Greek political history, this is the first modern biography of Olympias. Presenting a critical assessment of a fascinating and wholly misunderstood figure, Elizabeth Carney penetrates myth, fiction and sexual politics and conducts a close examination of Olympias through historical and literary sources, and brings her to life as she places the figure in the context of her own ancient, brutal political world.  Individual examinations look at: (1) the role of Greek religion in Olympias' life; (2) literary and artistic traditions about Olympias found throughout the later ancient periods; (3) varying representations of Olympias found in the major ancient sources. An absolutely compelling read for students, scholars, and anyone with an interest in Greek, Classical, or women's history.

Terentia, Tullia and Publilia : the Women of Cicero's Family / Susan Treggiari.  London ; New York : Routledge, 2007.  228pp.  Main Library DG260.C53 T74 2007 : Studying references and writings in over 900 personal letters - an unparalleled source, this book presents a rounded and intriguing account of the three women who, until now, have only survived as secondary figures to Cicero....In a field where little is really known about Cicero's family, Susan Treggiari creates a history for these figures who, through history, have not had voices of their own, and a vivid impression of the everyday life upper-class Roman women in Italy during the heyday of Roman power....Artfully assembling a rounded picture of their personalities and experiences, Treggiari reconstructs the lives of these three important women: (1) Cicero's first wife Terentia: a strong, tempestuous woman of status and fortune, with an implacable desire to retain control of both; (2) his second wife Publilia: shadowy and mysterious, the young submissive wedded to compensate for her predecessor's steely resolve and fiery temper; (3) his daughter Tullia. Including illustrations, chronological charts, maps and glossaries, this book is essential reading for students wishing to get better acquainted with the women of ancient Rome.

Theodora : actress, empress, saint / David Potter.  New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2015]   277pp.  Main LibraryDF572.5 .P68 2015 : Two of the most famous mosaics from the ancient world, in the church of San Vitale in Ravenna, depict the sixth-century emperor Justinian and, on the wall facing him, his wife, Theodora (497-548). This majestic portrait gives no inkling of Theodora's very humble beginnings or her improbable rise to fame and power. Raised in a family of circus performers near Constantinople's Hippodrome, she abandoned a successful acting career in her late teens to follow a lover whom she was legally forbidden to marry. When he left her, she was a single mother who built a new life for herself as a secret agent, in which role she met the heir to the throne. To the shock of the ruling elite, the two were married, and when Justinian assumed power in 527, they ruled the Eastern Roman Empire together.... Their reign was the most celebrated in Byzantine history, bringing wealth, prestige, and even Rome itself back to the Empire. Theodora was one of the dominant political figures of her era, helping shape imperial foreign and domestic policy and twice saving her husband from threatened deposition. She played a central role trying to solve the religious disputes of her era and proactively assisted women who were being trafficked. An extraordinarily able politician, she excited admiration and hatred from those around her. Enemies wrote extensively and imaginatively about her presumed early career as a prostitute, while supporters elevated her, quite literally, to sainthood.... Theodora's is a tale of a woman of exceptional talent who overcame immense obstacles to achieve incredible power, which she exercised without ever forgetting where she had come from. In Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint, David Potter penetrates the highly biased accounts of her found in the writings of her contemporaries and takes advantage of the latest research on early Byzantium to craft a modern, well-rounded, and engaging narrative of Theodora's life. This fascinating portrait will intrigue all readers with an interest in ancient and women's history.

Web Sites

Ancient Athenian Women of the Classical World : A Look at Their Lives / Moya K. Mason

Ancient Greek Civilizations.  A virtual exhibit by the Minnesota State University EMuseum.  Includes sections on the Women of Athens and the Women of Sparta.  Articles written by Jennifer Taylor, 1998.

Ancient Roman Women : A Look at Their Lives / Moya K. Mason

Annotated Bibliography of Women in Classical Mythology / Moya K. Mason

Bibliography on Women in Byzantium : Courtesy of Dumbarton Oaks.

Courtesans and Kings: Ancient Greek Perspectives on the Hetairai Rebekah Whiteley, 2000. Master's Thesis.

Diotima : Materials for the Study of Women and Gender in the Ancient World : Interdisciplinary research tool for issues of gender in the classical world. Searchable for on-line book reviews, articles, images, and related databases. Provides links to related on-line resources.

Family Values in Ancient Rome by Richard Saller, University of Chicago

Internet Women's History Sourcebook : How are historians to remedy the silence about women in many traditional accounts of history? This question has received a number of distinct answers....The first solution was to locate the great women of the past, following the lead of much popular historiography that focuses on "great men". The problem here is that just as the "great men" approach to history sidelines and ignores the lives of the mass of people, focusing on great women merely replicates the exclusionary historical approaches of the past....The next solution was to examine and expose the history of oppression of women. This approach had the merit of addressing the life histories of the mass of women, but, since it has proved to be possible to find some degree of oppression everywhere, it tended to make women merely subjects of forces that they could not control. On the other hand, historians' focus on oppression revealed that investigating the structures of women's lives was crucial....In recent years, while not denying the history of oppression, historians have begun to focus on the agency of women. All human beings are subject to some degree of social forces that limit freedom, but within those limits people are able to exercise greater or lesser degrees of control over their own lives. This insight applies equally to women even in oppressive societies....These various approaches to the history of women are not exclusive. This sourcebook attempts to present online documents and secondary discussions which reflect the various ways of looking at the history of women within broadly defined historical periods and areas. This collection includes Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome, plus a whole lot more.  Paul Halsell, Fordham University, November 1998, last revised April 16, 2007.

Midwives and Birth in Ancient Rome

Private Life of the Romans : This classic work, written by Harold Johnston and revised by Mary Johnston, provides a clear and concise introduction to Roman daily life. Topics covered include the family, the Roman name, marriage and the position of women, children and education, slaves, clients, the house and its furniture, clothing, food and meals, amusements, travel and correspondence, religion, funeral ceremonies and burial customs. Digital copy of book by Harold Whetstone Johnston, Revised by Mary Johnston, Scott, Foresman and Company (1903, 1932).

Queen Mavia of the Tanukh.  Perhaps even more than Boudicca or Zenobia, much about Queen Mavia remains a mystery and our accounts of her come from only a couple of ancient sources. She was an Arab from the pre-Islamic era and an Arab woman ruling over Arab men. She was an Arab Christian, a convert from paganism and a very staunch, Orthodox/Catholic (before those were different) Christian at that. She successfully made a stand against Emperor Valens, but in a very defined way. She did not fight to bring down Rome or usurp Roman power, but rather she was fighting a war in defense of her faith and that is something the modernists simply cannot handle. She was not anti-Roman, she was pro-Christian.  After capturing a chunk of Roman territory, Valens finally conceded and gave her the Catholic Bishop she desired so she ended her rebellion.

The Role of Women : Women in general faced restrictions and discrimination, although there were some who managed to assert their individuality.  A portion of Antony Kamm's The Romans web site created to supplement his book of the same title.

Roman Women and Their Houses

Roman Women : Following the Clues : Women - were they any different in Roman times from how they are today? Sort truth from fiction to decide if things have changed since women were first depicted as loving or resentful wives, daughters, servants and workers.  Article by Suzanne Dixon, November 5, 2009 sponsored by BBC.

Spartan Women by Elizabeth Hailey, University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Spartan Women Essay from Sparta Reconsidered.

Spartan Women in the Spotlight (Spartan Women book review from HNet.)

Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii

Women and Politics in Ancient Rome (book review from Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

Women in Ancient Greece. Article from Ancient History Encyclopedia.

Women in Classical Athens

Women in Classical Greece : courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Women in the Ancient World : The Status, Role and Daily Life of Women in the Ancient Civilizations of Egypt, Rome, Athens, Israel and Babylonia.  James C. Thompson graduated from University of Toronto in 1961 and earned a Master?s degree in education from Rutgers in 1969. He taught high school history for 32 years in Waterloo County, Ontario and is the author of the acclaimed web site, womenintheancientworld.com. Web page last revised'November 2005.

Women's Life in Greece & Rome : Mary Lefkowitz & Maureen Fant post texts illustrating the social role of women in antiquity including a broad range of religious contexts, such as the bacchanalia, the vestal virgins, & the martyrdom of the philosopher Hypatia. 

Women's Life in Greece : Women in a Man's World

Women in the Ancient World. James C. Thompson, July 2010.

Web links last checked August 30, 2017.

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Sappho Reading to Her Companions, Attic Vase, c. 435 B.C.

Sappho Reading to Her Companions

Red-figure vase by the Group of Polygnotos, ca. 440–430 BC. Seated, Sappho is reading one of her poems to a group of three student-friends. National Archaeological Museum in Athens, 1260.

Muse Reading a Scroll (Louvre, Paris, via Wikipedia)

Muse Reading A Scroll

Women Chatting and Filling Their Water Jars; Terracotta hydria (water jar), ca. 510–500 B.C.; black-figure

For more information, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art Greek Hydriai (Water Jars) and their Artistic Decoration.

Women Perfuming Clothes; Oinochoe-chous (jug), ca. 420–410 B.C.; Red-figure

For more information, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art Scenes of Everyday Life in Ancient Greece.

Young Woman Bending Over Water Basin; Kylix, ca. 500 B.C.; red-figure

For more information, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art Scenes in Everyday Life in Ancient Greece.

Wedding Procession; Lekythos, ca. 550 B.C.; black-figure

For more information, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art Scenes of Everyday Life in Ancient Greece.

Classical Greek Woman

Young Woman of Pompeii Holding Stylus

Wall Painting from Pompeii

Portrait of A Young Woman from Roman Egypt

During the 1st to 3rd century AD in Egypt, painted panel portraits (more commonly referred to as Fayoum or Fayum portraits) were bandaged over the heads of mummies. These portraits depict the inhabitants of Greco-Roman ancient Egypt in exacting detail. They were finely executed in encaustic paint on wood or stuccoed linen. Metropolitan Museum of Art via Flickr

Byzantime Floor Mosaic, 500-550 A.D.

The bejeweled woman is identified by the restored inscription as Ktisis. The man with a cornucopia has the inscription "good" by his head (half of a text that probably said "good wishes"). The fragment, laid in marble and glass tesserae, typifies the exceptional mosaics throughout the Byzantine world. Metropolitan Museum of Art via Flickr

Icon of St. Eudokia, excavated at the church of Constantine Lips.

Icon of St. Peter by a Greek painter working in Macedonia or Serbia, c. third quarter of the thirteenth century. Tempera on panel, 93.1 x 61.3 cm.

Michigan State University