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Lecture

Week 10: Women of the Roman Imperial House Phew, the last week of notes. These are massive and detailed like last week's, 16 pages. Notes taken both in class and from lecture recordings. Includes a family tree for reference. Enjoy =) These (plus all the p

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Department
Classics
Course
CLA219H1
Professor
Melanie Racette- Campbell
Semester
Fall

Description
December 2 2010Leftover notes from last weekCourtesansMore scope for courtesans to act more publically in the Hellenistic period tied to the increasing freedom of menCould become more wealthy etc but generally werent as politically active as queens wereMore of the anecdotes about them were of witty sayings etcRare for a hetaira to transition from mistress to wife Makes sense theyre conceptually categorically differentBefore Hellenistic period existed in both literature and real lifeCome to their highest prominence in both these areas in the Hellenistic PeriodIn classical ageBegan as generally negative figures associated with greed and bodily pleasure in literatureNot generally characterized as individuals were more just the stock type of a hetairathIn later classical period about 4 century BC attained greater individuality in literature and occasional portrayal of courtesans as having skills more than just purely sexual as being good charming beautifulIn Hellenistic age while negative portrayals of greedy and destructive hetaira certainly still exist we see the good hetaira stereotype appearing in literature especially New ComedyThe Good Hetaira is generally virtuous and likeable despite mens prejudice in the plays towards them and may even act in ways that benefit the respectable women in the plays even when its no in their own best interests to do soThe old men in these plays fathers often see courtesans as threats to social order and family stability and some of them are temporarily but at ends of these plays everyone returns to stable families good resolutions etcHetaira sometimes are shown to bring about this resolutionOne thing about these hetaira is that because theyre not respectable women they can actually do more on stage than good virtuousvirginal girlsMay even act as proxys for respectable women in playsEx play by Menander when a hetaira helps to understand the identity of a recovered babyEx courtesan giving up something that would have been advantageous to her so that a citizen marriage can be possibleIn contrast to the welldeveloped characters of courtesans in comedies in epigrams at this time the courtesans are less individual and more a generic part of their literatureGenerally associated with the symposiumExploration of emotionsOccasionally there are epigrams that are supposedly speaking for an epigramThe few that do talk about how she has been betrayed by her maninteresting especially in a genre that usually focuses on the bad nature of women in this respectrdAs early as the 3 century BCE courtesans were associated with AthensCourtesans as entertainers and transmitters of culturenot just a light entertainer she can engage with and transform serious literature like tragedy and epicBesides transforming preexisting literature Hellenistic hetaira were said to have written erotic and symposic literatureIn literature they appear to exist on somewhat of an equal footing with the men of their livesHetaira rarely involved in public life but moreso private but one where women and men could banter back and forth and have equal friendships
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