Lecture 1: Introduction
Actium: battle of actium, Augusts > Mark Antony
Hieros Gamos: sexual ritual of Gods
hymn: songs and praises
iambic poetry: obscene humor type poetry, rooted from Iambe
Misogyny: contempt, dislike, hatred of females
Sources of Women in Antiquity
Archaeological (household items, etc)
Artifacts (statues, etc) (ideal of female beauty)
Literature (mythological, philosophical, historical, etc)
-most literature from view of male
-try to grasp what they thought of women, and try to grasp what women thought of themselves at same time
Archaic Period: ca. 750-500 BC (Greece): the period of Sappho
Classical Period: ca. 500-323 BC (death of Alexander the Great – antiquity covers a period of over a millennium)
Hellenistic Period: ca. 323-331 BC (battle of Actium)
Imperial Period: ca. 146 BC (Rome becomes the new political power and Greece becomes a province)
-Rome (founded 753 BC)
Roman Republic: ca. 500 - mid-first century BC 500BC (monarchy overthrown in 509 BC; civil wars in 1 cent. BC
lead to end of Republic) rd
Roman Empire: ca. 30 BC-3 century AD
Late Antiquity: ca. 4 – 6 century AD
-Illiad and Odyssey fundamental to antiquity, lays out beliefs and interactions of Gods
-Athens was political center, Sparta its rival
-Classics is something great even past its generation (i.e. Illiad + Odyssey), works of the Mediterranean period of the ancient
Greek and roman eras
-Battle of Actium 31 BC - decisive battle, Mark Antony (in love w/ cleopatra) defeated by Octavius (Augustus)
-Romans looked to Greece for its culture, but political and military power resides in Rome
-Romans imitation of Greek arts
Parthenon on the Acropolis (Periclean Age) - temple on the Athenian acropolis, dedicated to Athena.
Important Poets: Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus
Alexander the Great: originally Macedon, proliferated Greek culture, the height of Greek dominance during his years of
conquest, conquest stretched all the way to parts of modern India.
Persian Empire - had long history with Greece, tried conquering the Greece mainland in 480-490BC, warded off by a united
Greece, which heightened the reputation and political power of the Greeks
Peloponnesian War -important war of Athens vs Sparta as they vied for dominance of Greece, to which Athens eventually loses
(critical error of attacking Sicily)
Romulus and Remos - founded Rome, birthed by wolves in legend,
-greece and rome basically patriarch society, female status may have changed but generally beneath men with few public roles
-Misogyny - hatred of women
-Longstanding assumptions that women aren't reliable, incapable of moderation, must be dominated and tamed
-Athens was the birth of democracy, a sort of direct democracy, but women couldn't vote. (Recall story of Poseidon and Athena
offering gifts (olives tree vs sea salt water) to Athens to be their patron, women more and voted Athena, incurred wrath of
Poseidon. Emancipation is modern concept.
Twelve Olympians Uranus (Caelus) – sky – his penis is cut off
Cronus (Saturnus) – likes to eat his children as he cut off Uranus penis
Zeus (Jupiter) / Hera (Juno) / Demeter (Ceres) / Hestia (Vesta) / Poseidon (Neptunus)
Aphrodite (Venus) / Athena (Minerva) / Ares (Mars) / Apollo (Apollo) / Artemis (Diana) / Hephaestus(Vulcanus) /
Daughter to Zeus and Dione/Born of Uranus' Penis
Mother of Eros (Cupid)
Mistress of Ares
Mortal Lovers: Anchises (son of Aeneas, founder of Rome), Adonis
Epiphets: Kypris, Kythreia
Castration of Uranus - Zeus cuts penis off, the penis falls into sea, and births out Aphrodite - 'Ana Dyo Mene'
Aphrodite + Ares Trapped: By net made by hephaetus, Eros started it, Helios saw it.
Marriage in Classical Times: transition of protection of father to the husband's protection and accompanied by a dowry. (Zeus
to Hephaestus in Aphrodite's Case)
Judgement of Paris: Hera, Athena, Artemis vying for apple held by Paris, Paris needs to say who's fairest, hera offers political
power, Athena offers skills in war, and Aphrodite offers most gorgeous woman on earth, Paris gives apple to Aphrodite.
Consequence: Paris taking married woman is grave or even choosing such a beautify woman is dangerous, beauty to be
admired, but best kept away for they bring trouble.
Rufinus' Poem, judges frontal and back of the beautiful 3 goddesses. Back > Front?
Goddess of the hunt (Hunting associated with chastity)
Daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo
Resided over crucial aspects of life: transition from maidenhood to womanhood; childbirth
Later identified with Selene (Moon)
Death of Actaeon: Actaeon accidently sees Artemis bathing, punished and turned into a stag, eaten by his hunting dogs.
Artemis at Ephesos: famous temple, considered 7 wonders, burnt down by Herostratus (fame seeker)
Goddess of agriculture and harvest
Daughter of Kronos and Rhea
Mother of Persephone
Epithet: Thesmophoros (“law giver”)
Symbols: sheaves of wheat, cornucopia (plenitude)
Hymn to Demeter: depressed, ends up workin at palace of Celeus, nurses Demophon. Iambe (Iambic poetry.. type of poetric
device for attack/insult obsene jokes vs another)
Baubo - terracotta figure of Iambe
-sexuality of ancient times not suspicious, not sinful, it was not just for procreation. Female genitals weren't taboo to be used as
object of decoration or discussion, those inhibitions is of Christian origin only.
Daughter of Zeus and Demeter
Spouse of Hades
Queen of the Underworld (she spends one part of the year in Hades, the other on Mt Olympus)
Ephithet: Kore (maiden)
Rape of Persephone: Hades raped grabbed Persephone when she was hanging out at a garden, advised by Zeus to forcefully take
her away. Persephone gone, leaving world vegetation no harvest, people dies, Zeus gets Hermes to fetch Persephone from
underworld, Hades tricks Perse to eat a plum so she always has to go back for sometime every year.
Pallas Athene (etymology unclear, maybe “maiden” or “weapon brandishing”)
Born from the head of Zeus
Goddess of war, wisdom, weaving, craftsmanship
Symbols: owl, olive, helmet and armour
Epithet: Glaukopis (grey-eyed / owl-eyed)
Patron deity of Athens
Protectress of heroes (Perseus Herakles, Odysseus, Jason)
Metis – swallowed female principle and product is Athena -Athena birth from head of Zeus without a mother, though a woman, she is always on the side of Zeus, and is unlike typical
female. Zeus swallowed Metis (wisdom), and had headache, bursted Athena out later from head when Hephaestus cracked it
Athena Poseidon Contest: (talked about already earlier.. result ends with women never allowed to vote again)
Daughter of Kronos and Rheia
Goddess of marriage
Often portrayed as the jealous wife of Zeus and as opposing his children from other women (especially Herakles)
Sister and wife of Zeus
Symbols: diadem, sceptre, bowl, pomegranate, peacock
Portrayed opposing his children form other women especially Heracles
Hieros Gamos or Hierogamy: sexual ritual b/w Gods
-Hera and Zeus always butting heads, Hera always angry and jealous of Zeus and all his lovers, and the children of those
-Hera was on side of Greeks during Trojan war, seduced Zeus with Aphrodite's girdle to put Zeus to sleep after sex with help of
Goddess of the hearth, fire, household
Important because she creates a household flame for mothers to be able to call their children back home from other
So long as her fire burns the city of Rome exists, once the flame is extinguished Rome will fall
The flame is extinguished in 300 BC
Vestal Virgins are chaste priestesses of Hestia (must be chaste for 30 years)
If found unchaste would be buried alive
Hestia was first to be swallowed by her father Kronos so she is the last to come out
-powerful symbol of Chaste womanly home-life
Lecture 2: Women in Myths: Praise and Blame
Potiphar's Wife Motif: married or conventionally taboo woman seduces someone who rejects them, the rejecter is
framed by that woman for a crime, usually of sexually attacking her as revenge
Pandora (Pan = all, dora = gifts.. cause she received gifts from all Gods, but also one to give evil)
in Theogony, no name, but appears as a source of all subsequent evil which zeus brings to humankind for Prometheus'
Prometheus took fire from Zeus who took fire away from humans, Zeus was angry and created Pandora (no name yet),
Pandora's descendents will torment men for all ages. Prometheus also punished, tied to rock to have eagle eat his
regenerative livers forever. "Prometheus' Bound"
Zeus had Hermes send the woman to Epimetheus (afterthought), bro of Prometheus (foresight)
Pandora lifts jar, releases all evils like diseases and such, only Hope stays inside
in Works and Days: Pandora lifts great jar, scatters its contents, super bad for mankind. Hesiod wanted to teach his
brother and people why we have all the bad things, troubles and diseases in the world, why we have to work for our
livelihood... cause of women.
Jar can also be female vagina symbolic, source of evil and untrustworthiness.
Hipponax: the two best days in a woman's life are when someone marries her and when he carries her dead body to the
Helen of Troy
Ab Ovo (from an egg): refers to birth of Helen, child of rape when mother Leda raped by Zeus in form of swan.
sister Clytemenestra (evil wife of Agamennon)
Castor and Pollox (immortal one) are brothers
mortal father Tyndareus Illiad : Trojan Elders Looks at Her: no wonder trojans and achaeans endure all this for her, she's so divine, but we
should let them have her, she only breeds sorrow for our people and our children.
Poet Horace on Helen: calls Helen a cunt, terrible cause of war
Poet Stesichorus: wrote bad about Helen, brothers take revenge, takes his eyes, he changes his song Palinode"Again
Song" (take back words kinda song), and says Helen is good, etc, takes away blame from Helen..
Gorgias the Sophist: wrote an encomium on why Helen not at fault four possible ways to argue: 1) divine will >
mortal will, 3)kidnapped by Paris, 3) Paris' speech + rhetoric tricks 4) Helen in love, can't blame love
Alternative by Euripedes: Helen in Egypt, the one they fought for at Troy was just a phantom, Menelaus reunites with
Helen later at Egypt.
Penelope is the enduring wife who waited for Odysseus for 20 years
Various men courted her, she said she wouldn't even try until Telemachus had grown a beard
Complete opposite of Clytemenestra
Model of a good wife
weaved burial shroud for father as excuse to not marry suitors, weaves in day, unravels it at night to prolong rejections
Penelope at the loom = weaving is symbol of model woman activity
witchcraft powers, daughter of king Aeetes, lover of Jason, betrays own family for Jason
Jason needed to get golden fleece, went to Colchis to get it, given various tasks by King Aeetes, and Medea helps Jason
with magic, potions, etc. (fire ox, sow dragon teeth, sleepless dragon)
later Jason falls in love with princess Glauce, which incites Medea's wrath, Jason wanted to rid of Medea
Medea kills the princess w/ poison robe, kills children of she and Jason, just wanted revenge
Euripides's Medea: 400 BC poem, conflicted about the murder of the children, still decides to anyways...
^story shows active independent woman becomes dangerous, Medea can because she's powerful woman, smart,
granddaughter of Helios, etc... and foreign
Appolonius' Medea: in love young Medea, portrayed as innocent girl conflicted inside about helping Jason or not,
super deeply innocent love, beautiful.
Rape of Lucretia
root story of Roman republic
some men out for dinner, praising their women,
Lucretia wife of Collatinus
Sextus Tarquinius horny for Lucretia, tries to rape her, first w/ death threats, then threaten w/ honour (rape, then kill,
then kill servant, put their bodies together, then say he caught them having affair)
^Lucretia allows the rape, super sad, weeps, her father and Collatinus comes up seeing her cry, she tells them her
body's been violated though her mind was innocent, she asks that Collatinus punish Sextus Tarquinius
commits suicide, husband and father cries out, etc etc.. causes outrage in Rome since Tarquinius was prince of Rome,
the people eventually overthrow the royalty cause of this. They carried Lucretia's body to the town and rallied the
people to the cause.
sculptor, no interest in women, disgusted by prostitutes
he sculpted what is to him the perfect woman, one day in his offering to venus, he quietly wished the statue became real
marries the statue once turned to human
ars latet arte sua: His art went so far as to conceal itself behind his art
Hesiod in Theogony's Bee Comparison: compares women to drones who supposing takes the handwork of the bees
(men). Men must marry else will suffer in old age, but if marrying a bad wife, would live with undying pain and no
cure for it. The men who gets a good wife fitted with intelligence, life is good, evil and good can be balanced. Semonides on Female Mind: compares women to animals, vixen (know-it-all, curious meddlesome), pig (dirty),
earth(not desirable, clueless, only eats), sea (unpredictable,moody), donkey (stubborn, promiscuous, puts up with
everything), ferret (super horny, but makes ppl sick from sex w/ her), horse (too proud, too picky, dont work, only
make-up), monkey (hideous face, laughed at by people, short, ugly, don't mind being laughed at), bee woman
(industrious, devoted and loving, only good type).. biggest zeus curse: we have to be with them to bear children
Euripides: worthlessness of women: Hippolytus' Stepmom Phaedra: basically Hippolytus observes that women are
lazy, consumes all the wealth of the home. Hippolytus thinks they should be locked up in solitary confinement with
beasts, and kept quiet, and that smart women are trouble and evil, like Aphrodite is sometimes. (all this due to reaction
vs knowing Phaedra wants him) (Potiphar's Wife Motif)
Juvenal's Satire: satire against women, that the educated women are threatening, dangerous, etc.
Lecture 3: Sex and Gender In the Ancient World
-focus is on various manifestations of sexuality in antiquity, how did ancients conceive sexual relationships?
lex Iulia de adulteriis coercendis: the punishment of banishment to different islands for adultery on top of financial
The Phallus (penis)
son of Aphrodite and Dionysus
divinity symbolizing fertility
protective purpose (Apotropaic (ward off evil)) function
-the bigger the penis, bigger the erection, the heavier, the more Apotropaic potency.
-Fresco of Priapus: painting.. showing Priapus weighing his giant penis, entrance of the hall of a house, which is weird to us, but
normal to them, painting normal decoration as well as useful
-City of Pompeii: larva destroyed the city, but preserved houses, and people and artwork left there became well preserved,
allowed us access to the daily lives of the people back then.
-Mercury at Bakery: Mercury here, the god of trade, money, also got his giant penis on a weight, big penis = wealthy
-Priapus Statue: was used as a fountain, with water sprinkling out of the penis
-Hymn to Priapus: praying to Priapus for potency of their husband, perhaps a prayer for women praying to him to get their
-Carmina Priapea (Songs of Priapus): series of obscene ancient literature, about Priapus penetrating all sorts of things as
method of warding.
Roman Tintinabula: tinkling bell, some of the Roman ones had giant penis decoration for apotropaic purpose
Pan's Sex with a Goat: Pompe was full of obscene objects, this was one that was found, reopened from the 'secret cabinet' of
Naples only recently. Pan a pastoral deity that inspires panic, and a statue of him sexing with a she-goat was found.
Greek Comedy - even in comedy in ancient Athens, the actors on stage would wear big phalluses hanging down as part of their
costume, and then there would be series of obscene jokes, and the Phallus is related to Dionysus Festival since he is also
associated with the phallus, during the festival, they'd also celebrate by carrying the giant phallus and singing songs, etc. Greek Herm - little statues with the head and the penis, very popular back in the day. These Hermes were derived from hermes,
in honour of him and used at crossroads and borders for apotropaic functions... Hipparchus, a famous greek astronomer, erected
130 Herms with moral teachings, and later some of these herms portrayed political and great figures... During the Peloponnesian
War, when Athens' fleet vs Sicily was ready to leave Athens, all the Herms were mutilated in the city, most likely done by
people objecting the war, and it also denotes a possible religious functions of the Herms, by cutting it, they wanted to show that it
was bad omen to go to war (Hermecolply scandal)
Ithyphallic -> with an erected penis
Baubo: stands for Iambe exposing her genitals to demeter
-Sexuality is not necessary a natural given, the way we look at sex is conditioned by society we grew up in, so it was very
different for the ancients.
-One would think sexuality is purely biological but it's also part of social constructs.
-There is a discourse going on that forms the way we think about things, discourse is institutionalized way of thinking, even
when we say we reject the discourse or convention, we still define ourselves against it, involved by it.
-Michel Foucault in History of Sexuality: dealt with sexuality and sexual discourse of 17th to 20th century, but also looked at
ancient world, basically says sexuality is a historical construct, not naturally given.
-sex in ancient time is a lot about the discourse of power, the adult male is always the active, and would be with the non-active
partner (teenage boy or woman).
-Adult male is active in politics, making him the penetrator, but the teenage boy isn't of that age yet, he is still considered passive,
not active in politics, he thus would be penetrated as much as the woman.
-In the ancient literature, there would be thus love poems to both teenage boys and female, and sometimes it's hard to even tell
what gender the poem's written for.
-masculinity in ancient times was associated with ability to withstand desire, moderation in pleasures, if you dont control your
sexual powers, you're like a woman then.
-femininity/women are full of lust, unreliable, they need to be domesticated, they are uncontrollable in sex while the male is self
-Eastes (lover) Eromenos (beloved)... the Easte