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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
Women's History and Ancient History
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 24 July 2006
A lot of the essays in this book are highly specialized studies, only for Ancient History scholars, like 'Three Case Studies in Hippocratic Gynecological Therapy and Theory', or 'What's in a Name? The Emergence of a Title for Royal Women in the Hellenistic Period'.

More generally interesting essays are two women portraits: One of Fulvia, the wife of Marcus Antonius, and her political influence in Ancient Rome, with Cicero in the role of a 'whournalist'; another of Plancia Magna of Perse, a very wealthy maecenas.

For women's history, the following studies are important:

'The cultural Construct of the Female Body' : the Greek used natural female characteristics in order to justify the subordination of the female to the male.

'Menstruants and the Sacred in Judaism and Christianity': the reason for considering ejaculation as impure was to limit the frequency of sexual intercourse, 'so that sages should not behave like roosters.'

'The rhetoric of impurity only served to strenghten and justify the marginalization of women.'

'Women in the Spartan Revolutions': Women's economic power appears as one of the essential features of the Spartan revolutions, because they owned the majority of the land. The aim of the Spartan revolutions was to put an end to the unequal distribution of wealth, which was the major cause of the city's decline.

And more importantly (!), 'the Spartan men obeyed their wives and allowed them to become active in public matters.'

'Family Behavior of the Roman Aristocracies': in order to control the size of their families, the Romans possessed in addition to contraception, an efficient method: the exposure of the unwanted newborn children.

There was a social endogamy in order to enlarge the circle of allies.

'Women as Historical Subjects in Roman Art': the key concept is conservatism, a propagandistic form idealizing narratives of power and kinship.

'Marriage and the Married Woman in Athenian Law': Athenian marriage law was concerned first with the identification of legitimate children.

Excellent are the essays on Sappho and the less known female writer Nossis.

Highly recommended for Ancient History scholars and all those interested in Women's History.
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