Reintroducing women into the ancient Athenian public sphere: an analysis of female depictions on Attic Athenian pottery from late 6th and 5th centuries BCE

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2023-05
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Bartlett, Sarah Catherine
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Arndt, Grant
Mook, Margaret
Gabiam, Nell
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Anthropology
Abstract
Women in Ancient Greece are often slotted into one of two categories: housewives or sex workers. Many have argued that it is common knowledge and well-established that women were secluded in their homes, with very little physical evidence to support their claims. This paper aims to uncover how such narratives persist well into the 21st century and seeks to understand the effects of these ideas in categorizing Greek Women on pottery during the 7th-5th centuries BCE. It draws on recent research that pulls women from the private sphere and into the public sphere through pottery production to ultimately answer the question: How have early interpretations of pottery and other archaeological materials from the late 6th-5th cent BCE in Greece affected the way we currently view the ancient world and how can a reintroduction of women into the narrative change the way we see the ancient world and ourselves today? The goal of this project is to use ethnographic methods to examine how women in Ancient Greece have been described by modern scholars and examine ways in which a new research framework—one that is engendered and decolonized—can change our view of this period and see women in the ancient world as more than just housewives or hetaira.
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