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Women in the ancient Greek world

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Presentation on theme: "Women in the ancient Greek world"— Presentation transcript:

1 Women in the ancient Greek world
Questioning Women’s Seclusion Jane Rempel, Lecturer in Classical Archaeology Natasha Andronikou, PhD candidate, Archaeology 17 June 2014

2 Questioning women’s seclusion
Ancient texts tell us women were kept separate from men in the ancient Greek house I showed her the women's quarters too, separated by a bolted door from the men's, so that nothing which ought not to be moved may be taken out, and that the servants may not breed without our leave. (Xenophon, Oikonomikos 9.5) …my dwelling is on two floors, the upper being equal in space to the lower, with the women's quarters above and the men's below. (Lysias I, 9-10) A drawing of Vitruvius’ (6.7) description of ‘The Greek House’. Note the ‘gynaikonitis’ or women’s quarters.

3 The ‘typical’ Greek house
Key features of the ‘typical’ Greek house: Courtyard Narrow entrance Colonnaded space (pastas, prostas) Andron oikos pastas corridor corridor courtyard shop andron

4 Space for men: the andron Mentioned in ancient texts
Villa of Good Fortune Olynthus, 4th century BCE Space for men: the andron Mentioned in ancient texts Identifiable archaeologically: off-set doorways mosaics and wall decoration raised or undecorated area for benches For a reconstruction of the andron in the Villa of Good Fortune, see:

5 Finding women in the Greek house
Access analysis, ethnographic analogy: Concern with privacy: entrance alignment off-axis obscuring views from street windows small and high up, often only in andron ‘oikos’ unit in most difficult to access Exclusion of external men, rather than seclusion of women shop and andron accessibility directly from street and courtyard courtyard and pastas acting as mediating spaces ‘oikos’ ‘screen’ corridor Mediating external visitors shop andron L. Nevett, 1994, 1998, 2010

6 Mapping ‘women’s work’: artifact distribution
Olynthus, House A vii 4 Cahill (2002) has shown that artifacts associated with women are found in most rooms of the houses of Olynthus Portable furniture Activities according to light, weather, visitors All spaces versatile Women had access to the whole house loomweights N. Cahill, Olynthus 2002 table and cooking wares jewellery


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