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Return to Book Page. Though much debated, its position as the basic textbook on women's history in Greece and Rome has hardly been challenged. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published May 18th by Schocken Books first published More Details Original Title.
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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. So, as a woman who is interested in Ancient Greek a 4 Stars My last couple of forays into non-fiction historical writing have been kind of disappointing three-star affairs. Perhaps a little dry in places but I preferred that to an overly informal tone and I have read plenty much, much, drier — so I think this book probably got the balance about right for me.
From the more passive roles in Classical Greece it then moves through the Hellenistic period towards ancient Rome, where women, although second-class citizens, were considerably more free and even gasp allowed out of the house! It's political correctness gone mad, I tell you!
As someone who is more interested with Ancient Greek literature and legends than the ins and outs of city state politics and who is less interested in Rome than Greece , I found the early chapters; discussing the iconography and roles of Greek Goddesses, the portrayal of women in Homer, and the way women were depicted in Classical tragedy and comedy, more interesting and more accessible than some of the chapters based more on the historical facts.
Although the blurb asks many questions, Pomeroy avoids giving too many answers in the book. The evidence, both literary and archaeological, is sparse and fragmentary for anything to do with how the less privileged classes of Greeks and Romans lived. The literary evidence is almost entirely written by educated men and most histories of the period and analysis of the archaeological evidence has been done by men too.
So often, rather than give a definitive answer, Pomeroy will promote a number of theories that both she and others have come up with. I guess it was the 70s, but many Freudian ideas are now no longer regarded as sound in actual psychology so they need to start getting the fuck out of disciplines like History already. Also it's an approach that really works a lot better when you actually know something about the person's childhood and can use that to interpret how it informed their writing.
If all you have is the writing, then you're just making shit up to fit your own theory - and that's just bad history. Over all, though, a very interesting and informative book. Seriously, Athens was a shit place to live if you were a girl. But if I ever spot one going cheap in a second-hand bookshop I will probably pick it up.
I kind of wish I had. But I'm sure the writers weren't actually misogynists - they just momentarily forgot that women existed, that's all! And then so did their proof-readers, editors, and publishers. And that's almost worse. View 1 comment. Jan 28, Nancy rated it liked it Shelves: ancient , read , women. Wide-ranging, interesting and provocative, this was marred by lackluster prose, projection of modern viewpoints, and long quotations out of place in such a slender work.
I finally had the chance of reading and finishing this book and I loved it. This book is amazing and I love how detailed and accurate it is.
The author is an academic so all of her work is based on historical sources which, for me, as history student, is ideal. I have a big problem with most books about the Sacred Feminine or about Women in History because there's a big tendency to just say things and not back it up with historical references. Some authors tend to say "Women did this" or "Goddes I finally had the chance of reading and finishing this book and I loved it.
Some authors tend to say "Women did this" or "Goddesses were portrayed like this" but show no source to these affirmations and I really don't like that since I have no way of understanding where it came from. This book is not like that, the author writes in a very clear but detailed way and provides all the sources necessary for the reader to understand and check the information she's giving us. I had a different image of how life for women was in Ancient Greece and it was an eye opener to read this book, specially to understand that women were treated differently depending on what part of the Ancient Greece they were with a huge contrast between Athens and Sparta I prefer Sparta.
Also when it comes to Rome, I love how she explained everything and traced several parallels to Egypt and to previous Hellenistic period to show a comparison of how things were.
Also enjoyed a small chapter on the cult of Isis which had a huge impact on the history of Women in Classical Antiquity. I got this book from the Library at my University but I'm going to purchase a copy for myself since this book is amazing, indeed.
Jul 11, Martine rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , history-ancient , feminism. An informative book, but Pomeroy's feminism shines through so much that I have no faith in her objectivity. Combined with the age of this book, I'd advise everyone to look at Pomeroy's assertions with a highly critical eye. View 2 comments. Jul 19, Stephen Simpson rated it really liked it. Short, but pretty densely-packed with information, and yet still pleasant to read. I'm sure armchair historians will quibble with the work, but let 'em where's their book?
I found the book to be well-researched, well-sourced, and well-reasoned. There were some "leaps" and assumptions, but that goes with the territory. I would have liked another pages of this book, but I enjoyed what was there. Aug 30, Ellana Thornton-Wheybrew rated it it was amazing Shelves: female-author , masters-degree , library-academic. I'm not convinced by all the arguments raised in this, but as a groundbreaking book it is exceptional. This is a thorough look at a subject that has only recently been a part of Classical Studies, and often discusses the lack of evidence as well as the evidence itself.
Nov 04, Skye rated it really liked it. I read this book because I am a feminist, a Latin teacher, and a lover of anything about the ancient world. Clearly this book is well deserving of its secure place on college curricula, and is a fantastic sourcebook.
I learned so much, often about areas of the ancient world I didn't even know I didn't know about. The writing style is direct and organized, and I underlined frequently because I was learning so much. The only downside was that it wasn't exactly a page-turner. I get that it's hard to I read this book because I am a feminist, a Latin teacher, and a lover of anything about the ancient world.
I get that it's hard to write page-turning nonfiction, especially ones that are somewhat designed as textbooks But I kept wondering if I was doing a disservice to the book by reading it front to back. Maybe it would be best read as it probably is assigned in college courses-- a chapter here, a section there, based on the needs of the reader. I'll continue recommending it, even though it ain't no beach read Feb 29, Jo rated it did not like it Shelves: books-i-own.
I found that I couldn't focus well on this book. It isn't very academic because it treats a lot of assumptions about the classical world as fact. This is a common problem with the question of women in the ancient world as remaining literature generally portrays women in epic roles which are quite a bit different from the material evidence that is now used to understand the lives of everyday women.
It is disappointing For a more accurate and thoughtful critical review of women's role in classic l I found that I couldn't focus well on this book. It is disappointing For a more accurate and thoughtful critical review of women's role in classic literature, I would recommend Tragic Ways of Killing a Woman. If material history is more your cup of tea, then i would recommend more recent archaeology studies and peer reviewed essays.
Oct 09, Tanya rated it it was amazing. One of my absolute favorite books from college. Note that the list of "types" in the title is also a ranking.
In many ways it was better to be a whore in Classical Greece than a wife, especially in the upper classes. Exhaustively researched using primary sources such as laws, legal documents, letters, plays, etc.
Surprisingly engaging and easy to read.
Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves
Look Inside. The book has itself become a classic. Opens up a traditional discpline to a whole new range of questions and issues while providing enlightenment about the past for feminists and nonfeminists alike. Goddesses and Gods 2.
Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves
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Goddesses, whores, wives, and slaves: women in classical antiquity
The work covers the lives of women in antiquity from the Greek Dark Ages to the death of Constantine the Great. When the book was first published, reviewers commented that Pomeroy's work was an improvement on previous treatments of women in classical antiquity, such as J. Balsdon's Roman Women ,  and it was praised for its lack of "polemical bias". Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves is now considered to be a turning point in the study of women in ancient history. In , Edith Hall said that it "marked the inauguration of women's studies within classics";  in the same year, Shelley Haley wrote that it "legitimized the study of Greek and Roman women in ancient times".
Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity