Citizen Bacchae

Barbara Goff

Edited by Terence Taylor

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780520239982
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930582 | DOI:
Citizen Bacchae

Show Summary Details


What activities did the women of ancient Greece perform in the sphere of ritual, and what were the meanings of such activities for them and their culture? By offering answers to these questions, this study aims to recover and reconstruct an important dimension of the lived experience of ancient Greek women. A comprehensive investigation of the ritual roles of women in ancient Greece, it draws on a wide range of evidence from across the Greek world–including literary and historical texts, inscriptions, and vase paintings–to assemble a portrait of women as religious and cultural agents, despite the ideals of seclusion within the home and exclusion from public arenas that we know restricted their lives. As the author builds a picture of the extent and diversity of women's ritual activity, she shows that women were entrusted with some of the most important processes by which the community guaranteed its welfare. She examines the ways in which women's ritual activity addressed issues of sexuality and civic participation, showing that ritual could offer women genuinely alternative roles and identities, even while it worked to produce wives and mothers who functioned well in this male-dominated society. Moving to more speculative analysis, the author discusses the possibility of a women's subculture focused on ritual, and investigates the significance of ritual in women's poetry and in vase paintings that depict women. She also includes a substantial exploration of the representation of women as ritual agents in fifth-century Athenian drama.

Keywords: ancient Greek women; ritual; inscriptions; vase paintings; seclusion; exclusion; sexuality; civic participation; male-dominated society; women's subculture

Book.  413 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Table of Contents

Introduction in Citizen Bacchae


Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.