Ideology and “the Status of Women” in Ancient Greece<sup>†</sup>

Marilyn Katz

in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748613199
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651016 | DOI:
Ideology and “the Status of Women” in Ancient Greece†

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Is a ‘History of Women’ possible? Does Woman exist? The dominant research question in the field, centred around the ‘status’ of women in ancient Athens, has in fact only recently been fully redefined, but without developing an adequate historiographic basis for it. This chapter examines the ideological parameters which informed the constitution of the original research question, and suggests that the new reformulation, centred around women in Greek society, must itself be modified in order to incorporate an analysis of female sexuality in ancient Greece. It first investigates the constitution of the dominant research question in the field, focusing on patriarchy and misogyny, and then looks at women's place in civil society and analyses the phrase ‘Oriental exclusion’. The chapter discusses the interrelationships among race, culture, and sexuality, and takes up the theory of the constitution of woman as a separate race, based on eighteenth-century reevaluations of ancient medical theory, within the context of the development of racial theory overall. It also considers sexual pathology and the current controversy over homosexuality in ancient Greece.

Keywords: Athens; ancient Greece; women; sexuality; homosexuality; patriarchy; misogyny; Oriental exclusion; civil society; race

Chapter.  6380 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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