Women's Religion in the Ancient Greek World
Women in most of Greek antiquity were confined to the house, could not hold public roles, own businesses of any considerable size, and were politically disenfranchised. This is the image we get from ancient texts by philosophers, historians, and even some poets. However, their renditions of gendered roles are informed by their own worldviews and ideologies; and since most of them were upper class and male, the question that must be raised is how realistic they are.
Recent scholarship has looked for women's roles that defied these narrow boundaries. From priestesses to those who took care of the dead, women always held key roles in ritual and religion. Professional women's dedications to various gods have been found even in the great sanctuary of Athena on the Akropolis. Moreover, over time, women acquired access to other public spheres. This course will explore the art and archaeology of women's rituals and religious cults in ancient Attica, including shrines, votives, burials and funerary rituals, and women patrons who donated to the city.
The first part of the course is taught from August
19th to 28th 2020. During the semester, students write their research papers,
which they will present in January 2021 in the Netherlands, and in the Netherlands Institute at Athens during the trip to Greece. Students pay their own flight ticket and
accommodation, and a fee of c. 120 euros for the bus rent to take us to various
archaeological sites outside of the city. The exact time and nature of the trip will depend on the developments around COVID-19.
- Teacher: Helle Hochscheid