Women's Ritual Competence in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean

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Matthew Dillon, Esther Eidinow, Lisa Maurizio
Routledge, Oct 14, 2016 - History - 262 pages

Contributions in this volume demonstrate how, across the ancient Mediterranean and over hundreds of years, women’s rituals intersected with the political, economic, cultural, or religious spheres of their communities in a way that has only recently started to gain sustained academic attention. The volume aims to tease out a number of different approaches and contexts, and to expand existing studies of women in the ancient world as well as scholarship on religious and social history.

The contributors face a famously difficult task: ancient authors rarely recorded aspects of women’s lives, including their songs, prophecies, and prayers. Many of the objects women made and used in ritual were perishable and have not survived; certain kinds of ritual objects (lowly undecorated pots, for example) tend not even to be recorded in archaeological reports. However, the broad range of contributions in this volume demonstrates the multiplicity of materials that can be used as evidence – including inscriptions, textiles, ceramics, figurative art, and written sources – and the range of methodologies that can be used, from analysis of texts, images, and material evidence to cognitive and comparative approaches.


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About the author (2016)

Matt Dillon is an Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient History in the School of Humanities, University of New England, Armidale, Australia. He has written several articles and a book on women’s religion in ancient Greece, Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion (2002). He is interested in all ancient religions, and in Greek society.

Esther Eidinow is an Associate Professor of Ancient Greek History at the University of Nottingham, UK. She has particular interest in ancient Greek religion and magic, and her publications include Oracles, Curses, and Risk among the Ancient Greeks (2007), Luck, Fate and Fortune: Antiquity and its Legacy (2010), and Envy, Poison and Death: Women on Trial in Classical Athens (2015).

Lisa Maurizio is an Associate Professor of Classical and Medieval Studies at Bates College, Maine, USA. She is interested in interplay between gender, oral poetry, and Greek religion, and has published articles on Delphic divination as well as Classical Mythology in Context (2015).

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