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Spartan Women - Sarah B. Pomeroy

Paperback

Published: 1st August 2002
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Sparta, which existed from 800 B.C. until A.D. 200, was renowned in the ancient world as a stoic and martial city-state, and most of what we know about Sparta concerns its military history and male-dominated social structure. Yet Spartan women were in many ways among the most liberated of the ancient world, receiving formal instruction in poetry, music, dance, and physical education. And the most famous of mythic Greek women, Helen of Troy, was originally a Spartan. Written by one of the leading authorities on women in antiquity, Spartan Women seeks to reconstruct the lives and the world of Sparta's women, including how their legal status changed over time and how they held on to their surprising autonomy. In this book, Sarah Pomeroy covers over a thousand years in the lives of Sparta's women from both the elite and lower classes. This is the first book-length examination of Spartan women, and Pomeroy comprehensively analyses ancient texts and archaeological evidence to construct the history of these elusive though much noticed women. Spartan Women is an authoritative and fresh account that will appeal to all readers interested in ancient history and women's studies.

"Spartan Women is a book that all ancient historians and classicists should add to their reading lists and personal collections. Sarah B. Pomeroy is already a scholar of great reputation in women's studies in the classical world, and this book adds to her reputation as a trailblazer in this dynamic field. Pomeroy has created a new classic that I predict will be part of the academic canon for years to come." --HISTORY: Reviews of New Books "Sarah Pomeroy's new book is a pioneering and important work, a thorough and painstaking study by perhaps the leading scholar of ancient Greek women's history. Thanks to this groundbreaking book, historians are now in a much better position than perhaps ever before to treat the daughters of Helen not as exemplars or myths but as real human beings." -American Historical Review "The book makes a valuable contribution to ancient Greek history and will immediately take its rightful place as the standard work in any language on a major but astonishingly long-neglected topic.... Pomeroy's female-oriented interrogation of the record is one that needed to be made, and in so doing she has significantly advanced our understanding of a critical--and diagnostically interesting--chapter in the history of women."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review "Spartan Woman is a landmark in the history of ancient women because it attempts for the first time to offer an account of the lives of both elite and non-elite Spartan women and to do so by sifting through a very difficult body of evidence.... In Spartan Women, readers will find an exhaustive survey of the available information on the subject."--New England Classical Journal "The world's top scholar on women in antiquity examines the lives of citizen women in militaristic Sparta.... Her analyses of women's health, education, fitness, wealth, leisure, self-image, social prominence, and religious power are cogent.... Pomeroy's book offers the best current account of the central role of women in Spartan society.... Highly recommended."--Choice "Spartan Women is a masterly synthesis of its subject that is not only enriched by nearly a generation's accomplishments in the historiography of women, but also informed by a wise empathy for its subjects. An invaluable resource for students of antiquity, this book will also be provocative reading for anyone fascinated by the variegated textures of women's historical experiences."--Thomas J. Figueira, Rutgers University "Drawing in part on approaches to women's history adapted by feminist historians, Sarah B. Pomeroy offers the most detailed study of Spartan women to date. Her thematically-organized chapters stress how Spartan women differed from their contemporaries, especially Athenians. Her appendix describing and evaluating the full range of our fragmentary historical, literary, and material sources illuminates the special challenge that she undertook in writing this book."--Helene P. Foley, Barnard College, Columbia University "Spartan Women is the first full-length historical study of its elusive subject ever published. This is not surprising. The sources--meticulously laid out here in a wide-ranging appendix--are a historian's nightmare. Through this minefield Professor Pomeroy moves sure-footedly, armed with encyclopedic knowledge, a papyrologist's precision, speculative courage, and what Dr Johnson memorably described as 'a bottom of good sense.' No one will ever say the last word on any aspect of Spartan culture; but Spartan Womenis a wonderfully thorough, sane, and for the most part convincing exploration of a controversial topic."--Peter Green, University of Iowa "Spartan Women is a book that all ancient historians and classicists should add to their reading lists and personal collections. Sarah B. Pomeroy is already a scholar of great reputation in women's studies in the classical world, and this book adds to her reputation as a trailblazer in this dynamic field. Pomeroy has created a new classic that I predict will be part of the academic canon for years to come." --HISTORY: Reviews of New Books "Sarah Pomeroy's new book is a pioneering and important work, a thorough and painstaking study by perhaps the leading scholar of ancient Greek women's history. Thanks to this groundbreaking book, historians are now in a much better position than perhaps ever before to treat the daughters of Helen not as exemplars or myths but as real human beings." -American Historical Review "The book makes a valuable contribution to ancient Greek history and will immediately take its rightful place as the standard work in any language on a major but astonishingly long-neglected topic.... Pomeroy's female-oriented interrogation of the record is one that needed to be made, and in so doing she has significantly advanced our understanding of a critical--and diagnostically interesting--chapter in the history of women."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review "Spartan Woman is a landmark in the history of ancient women because it attempts for the first time to offer an account of the lives of both elite and non-elite Spartan women and to do so by sifting through a very difficult body of evidence.... In Spartan Women, readers will find an exhaustive survey of the available information on the subject."--New England Classical Journal "The world's top scholar on women in antiquity examines the lives of citizen women in militaristic Sparta.... Her analyses of women's health, education, fitness, wealth, leisure, self-image, social prominence, and religious power are cogent.... Pomeroy's book offers the best current account of the central role of women in Spartan society.... Highly recommended."--Choice "Spartan Women is a masterly synthesis of its subject that is not only enriched by nearly a generation's accomplishments in the historiography of women, but also informed by a wise empathy for its subjects. An invaluable resource for students of antiquity, this book will also be provocative reading for anyone fascinated by the variegated textures of women's historical experiences."--Thomas J. Figueira, Rutgers University "Drawing in part on approaches to women's history adapted by feminist historians, Sarah B. Pomeroy offers the most detailed study of Spartan women to date. Her thematically-organized chapters stress how Spartan women differed from their contemporaries, especially Athenians. Her appendix describing and evaluating the full range of our fragmentary historical, literary, and material sources illuminates the special challenge that she undertook in writing this book."--Helene P. Foley, Barnard College, Columbia University "Spartan Women is the first full-length historical study of its elusive subject ever published. This is not surprising. The sources--meticulously laid out here in a wide-ranging appendix--are a historian's nightmare. Through this minefield Professor Pomeroy moves sure-footedly, armed with encyclopedic knowledge, a papyrologist's precision, speculative courage, and what Dr Johnson memorably described as 'a bottom of good sense.' No one will ever say the last word on any aspect of Spartan culture; but Spartan Women is a wonderfully thorough, sane, and for the most part convincing exploration of a controversial topic."--Peter Green, University of Iowa

Illustrations
Abbreviations
Educationp. 3
Becoming a Wifep. 33
The Creation of Mothersp. 51
Elite Womenp. 73
The Lower Classesp. 95
Women and Religionp. 105
Conclusion: Gender and Ethnicityp. 131
Sources for the History of Spartan Womenp. 139
Works Citedp. 171
Indexp. 185
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195130676
ISBN-10: 0195130677
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 1st August 2002
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.32 x 16.0  x 1.73
Weight (kg): 0.34