The fundamental gesture of weaving in "The Craft of Zeus" is the interlacing of warp and woof described by Plato in "The Statesman"--an interweaving signifying the union of opposites. From rituals symbolizing--even fabricating--the cohesion of society to those proposed by oracles as a means of propitiating fortune; from the erotic and marital significance of weaving and the woven robe to the use of weaving as a figure for language and the fabric of the text, this lively and lucid book defines the logic of one of the central concepts in Greek and Roman thought--a concept that has persisted, woof and warp crossing again and again, as the fabric of human history has unfolded.
Revealing Antiquity, a series edited by Glen Bowersock for Harvard University Press, is winning a distinctive niche for itself in the world of classical studies...The series as a whole has set...high standards for provocative and beautifully produced books, which deploy stimulating and complex material, the product of both innovative methodological insight, and a flair for refocusing on the previously marginalized. What is more, each is intelligently framed to make its arguments accessible to a wide audience and to interests outside classics...The Craft of Zeus is similarly an attractively and thoughtfully produced volume, with a distinctive methodological concern and an eye for the misplaced margin and the surprising connection...[The authors] aim not at an exhaustive coverage of the language, images and tales of weaving, but at a more essayistic approach that sets out to exemplify not merely the pervasiveness of the idea of weaving in classical culture but also a particular sense of what might be meant by a myth of weaving...In sum, the somewhat surprising coupling of the vast solidity of Scheid's work on the Arval Brethren with the more mercurial leptotes of Svenbro produces a stimulating brief set of interconnected essays, whose general frame encourages a deeper awareness of the normative depth of every use of the vocabulary, imagery or tales of weaving and fabrics. -- Simon Goldhill Bryn Mawr Classical Review This subtle and thought-provoking book examines the network of associations which, Scheid and Svenbro believe, surrounded the process of weaving and the idea of fabric in antiquity...I found this a stimulating and illuminating book, written in a mercifully clear and accessible style, very well translated into English by Carol Volk. -- Richard Whitaker Scholia Reviews: Natal Studies in Classical Antiquity This lively and well-written work,...because of its wide range of illustrative evidence, should find a large audience among classicists and anyone interested in social custom and etymology and is recommended to teachers and graduate students. -- Leona Ascher Classical World [An] elegant exploration...This is a constantly challenging and entertaining little book...[It] sheds new light on old texts and explores important areas of ancient mentalities in ways which enliven and stimulate. -- Nick Fisher Times Literary Supplement