Women in ancient Greece and Rome played a much more active role in battle than previously assumed.
The martial virtues—courage, loyalty, cunning, and strength—were central to male identity in the ancient world, and antique literature is replete with depictions of men cultivating and exercising these virtues on the battlefield. In Women and War in Antiquity, sixteen scholars reexamine classical sources to uncover the complex but hitherto unexplored relationship between women and war in ancient Greece and Rome. They reveal that women played a much more active role in battle than previously assumed, embodying martial virtues in both real and mythological combat.
The essays in the collection, taken from the first meeting of the European Research Network on Gender Studies in Antiquity, approach the topic from philological, historical, and material culture perspectives. The contributors examine discussions of women and war in works that span the ancient canon, from Homer’s epics and the major tragedies in Greece to Seneca’s stoic writings in first-century Rome. They consider a vast panorama of scenes in which women are portrayed as spectators, critics, victims, causes, and beneficiaries of war.
This deft volume, which ultimately challenges the conventional scholarly opposition of standards of masculinity and femininity, will appeal to scholars and students of the classical world, European warfare, and gender studies.
About the authors
Jacqueline Fabre-Serris is a professor of Latin literature at the University Charles de Gaulle–Lille 3. She is the author of Rome, l’Arcadie et la mer des Argonautes: Naissance d’une mythologie des origines en Occident.
Alison Keith is a professor of classics, comparative literature, medieval studies, and women and gender studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Engendering Rome: Women in Latin Epic.
"Fabre-Serris and Keith have assembled an impressive collection of papers that offer insightful interpretations of the relationship between women and war in a variety of Greco-Roman literary and historical contexts...To scholars interested in gender more generally or in the specific topics of individual chapters, this volume’s penetrating exploration of a variety of evidence will prompt productive questions for further thought."
New England Classical Journal
"To sum up, this collection fills a perceived need and ideally should stimulate deeper consideration of women’s paradoxical but inescapable link to war."
Religious Studies Review
"Women and War in Antiquity is a remarkable collection of historical and literary research, one that has much to interest the generalist, yet is sure to be an essential text for scholars of both ancient warfare and gender in antiquity... This excellent volume lights the way."
"... ope paths and offer fresh ideas for future research..."
"Fabre-Serris and Keith have assembled an impressive collection of papers that offer insightful interpretations of the relationship between women and war in a variety of Greco-Roman literature and historical contexts... To scholars interested in gender more generally or in the specific topics of individual chapters, this volume's penetrating exploration of a variety of evidence will prompt productive questions for further thought."
New England Classical Journal
"Jacqueline Fabre-Serris and Alison Keith’s volume, Women & War in Antiquity, provides meaningful contributions to the advancement of this question. Whereas the premise of this book is bold, the scope is equally impressive; articles range in chronology from Homer and the mythohistoric Trojan origins of the classical world to the fall of Christian Rome"
"The essays in this volume open up important but neglected topics for further inquiry, and will be valuable for literary and military historians alike. In addition, the international perspectives represented will challenge scholars to venture beyond traditional interpretations and methodologies, especially regarding the study of gender in antiquity."
Bryn Mawr Classical Review