Here Sian Lewis considers the full range of female existence in classical Greece - childhood and old age, unfree and foreign status, and the ageless woman characteristic of Athenian red-figure painting.
Ceramics are an unparalleled resource for women's lives in ancient Greece, since they show a huge number of female types and activities. Yet it can be difficult to interpret the meanings of these images, especially when they seem to conflict with literary sources.
This much-needed study shows that it is vital to see the vases as archaeology as well as art, since context is the key to understanding which images can stand as evidence for the real lives of women, and which should be reassessed.
'[The book encourages] us to think carefully about provenance in our interpretation of the vases and to use caution in our categorization of themes and images … L[ewis] has done a tremendous service by calling attention to this lacuna in the scholarship.' - BMCR
'This is essential reading for anyone remotely interested in Greek social history, art and archaeology, or gender studies … I shall certainly be putting it on a number of undergraduate reading lists.' - JACT Review