In classical Greece women were almost entirely excluded from public life. Yet the feminine was accorded a central place in religious thought and ritual.This volume explores the often paradoxical centrality of the feminine in Greek culture, showing how out of sight was not out of mind. The contributors adopt perspectives from a wide range of disciplines, such as archaeology, art history, psychology and anthropology, in order to investigate various aspects of religion and cult. They include the part played by women in death ritual, the role of heroines, and the fact that goddesses had no childhood, at the same time posing questions about how we know what rituals meant to their participants.
The Sacred and the Feminine in Ancient Greece is a lively and colourful exploration of the ways in which religion and ritual reveal women's importance in the Greek polis, showing how ideologies about female roles and behaviour were both endorsed and challenged in the realm of the sacred.
Sue Blundell is a part time lecturer in Classical Civilisation at Birkbeck College, University of London and Associate Lecturer for the Open University. She is the author of Women in Ancient Greece (British Museum Press, 1995)
Margaret Williamson is Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at St. Mary's University College, University of Surrey. She is the author of Sappho's Immortal Daughters (Harvard University Press, 1995).
'The book is an interesting contribution to gender studies in the area of religious research. The reader ... will find well represented papers understandable also for non-specialists.' - Numen