1-9 of 9 Results  for:

  • Gender Studies x
  • Greek Myth and Religion x
Clear all



Adrienne Mayor

In Greek myth, Amazons were fierce female warriors, arch-enemies of the Greeks, dwelling around and beyond the Black Sea. Depicted in ancient literature and art as the “equals of men,” Amazons were as brave and skilled in combat as male warriors. Glorying in riding horses, hunting, warfare, and sexual independence, Amazons were deemed formidable adversaries of the greatest Greek heroes of myth. Bellerophon battled Amazons, and Heracles, Theseus, and Achilles each proved their valour by defeating powerful Amazon queens—Hippolyte, Antiope, and Penthesilea. Amazons and Amazonomachies (battle scenes) were extremely popular in Greek art, in public spaces and on privately owned pottery. In the myths and artistic representations, Amazons were consistently portrayed as courageous, athletic, attractive, and heroic, running towards danger, and fighting and dying valiantly in battle. Amazons were first described in Homer’s Iliad as antianeirai, which can be translated as “men’s equals.” Many classical scholars consider Amazons to be purely fictional figures with no basis in reality, invented by Greek men to serve as “anti-women” and/or to symbolize Persians. Notably, ancient authors such as Herodotus (4.110–117), Plato (Laws 7.



Luc Brisson

In the modern use, “bisexuality” refers to sexual object choice, whereas “androgyny” refers to sexual identity. In ancient Greece and Rome, however, these terms sometimes refer to human beings born with characteristics of both sexes, and more frequently to an adult male who plays the role of a woman, or to a woman who has the appearance of a man, both physically and morally. In mythology, having both sexes simultaneously or successively characterises, on the one hand, the first human beings, animals, or even plants from which arose male and female, and on the other, mediators between human beings and gods, the living and the dead, men and women, past and future, and human generations. Thus androgyny and bisexuality were used as a tools to cope with one’s biological, social, and even fictitious environment.The term “androgyne” comes from the Greek andrógunos,1 a compound formed from the terms an.


anthropology and the classics  

Helen King

Anthropology and the classics currently enjoy a fairly good relationship, but one which has never been stable. In the 19th cent. the interest of evolutionary anthropology in a ‘savage’ period through which all societies must pass meant that studies of contemporary simple societies began to be used to illuminate the classical past. After the First World War, classicists reacted against what were perceived as the excesses of the work of Jane Harrison and the Cambridge school, in which it was claimed that knowledge of ‘things primitive’ gave a better understanding of the Greeks. Meanwhile, in social anthropology, the rise of the static structural-functional paradigm and an insistence on an identity as ‘the science of fieldwork’ combined to cause a rejection of history. In the last 50 years, the divorce between the subjects has been eroded from both sides, with comparative studies increasingly valued as enabling us to escape from our intellectual heritage and the specific—though, to us, self-evident—ways it has formulated questions and sought answers.



Nicholas J. Richardson

Baubo belongs to the main Orphic version of the Rape of *Persephone (Asclepiades of Tragilus, FGrH 12. 4; Orph. frs. 49–52 O. Kern; see orphism). She resembles *Iambe in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. She and her husband Dysaules receive *Demeter at Eleusis during her search for Persephone, and their children *Eubouleus and *Triptolemus give her information about the rape. Like Iambe Baubo gives Demeter a refreshing drink (the kykeōn), and when she refuses it Baubo by an indecent exposure makes her laugh and accept it. (Her name can be used of the female sexual organs.) The story may be an aition for a ritual at the *Thesmophoria. Her cult is found on *Naxos in the 4th cent. bce (SEG 16. 478) and *Paros in the 1st cent. bce (IG 12. 5. 227).


Damia and Auxesia  

Nicholas J. Richardson

Goddesses of fertility (cf. demeter and persephone/kore), worshipped at *Epidaurus, *Aegina, and *Troezen (Hdt. 5. 82–8 and IG 4.22 787; Paus. 2. 32. 2). Herodotus says that the cult at Epidaurus was instituted on the advice of Delphi (see delphic oracle) after a crop-failure, and the cult statues were later stolen by the Aeginetans: cf. J. Haubold in E. Irwin and E. Greenwood (eds.), Reading Herodotus (2007), 226–44. The Aeginetan cult involved sacrifices and female choruses who sang ritual abuse against local women. The Epidaurian rites were similar. The Aeginetan statues were kneeling, probably as birth-goddesses. The aition for this was that they fell on their knees when the Athenians tried to carry them away unsuccessfully. Women dedicated their brooches to them. At Troezen Damia and Auxesia were Cretan girls, stoned to death in a revolt, and honoured in the Lithobolia (stone-throwing festival). This and the ritual abuse resemble what occurred in other fertility cults (cf. N.


eunuchs, religious  

Richard Gordon

In the Classical period, religious eunuchs are a feature of several Anatolian cults of female deities, extending across to Scythia (Hdt. 4. 67: not shamans) and to the southern foothills of the Taurus mountains, but independent of Babylonian and Phoenician (Euseb. Vit. Const. 3. 55. 2 f.) practices (see anatolian deities). As a whole the institution created a class of pure servants of a god (Matt. 19: 12). Its significance derives from a double contrast, with the involuntary castration of children for court use and the normal obligation to marry. The adult self-castrate expressed in his body both world-rejection and -superiority.Two forms may be distinguished. (1) A senior, or even high, priest in a temple, e.g. the eunuchs of *Hecate at Lagina in *Caria (Sokolowski, LSAM no. 69. 19, etc.); the Megabyz(x)us of *Artemis at *Ephesus (Strabo 14. 1. 23; Vett. Val., 2. 21. 47); the *Attis and Battaces, the high priests of Cybele at *Pessinus.



Antony Spawforth

Half-male, half-female divinity, his cult first attested in the 4th cent. bce at Athens, where he provided *Posidippus(2) with the title of a comic play (lost) in the early 3rd. *Diodorus(3) (4. 6. 5) makes him the offspring of *Hermes and *Aphrodite; Ovid (Met. 4. 285 ff.) provides a lengthy aetiology (the prayers of the nymph Salmacis that she and her beloved might never be parted are dramatically granted). A favourite subject of Hellenistic and Roman artists, he is invariably depicted with developed breasts and male genitals, his physique soft and boyish. At republican Rome natural hermaphrodites (androgyni) were considered ill-omened prodigies (see portents) and were liable to ritual drowning at birth.


marriage ceremonies, Greek  

Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood

Ceremonies were not identical all over Greece. For example, at Sparta they included a mock abduction (Plut.Lyc. 15. 3). But they were shaped by largely similar perceptions about the ceremony and the deities concerned with it. Thus, *Artemis was concerned with the girl's transition to womanhood, *Hera, especially as Hera Teleia, with the institution of marriage, *Aphrodite with its erotic aspect. The evidence is more plentiful for Athens, where it includes images on vases, some of which (e.g. the loutrophoroi) were actually used in the wedding ceremony. What follows is centred on Athens. But the main elements were common to all; thus, the form of the preliminary *sacrifices and offerings may have varied from place to place, but such sacrifices and offerings were made everywhere. After a ritual bath, in water carried in loutrophoroi from a particular spring or river, in Athens *Callirrhoë, the bride and groom were dressed and (especially the bride) adorned.



Richard Seaford

Phallus, an image of the penis, often as erect, to be found in various contexts, in particular (a) in certain rituals associated with fertility, notably Dionysiac *processions (see dionysus): see e.g. Ar. Ach.243 on the Attic rural Dionysia (see attic cults and myths), *Semos in Ath. 622b-c on groups of ‘ithyphallics’ and ‘phallus-bearers’, *Varro in Aug. Civ. 7. 21 ‘for the success of seeds’ at the Liberalia (see liber pater);(b) as a sacred object revealed in the Dionysiac *mysteries, as in the Villa of the Mysteries fresco at *Pompeii; *Iamblichus (2) (Myst. 1. 11) mentions it as a symbol of secret doctrine;(c) in the costume of comedy (see comedy (greek), old), *satyric drama, and various low theatrical genres; *Aristotle (Poet. 1449a11) says that comedy originated in phallic songs;(d) on permanent display, often as part of a statue such as those of *Priapus or the *herms identified with *Hermes;(e) as apotropaic: e.