Final Exam Study Guide for Women in Antiquity

Be able to discuss in most detail sections highlighted.

Spartan Customs, Medical and Philosophical tracts; Hellenistic Greek (323-30 B.C.E.) and Roman Societies

1) How does the education and position of women in ancient Sparta differ from that of Classical Athens.

2) What do the medical writings say about the physiological nature of women? You do not need to identify the material by author (e.g., Soranus said...) but do know the kinds of comments or theories they presented.

3 A) What do the male philosphers, especially Plato and Aristotle, say about women: How does Plato's republic resemble and differ from Spartan and Athenian societies? How does Aristotle argue for both woman's naturally subordinate position (Fantham text) and also the need for mutuality between husband and wife? (class handout--I'll leave extra copies of this and other handouts in Cudahy Library Room Reserves).

3 B) What do we know about women philosophers and why do their philosphies allow for participation by women (Snyder)? You do not need to remember the philosophers' names, but you must know the women's contributions to philosophy.

4 A) What do we know about women's economic, political, religious, and artistic activities during the Hellenistic Period (Fantham Text and handout)

4 B) What do we know about the women poets Anyte, Nossis, Moero, and Erinna? When and where did they live? What type of literature did they write and how is this literature appropriate to the times in which they wrote? How does their literature compare or contrast with men's? How do their poems compare with those of the earlier women poets: Sappho, Korinna, Praxilla, Telesilla, Myrtis? Cf. Snyder, Fantham, and handouts.

Anyte: epitaph poems (who laments whom or what (objects and animals) for what reasons?)

dedications: what is dedicated to which deities with what descriptions?

nature poems: how are gods, mortals, and nature united in mutual benefit and enjoyment?

Nossis: What does Nossis say about herself, her family, and connection with Sappho (regarding love and poetry)?

What does Nossis say about the deities (especially, Hera, Aphrodite, Eros, Artemis) and a famous actor Rhinthon?

What objects are mentioned and how are they described (e.g., headband, portraits, shields?

Moero: How does she describe a cluster of grapes, statues of nymphs dedicated by Kleonymus, and the Pleiades (doves who nurtured baby Zeus)?

Erinna: What does she say about herself and Baucis, as young children and young adults? Why does she refer to Prometheus?

5 A) How are the lives of women during the Roman Monarchy, Republic, and Empire comparable in restrictions with those of Greek women? How do the Roman women have more freedom? Cf. Handouts and Fantham text.

How do the stories of women as groups and as individuals represent their society's values? Be able to identify five of the following:

  • the Sabine Women;
  • Lucretia;
  • Cornelia (a) mother of the Gracchi; b) dead wife of Paullus;
  • Hortensia;
  • Fulvia;
  • Octavia;
  • Julia (mother and daughter);
  • Agrippina (mother and daughter);
  • Livia.

5 B) How are women represented in the literature by men? For what reasons are these representations positive and negative (in the author's representation? in your opinion?)? For elegiac and lyric know, for example, how Catullus or Propertius or Tibullus describes the woman he loves. For epic, know the stories of Dido and Cleopatra as described in Vergil's Aeneid: How is each woman powerful or noteworthy in her own right ( e.g., how is she described as acting with people other than her lover)? How does each help the man she loves? How does the man she loves reciprocate her help (or not)? How is each woman portrayed as a threat to Roman society? What parallels and differences can you ascertain between their stories and those of Greek women (legendary or historical)?

C) How does Sulpicia describe her affair with Cerinthus? What does she say about herself ? Cerinthus? Her family? What can we learn about religious and social practices or values, i.e., what does she say about the gods and other people in her society? How does her poetry compare with that of the Greek women poets? How does it compare with that of Roman men (see above 5 B)? How does her poetry reflect a difference in the Roman culture from the Greek?

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