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These three plays by the great comic playwright Aristophanes (c. 446-386 BCE), the well-known Lysistrata, and the less familiar Women at the Thesmophoria and Assemblywomen, are the earliest surviving portrayals of contemporary women in the European literary tradition. These plays provide a unique glimpse of women not only in their familiar domestic roles but also in relation to household and city, religion and government, war and peace, theater and festival, and, of course, to men. This freshly revised edition presents, for the first time in a single volume, all three plays in faithful modern translations that preserve intact Aristophanes’ blunt and often obscene language, sparkling satire, political provocation, and beguiling fantasy. Alongside the translations are ample introductions and notes covering the politically engaged genre of Aristophanic comedy in general and issues of sex and gender in particular, which have been fully updated since the first edition in light of recent scholarship. An appendix contains fragments of lost plays of Aristophanes that also featured women, and an up-to-date bibliography provides guidance for further exploration. In addition to their timeless humor and biting satire, the plays are unique and invaluable documents in the history of western sexuality and gender, and they offer strikingly prescient speculations about the social and political future of the female sex.
Aristophanes and His Tragic Muse considers the opposition of comedy and tragedy in 5th century Athens and its effect on the drama of Aristophanes. The study examines tragedy’s focus on necessity and a quest for meaning as a complement to a neglected but critical element in Athenian comedy, a concern with freedom and an underlying ambivalent vision of reality.
Women on the Edge, a collection of Alcestis, Medea, Helen, and Iphegenia at Aulis, provides a broad sample of Euripides' plays focusing on women, and spans the chronology of his surviving works, from the earliest, to his last, incomplete, and posthumously produced masterpiece. Each play shows women in various roles--slave, unmarried girl, devoted wife, alienated wife, mother, daughter--providing a range of evidence about the kinds of meaning and effects the category woman conveyed in ancient Athens. The female protagonists in these plays test the boundaries--literal and conceptual--of their lives. Although women are often represented in tragedy as powerful and free in their thoughts, speech and actions, real Athenian women were apparently expected to live unseen and silent, under control of fathers and husbands, with little political or economic power. Women in tragedy often disrupt "normal" life by their words and actions: they speak out boldly, tell lies, cause public unrest, violate custom, defy orders, even kill. Female characters in tragedy take actions, and raise issues central to the plays in which they appear, sometimes in strong opposition to male characters. The four plays in this collection offer examples of women who support the status quo and women who oppose and disrupt it; sometimes these are the same characters.
This highly acclaimed collection provides a unique look into the public and private lives and legal status of Greek and Roman women of all social classes-from wet nurses, prostitutes, and gladiatrixes to poets, musicians, intellectuals, priestesses, and housewives. The third edition adds new texts to sections throughout the book, vividly describing women's sentiments and circumstances through readings on love, bereavement, and friendship, as well as property rights, breast cancer, female circumcision, and women's roles in ancient religions, including Christianity and pagan cults.
In this definitive assessment of the various representations and approaches to Athena, Susan Deacy does what no other has done before and brings all the aspects of this legendary figure into one, outstanding study. A survey of one of the most enduringly popular of ancient deities, the book introduces Athena’s myth, cult and reception, while directing the reader to detailed discussion as and when it is appropriate. Students will find it a great help in their studies, and for the general reader with an interest in the ancient world and for those from related disciplines such as literature, art history and religion, it provides a mine of information and insight into this fascinating classical figure.
Recent attacks on contemporary art have portrayed the erotic content of works by Robert Mapplethorpe and others as if it were a deviation from the Western artistic tradition. On the contrary, there is a rich tradition of eroticism in the arts beginning with the erotic verse of ancient Greek and Roman poets. Games of Venus, the first comprehensive anthology in English of ancient Greek and Roman erotic verse, revives this tradition for the modern reader. Games of Venus presents the whole spectrum of erotic poetry from Sappho to Ovid in translations which evoke the full range of styles and tones present in the original Greek and Latin. Brief biographical sketches accompany the work of each poet as do notes referring to the myths, geography, historical events, personages, and sexual and social customs mentioned in the verse.
One of the few plays that survived intact from the heyday of ancient Grecian drama, Lysistrata is an enormously influential work of satirical comedy. In order to bring an end to a destructive and never-ending war, the women of Greece take a temporary vow of chastity, pledging to remain abstinent until the conflict ends. As can be expected, mayhem -- and hilarity -- ensues.

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