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Women in ancient Greece
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Alexandros_19



Joined: 15 Feb 2005
Posts: 1230
Location: Argentina

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joanna wrote:
" The return of the Titans... Confused the women " (I wanted to write)

Do you think I have forgotten about our extraordinary ancient greek women ? Not at all Exclamation They deserve to be remembered because they made a name for themselves in such a 'chauvinist' world.

So,here I am again posting about women who wrote literary stuff, poems ...etc. As well as artists, painters...etc.

But

before I write about them, I'd like to spend some time talking about women in Greek Mythology. There are more women representations there than men.

to be continued


I would not have even dared to imagine that you had forgotten about the ancient Greek women. Laughing
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apelles



Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Posts: 1152

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alexandros_19 wrote:
joanna wrote:
" The return of the Titans... Confused the women " (I wanted to write)

Do you think I have forgotten about our extraordinary ancient greek women ? Not at all Exclamation They deserve to be remembered because they made a name for themselves in such a 'chauvinist' world.

So,here I am again posting about women who wrote literary stuff, poems ...etc. As well as artists, painters...etc.

But

before I write about them, I'd like to spend some time talking about women in Greek Mythology. There are more women representations there than men.

to be continued


I would not have even dared to imagine that you had forgotten about the ancient Greek women. Laughing

Laughing Laughing At our peril,I think.
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joanna



Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Posts: 1270
Location: Greece/USA/Italy/UK/

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Women in mythology have to wait. I don’t think they’d mind. They are willing to make way to real women.
Sappho (the female Homer), Corinna ( a contemporary and rival of Pindar) and Tessila ( the poetess and military heroine) have already been mentioned. But I haven’t finished with Sappho. I’ll return to her, she’s great.

Here I am, continuing listing names of women who have achieved to be remembered even after thousands of years. “ But I claim there will be some who remember us when we are gone.”, Sappho wrote 2,500 years ago. You bet, Sappho ! I know you and I will always remember you.


Proudly, I present you :

1) Erinna of Telos ( c. 600 BC ? )

A famous Greek poetess, a native of the small island of Telos in the Mediterrranean. Some say she probably lived during the 4th century BC but others claim she was a friend and contemporary of Sappho, with whom she lived in Lesbos. She died at the age of ...nineteen. Can you imagine that ? In spite of dying so young, and I assume because of the little time she lived she couldn’t write a lot of poetry, she managed to become famous. Amazing!
The poem by which she is best known is “The Distaph” consisting of 300 lines. A few verses of this, and a few epigrams ( short poems with a point) ,are all of her writing which survives. It is a heartfelt poem she wrote to her lost love, Baukis; he either married someone else or died before he and Erinna could consummate their love.

2) Anyte of Tegea ( c. 300 BC )

She was from Tegea, a city in southwest Arcadia, in the Peloponnese. By 307, the area was governed by one of Alexander’s successors. Before that, Tegea had been a free city-state, often allied with Sparta. It was not an isolated spot. In about 350 BC, an important temple of Athena and a theater had been built there.
Meleager of Gadara ( c. 90 BC) collected the most important epigrams in a book titled the “Greek Anthology“. Much of the poetry we have from the Alexandrian period come from this original collection. Twenty- two epigrams are attributed to Anyte. Her epigrams are of four kinds : dedications of objects, epitaphs for humans, epitaphs for animals, pure landscape; the first two were conventional subjects for epigrams; the last two were not.

3) Praxilla of Sicyon (5th century BC )

We are in Peloponnese again. In a small town near Corinth, Praxilla was born. Sicyon was also the birth place of Lysippus one of Alexander’s favourite artists.
She was a lyric poet. She was one of the nine...lyric Muses. Antipater of Thessalonica ( 1st century AD ) could list the names of nine women honoured as poets : “ Heaven created the nine Muses, but earth has raised nine more for her own “ Isn’t that beautiful!
Praxilla composed hymns and dithyrambs on mystic and mythological subjects, genealogies, and the love stories of the gods and heroes. One of her poems is titled “Achilles” dedicated to him, of course. But she was especially famous for her Scolia. They were short lyrical poems sung after dinner.
A dactylic metre was also called by her name.

4) Mellino ( lived in the flourishing period of the Roman empire)

Another Greek lyric poetess which has to do with melic poetry. I couldn’t find much about her and I will, definitely, buy some books on ancient poetesses. I’ll explain later about that. Her poem “Hymn to Roma” has been attacked for its turgid style and epic stiffness. But the truth is that her poem is more complex than might at first appear. It is in five Sapphic stanzas.
Melic poets of this period composed short poems called ‘griphi’, that is, pieces in which the lines are so arranged as to make the whole poem resemble the form of some object. Fantastic, isn’t it?

5) Moero, Nossis, Myrtis

I couldn’t find much about these poetesses.
So, as I said before, there are at least four books I wrote down in my small note book. All the new books I want to buy are listed there. I’ll find more about the poetesses in these books.


The first one is Judy Chicago’s book “ The Dinner Party”. I want to devote a whole post on her book. Is there anybody who has read it?

The second book is Josephine Balmer’s “ Classical Women Poets”. This book with the above one must be unique. I’m going to write what I found about it.
The truth is that, not a lot of these ancient poetesses’ work has survived. Mostly scraps of poetry are the only surviving record of them. Balmer gathers up most of the scraps and provides annotated translations of every woman poet of whose work at least one word in Greek or Latin survives from antiquity, from Sappho in c.600 BC to the Christian empress Eudocia in the 5th century AD. Each poetess is given a chapter, and the translations are prefaced with a note about their lives and the reception of their work.
I must certainly have this book. The original texts are both in Greek and Latin, spanning a period of over a thousand years. There are some imperfections in the translations but I think this is true for any translation. Especially when poetry are translated. And especially when these poems are lyric, where the poet ‘sings’ rather than ‘speaks’. They are not translatable, sometimes. You see what I mean? I think the translating difficulties arise when the verbal resources of the new language can’t make the meaning clear without using so many words;......; the force of the original is lost!
But that doesn’t stop me from getting this book. I’ll see to the mistakes myself.

The third book I’d like to have is J.W.Mackail’s “Select Epigrams from the Greek Anthology”. I guess, the ‘Greek Anthology’ is the one I mentioned before.

The other books I may get are two; one is titled “ The woman and the lyre: women writers in Classical Greece and Rome. “, by Jane McIntosh Snyder.
The other is Diane J. Rayor. She has translated all the Greek women poets. Her book has the title “Sappho’s lyre : archaic lyric and women poets of ancient Greece “ It contains introduction and notes by her and foreword by W.R.Johnson.


Now, you’re going to ask me, why to buy similar books? Because the translation is not always the same. I’d like to see all of them. Of course, when I am in Greece, in the summer, I’ll buy some of them with a modern Greek translation. I’m sure the Greek translation is closer to the original.


I’m going to get something to drink and I’ll continue in a minute










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joanna



Joined: 02 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now, I’d like to give you some examples of fragments of poetry written by the women mentioned above.

1) Erinna

“ Hades, you sell your souls to envy “

In her poem “The Distaph” there are also memories of childhood.


2) Anyte

I’m afraid we have to wait till I get Balmer’s book to write something from her poetry. She seems to defend Anyte’s work which is described by some critics as ‘masculine’ and others see the poetess as ‘a wife and mother’. Balmer says: “Patriarchal lackey or purveyor of domestic whimsy? Interestingly, Anyte’s art lies in her ability to straddle the two.”

3) Praxilla

“ Girl of the lovely glance, looking out through the window,
your face is virgin; lower down you are a married woman “

In her poem “Achilles”, she writes :” but I (or they) never swayed the spirit within your breasts. “

Now attention. The above is the literal translation. Now look at Balmer’s translation: “ an anger in your heart beyond entreaty, beyond hope”
I’m glad that the original Greek and Latin texts are kept in her book

4) Mellino.......we have to wait for her till I buy the book.

5) Moero

This is beautiful! The poetess addresses a cluster of plucked grapes and says: “ No more shall your mother put forth a honeyed leaf above your head. “ Lovely...
And Balmer’s translation: “ your mother-vine won’t hold your head again between her scented leaves. “ Shocked
No, I still prefer the literal translation. But Balmer is aware that the impact of the original can also be disguised or obscured in English.



Some fragments of Corinna’s poems.

“ As for you Pindar, you spoke the Greek, of city and state,
the language of the market-place.
But I sang the glory of local heroes, hurrahed in our heroines :
Metioche and Menippe (great Orion’s fearless daughters, shooting stars across the skies)
Or of Antiope of Hyria, daughter of this earth,
A land fit for dances....”

(Note: In mythology Metioche and Menippe were daughters of Orion who offered to die when a pestilence was raging in Viotia and the oracle demanded the sacrifice of two virgins )



Ok. I’ll stop my dedication to ancient poetesses here.

I don’t know if you enjoyed reading my post but I assure you that I had a very good time writing it.
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Parrhasius



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 30
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:13 am    Post subject: women Reply with quote

Greetings

Well I never knew t here were so many distinguished women in ancien t Greece!

The only one I Have heard was Hipachia which I read about in one of my favourite books Diogenes Laertius .

My favourite by far is Joanna of Athens, she's so well informed and militant . Was Aspasia really the t eacher of Socrates? If she was then she was one of the all time grea ts.

Well done Joanna, I read all your post and feel I need to reread it to take it in . I take your word all is factual and verified.


I strongly agree with your taste in female names Arete was one name I would have liked if I had a daughter,however it is more appreciated in Greece , my first choice would have been sophia for its meaning and cosmopolitan appeal.

Peace be with you
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apelles



Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Posts: 1152

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joanna,I,ve read every word of your wonderful,unfolding encyclopaedia.Please continue. Very Happy
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joanna



Joined: 02 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, guys. I will continue with ....women artists in ancient Greece. Don't you think it will be an intresting one for us, the artists of the forum ?
( yes, yes, I know you're a man, Parrhasius Razz )
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joanna



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now, that I'm in England attending an Ancient World Studies programme at university, it's such a pity to see that ancient distinguised women are completely ignored. And then we blame the ancients for their derogatory remarks about women. At least they lived more than two thousands years ago and we are supposed to be more open minded. But...unfortunately the situation is not that. There is still discrimination against great minds in the past who happened to be women.
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Cynisca



Joined: 01 Feb 2006
Posts: 605
Location: Living in Yorkshire UK - ê tan ê epi tas

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

joanna wrote:
Now, that I'm in England attending an Ancient World Studies programme at university, it's such a pity to see that ancient distinguised women are completely ignored. And then we blame the ancients for their derogatory remarks about women. At least they lived more than two thousands years ago and we are supposed to be more open minded. But...unfortunately the situation is not that. There is still discrimination against great minds in the past who happened to be women.

At least in Greece, those of Sparta were respected and listened to.. Wink
Woman such as the intelligent Hypatia of Alexandria, who were respected by those of both Pagan and Christian faith, was tortured and put to death by a Christian mob; these were probably the followers of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, as she supported his political rival Orestes (also put to death). (sainted - after that Evil or Very Mad Mad )
http://pages.prodigy.net/fljustice/hypatia.html
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LEONIDAS



Joined: 08 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does Queen Gorgo of Sparta would you say display what a true spartan would be for her time period? Ladies could I have some feedback on this?
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LEONIDAS



Joined: 08 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry what I meant was a true spartan woman!! a thousand pardons for my mistake.
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LEONIDAS



Joined: 08 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ladies Would anyone care to comment on what I wrote from Dec 21 2007 about Queen Gorgo ? Unless its a dumb question to ask I dont know?
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joanna



Joined: 02 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Historical mentions

She is mentioned by name at least thrice in Herodotus (Histories) and at least once by Plutarch. Herodotus mentions her twice in the context of political interactions where she is present at court or in council and gives advice to the king or the elders. This either indicates that Gorgo was highly thought of by Herodotus who often left out the names of the female figures he included in his books, or that as the wife of Leonidas I, her actions and counsel were all the more noteworthy.

Plutarch quotes Queen Gorgo as follows: "When asked by a woman from Attica, 'Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men?', she said: 'Because we are also the only ones who give birth to men.'" Another version has this as, "...some foreign lady, as it would seem, told her that the women of Lacedaemon were the only women in the world who could rule men; 'With good reason,' she said, 'for we are the only women who bring forth men.'" (Plutarch's Lives: Lycurgus)
"



Well, if Herodotus mentioned her in his Histories, she must have been a really worthy woman.
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joanna



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote




Lena was an excellent Gorgo! Don't you agree?
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Cynisca



Joined: 01 Feb 2006
Posts: 605
Location: Living in Yorkshire UK - ê tan ê epi tas

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

joanna wrote:



Lena was an excellent Gorgo! Don't you agree?


Any excuse for pictures of Leonidas (Gerard Butler that is) Laughing Laughing Now Stelios... Embarassed
Yes, I do think Lena was good in her portrayal of Gorgo, a physically fit, strong minded and capable lady. Which is what the average woman of Sparta, let alone a queen would have been. In the absence of their men, the women were left to control and defend the city, make decisions and have their say.
I don't know about her age though, was Queen Gorgo a lot younger than Leonidas..?
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