Publication — « Women and War in Antiquity »

The martial virtues—courage, loyalty, cunning, and strength—were central to male identity in the ancient world, and antique literature is replete with depictions of men cultivating and exercising these virtues on the battlefield. In  Women and War in Antiquity, sixteen scholars reexamine classical sources to uncover the complex but hitherto unexplored relationship between women and war in ancient Greece and Rome. They reveal that women played a much more active role in battle than previously assumed, embodying martial virtues in both real and mythological combat.

The essays in the collection, taken from the first meeting of the European Research Network on Gender Studies in Antiquity, approach the topic from philological, historical, and material culture perspectives. The contributors examine discussions of women and war in works that span the ancient canon, from Homer’s epics and the major tragedies in Greece to Seneca’s stoic writings in first-century Rome. They consider a vast panorama of scenes in which women are portrayed as spectators, critics, victims, causes, and beneficiaries of war.

This deft volume, which ultimately challenges the conventional scholarly opposition of standards of masculinity and femininity, will appeal to scholars and students of the classical world, European warfare, and gender studies.

Jacqueline Fabre-Serris is a professor of Latin literature at the University Charles de Gaulle–Lille 3. She is the author of  Rome, l’Arcadie et la mer des Argonautes: Naissance d’une mythologie des origines en Occident. Alison Keith is a professor of classics, comparative literature, medieval studies, and women and gender studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of  Engendering Rome: Women in Latin Epic.

« A fascinating, intellectually stimulating, and useful volume,  Women and War in Antiquity sheds important new light on a complex issue while offering penetrating interpretations at the intersection of history and literature. This excellent book should interest scholars far beyond those specializing in Greco-Roman culture. »

« The essays in this volume open up important but neglected topics for further inquiry, and will be valuable for literary and military historians alike. In addition, the international perspectives represented will challenge scholars to venture beyond traditional interpretations and methodologies, especially regarding the study of gender in antiquity. »

« Jacqueline Fabre-Serris and Alison Keith’s volume, Women & War in Antiquity, provides meaningful contributions to the advancement of this question. Whereas the premise of this book is bold, the scope is equally impressive; articles range in chronology from Homer and the mythohistoric Trojan origins of the classical world to the fall of Christian Rome »

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