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Daughters of Gaia: Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Daughters of Gaia: Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World (Hardback)

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From their personal lives at home to their roles in the realms of religion, health, economics, governance, war, philosophy, and poetry, this is the story of ancient women in all their aspects. Vivante explores women's lives in four ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome. While the experiences of women in ancient cultures were certainly very different from those of most women today, a tendency to focus too much on negative or restrictive images has until now provided readers with a rather incomplete picture. Looking at this important era from a female-oriented perspective, Vivante widens the perceptual lens and makes it possible to highlight the fundamental empowered aspects of women's activities in order to present them in balance with the various limits imposed on their societal participation. Beginning with powerful images of goddesses and women's roles in the religious sphere, Vivante details the foundation for women's activities in all other social realms. While these four Mediterranean civilizations were distinctive, they also influenced each other through various forms of contact-trade, colonization, and war.

Both the similarities and the differences permit richer comparisons and promote a deeper understanding of the lives of women in each.

Bella Vivante received her PhD in Classics from Stanford University. Her research examines women's roles in ancient Greek drama, poetry, religion, and society, exploring recently how the complex figure of Helen, as goddess and mortal, crystallizes views of women's cultural roles. Feminist, anthropological, religious, and multi-cultural theoretical perspectives shape her research. In particular, from her extended contact with Native American peoples and learning indigenous concepts of women's identities that differ radically from western views, Dr. Vivante has crafted new models for viewing women's roles in the ancient world.

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