Women in antiquity

Workshops leaders: Aleksandar Simić(ISHA Belgrade) and Petra Sršić(ISHA Osijek)

During the Neolithic revolution the man started plowing the fields and procuring the food and thus matriarchy was slowly turned into patriarchy. When the written word appeared and for the next several millennia the man was a main “hero” of historical narrative. But, in antiquity, there was an abundance of powerful, influential, interesting women. Both ancient writers and modern historians often wrote about queens, empresses, princesses, and various other noble and/or powerful women. Many a page was spent to record the life and deeds of such femmes fatales like Cleopatra, Olympias, Semiramis, Boudica, Agripina and so on.
But not all women in antiquity were royalty, au contraire. Many, many more were more or less common folk: craftswomen, priestesses, traders, intellectuals, warriors, prostitutes. Some of them even participated in female version of the Olympic games called the Heraia. A lot of them lived their own life leaving only a tiny piece of evidence. In the last decades the historians are more and more turning to these “ordinary” women and try to reconstruct their lives, social structure and behavior. Every work on this topic brings more and more questions: What was women’s legal status? What did their social life look like? What about their sexuality? What was their religious role? And political? Demographical? Economical? The questions are endless.
Participants in this workshop will have an opportunity to tackle these and many more questions. Whether they are interested in aristocratic women or in ordinary ones, they will have an opportunity to “meet” them through both written and material sources. We will encourage and help our participants to research, read and think about various kinds of women in antiquity and to devise their own opinion. After that, participants will have an opportunity to present their results.
As for the technicalities: the idea is that the workshop leaders present their topics first and give some sort of introduction to the theme. Later, each of the participants will have an opportunity to talk about his or her topic, and after that the discussion will follow.