Mobility of Hellenistic women
The purpose of the current thesis is to study various aspects of women’s mobility in the so-called Hellenistic period. It will attempt to provide answers to the questions ‘why did women travel,’ ‘how common was it for women to travel,’ and most importantly, ‘did women take part in the Hellenistic colonisation processes.’ The importance of women’s mobility for the Greek societies as a whole will also be evaluated. To study the mobility of Hellenistic women we shall use a wide variety of literary sources, inscriptions and papyri. The direct sources will be supplemented with some indirect evidence and a few theoretical models. For example, it will be argued that the number of mixed marriages in the new Greek colonies and kingdoms reflects the number of women immigrants. In chapter one, it will be argued that Greek exiles habitually, although not universally, took their wives and families abroad with them. In Chapter two, an argument will be put forward that many Hellenistic mercenaries travelled together with their families. Moreover, it will be suggested that the growing number of female camp followers was one of the things that aided the successful colonisation processes of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies. In chapter three, we draw attention to the many professional, artistic, and athletic women who moved temporarily or permanently because of work. Chapter four on religion and female mobility is primarily concerned with female pilgrims, but it will also be claimed there that because of religion Greek women had to be ‘imported’ to the new Greek settlements in the East. In the fifth and final chapter, it will be argued that many more Greek women took part in the colonisation processes of the era than has previously been acknowledged.