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Title: Women and war in Classical Greece
Author: Martinez Morales, Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 9464
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines the lives of women in Classical Greece in the context of war. War is often regarded as the domain of men but actually it is a social phenomenon where everybody is involved. Scholarship has begun to be interested in issues of women and war in Classical Greece, while they are insightful and demonstrate portions of women’s experience, studies to date have not attempted to create a holistic view. In such studies, women are generally depicted as a single homogeneous group, their involvement in war is viewed as limited and exceptional, and they are only seen as the marginal victims of war. This thesis, by contrast, strongly argues for diversity in women’s experiences during war. It demonstrates the centrality of war to women’s lives in Classical Greece, as well as how women’s experience might vary according to (for example) their social and economic circumstances. By analysing both written sources and archaeological material across the Classical period, this thesis intends to produce a broader perspective. By providing the first full-length study on the subject, this thesis, thus, contributes to the disciplines of both gender studies and warfare studies. This thesis begins by investigating the way in which ancient sources outlined wartime boundaries for women. While there were no formal ‘rules of war’, ancient writers nonetheless suggest that there were certain social conventions particular to the treatment of women in Classical Greece at times of war. As chapter 1 shows, perhaps surprisingly, women were not always evacuated from their communities as is commonly thought, they were not supposed to be maltreated, nor killed in Classical Greek warfare. Chapter 2 then examines ancient authors’ positive and negative evaluations on the behaviour of women in war. By analysing the way in which different sources rationalized women’s wartime behaviour, this thesis shows that there existed boundaries for women in war. Having established women’s potential involvement in war, an exploration follows of their contributions to the war effort, both in the city and abroad. Two observations emerge from chapter 3. First, women were heavily involved in crucial wartime activities such as defending the city, distribution of food and missiles, giving military advice, among others. However, they also participated in negative and traitorous wartime behaviour such as facilitating enemy soldiers to escape a city under conflict. Second, their wartime contributions were not perceived to be ‘breaking social norms’ as is commonly maintained in much scholarly discussion. In chapter 4, the analyses of the different social and economic impacts of war on women reveals that war affected them directly through their experience of evacuations and their necessity to find employment due to wartime poverty, but war also affected women in more insidious ways, especially in their family life and relationships. Finally, chapter 5 then analyses the impact of war with special reference to women’s experiences in post-war contexts such as captivity, slavery, and rape and sexual violence. By showing the variety of experiences and how there existed selection processes with regards to women, this chapter demonstrates that not all women were going to experience the same fates after war. The result is the emergence of a rounded picture of the wartime lives of women in Classical Greece.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General) ; CC Archaeology ; DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World ; HQ The family. Marriage. Woman ; PA Classical philology ; U Military Science (General)