Sarcophagus Fragment, Roman, ca. 240-250 CE, The Art Institute of Chicago

Monday, December 29, 2008

Shedding Light on Ancient Women

Women have been marginalized throughout history.  Ancient Greece and Rome, hailed as paragons of western civilization, were not immune from misogyny.  It can perhaps be argued that women weren't as bad off as some historians may claim, but truth be told, women and men were far from equal.  Until the last few decades, the study of women's role in history was negligible. Besides taking a look at the most famous females of antiquity, every day women (and men for that matter) didn't fit into the upper class/white/male viewpoint on history.  Times are different now, and movements like Engendering Archaeology and Post-processual Feminism have allowed us to take a scholarly look at ancient women and the role they played.  

The new exhibit at the Onassis Cultural Center, Worshiping Women:  Ritual and Reality in Classical Athens, looks like a wonderful experience.  Women of the past deserve to have their story told, and this exhibit appears to do that story justice.  I'm surprised that it took until 2008 to see such an exhibit come to light.  I'm always excited to see new exhibits focused on the ancient world, especially when they appear to be of this high a caliber.