Synopses & Reviews
John Winkler's work is concerned with understanding men's and women's lives in the ancient world. Drawing on the new anthropological approaches increasingly popular since the emergence of Foucault, Winkler offers six windows on ancient Greek gender. The first half of the book, Andres: Husbands/Men', considers the interpretation of erotic dreams, specifically in the work of Artemidoros. Winkler also discusses the oversight of the sexual behaviour of political candidates in ancient Greece, love potions, voodoo dolls, and other magical constraints through which men might compel women to submit. The second half of the volume, Gynaikes: Wives/Women', discusses the myth of the authoress of the Odyssey' as a well intentioned misunderstanding of women's power in the ancient world and reconstructs an alternative understanding of men's and women's lives and values within the community.
For centuries, classical scholars have intensely debated the "position of women" in classical Athens. Did women have a vast but informal power, or were they little better than slaves? Using methods developed from feminist anthropology, Winkler steps back from this narrowly framed question and puts it in the larger context of how sex and gender in ancient Greece were culturally constructed. His innovative approach uncovers the very real possibilities for female autonomy that existed in Greek society.