William Sterling

Women in Ancient Greece

Using literary sources and objects in the British Museum and elsewhere we compared and contrasted the attitude of the Ancient Greeks to women in society, as figures in mythology and as goddesses. We examined the position of women in Ancient Greece and the Greek colonies as well as the attitude to women as seen as goddesses and in mythology. Also, the contrasting roles of women in Ancient Greece from other ancient societies and the difference in class. The numerous female goddesses were examined and how their attributes reflected the view of men.

These goddesses included Athene, Hera, Aphrodite, Artemis, Hestia and Demeter along with some of the lesser goddesses such as Persephone, Thetis and Leto. Some famous women such as the poet Sappho, Lysistrata and Hellenistic queens such as Cleopatra VII were looked at as well as mythical figures such as Helen of Troy, Cassandra, Clytemnestra, Electra, Medea, Ariadne, Iphigenia, Penelope, and Pandora.

City Lit October 2010, May 2014 and March 2017 over three consecutive Saturdays.

Some of the resources I used are below

Lost Plays with Female Subjects highlighted

Advice on marriage

Women diseases

The Law Code of Gortyn Women

Ancient Greek Female Names

Festivals associated with Goddesses and Women Participants

sappho’s poetry



Ancient Greek Women in the British Museum – where to find them

Women in Ancient Greece

Below are the slides from the 2017 course as printable handouts

goddesses slides as handout

Work slides as handout

Marriage and children slides as handout

Clothes and jewellery slides as handout

Famous women slides as handout

Sappho slides as handout

Women of Trojan War slides as handout

Amazons 2017 slides as handout