Here Sian Lewis considers the full range of female existence in classical Greece - childhood and old age, unfree and foreign status, and the ageless woman characteristic of Athenian red-figure painting.
Ceramics are an unparalleled resource for women's lives in ancient Greece, since they show a huge number of female types and activities. Yet it can be difficult to interpret the meanings of these images, especially when they seem to conflict with literary sources.
This much-needed study shows that it is vital to see the vases as archaeology as well as art, since context is the key to understanding which images can stand as evidence for the real lives of women, and which should be reassessed.
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