Women in Antiquity

Spring Semester 2001

Instructor: William E. Hutton

Office: Morton 324
Phone: 221-2993
Office Hours: MWF 11-11:50 a.m. and by appointment


Time and Place of Class: T-Th 3:30 - 4:50, Morton 343

Important Electronic Addresses:

Class Web Page:
Class E-mail List:


Required Texts:

E. Fantham, et al., Women in the Classical World
M. Lefkowitz and M. Fant, Women's Life in Greece and Rome
J. Davie, tr. Euripides: Alcestis and Other Plays.
J. Henderson, ed. Three Plays by Aristophanes: Staging Women.

A xeroxed packet of additional required reading will be available from your instructor.

Components of your Grade:

Class Participation: 10%
Assignments: 10%
Midterm Exam 15%
Final Exam 20%
Oral Report(s) 20%
Term Paper: 25%


NOTE: Your grade will be calculated on a strictly numerical basis and converted to letter grades on the following scale: 93-100 = A; 89-92 = A-; 85-88=B+; 81-84 = B; 77-80 = B-; 74-76 = C+; 71-73 = C; 68-70 = C-; 64-67 = D+; 60-63 = D; 55-59= D-; Below 55 = F.

Explanation of Grade Components:

--Class participation is encouraged of and expected from all students in every class session. Poor attendance, coming late or leaving early without explanation, obvious lack of preparation, and failure to participate in discussion and group work will affect this part of your grade negatively.

--Assignments: As frequently as once a week (though probably not every week), you will be asked to turn something in of a written nature. This will usually be either a brief paragraph written in class or a 1-2 page response paper on something we have covered in class. You can miss or drop one assignment in the course of the semester without penalty.

--Midterm: Will be a 50-minute exam for which I will give you eighty minutes. It will consist mostly of short answer and short essay questions and is designed to encourage you to keep up with the reading and class discussion.

--Term Paper: A 2000-3000 word (7-10 pp.), that reflects independent research into ancient sources and modern scholarship. Topics must be approved by me by April 4, and may be related to the topic of your oral report. You must hand in a tentative list of sources and a rough draft by April 20 (worth 10% of your Term Paper grade). The final due date for the paper is May 8.

--Oral Reports: The last four weeks of class will be crafted around 10-minute oral presentations that each student will be giving. The oral presentations will be on such topics as a major work of literature, a critique of modern scholarship, or an examination of some facet of the topic of women and gender in antiquity that we do not cover in depth in class otherwise. Each report will require a substantial amount of reading (ca 150-200 pages at a minimum) and careful preparation of the oral report will be expected. I will present you with possible topics and suggested readings later in the semester, but you are encouraged to consult with me about doing a report on a topic of your own choosing.

In addition to your own report you will be asked to prepare two "shadow reports": you will do the reading for two of your classmate's reports, comment on the reports in class, and write 2-page critiques of each one to hand in. Your oral and written performance on these shadow reports will account for 5 of the 20% that the Oral Report component of your grade is worth.

At the end of the semester, I will ask you to choose 5 of the other topics your classmates gave reports on, at least one from each of the 4 weeks devoted to oral reports. On the final exam you will be asked to write brief essays on two of those topics. Extra Credit, up to 10 points on your oral report grade, will be granted to those student's whose oral reports are chosen most frequently by their classmates for their list of potential exam topics.

--Final Exam: Like the Midterm exam only slightly longer. Comprehensive, but focussing heavily (ca. 75%) on material covered since the midterm. A large part of it will consist of essays on the report topics you choose (see preceding section).

Policy on Unusual Circumstances:

No make-ups or special arrangements for papers and assignments will be granted without verifiable evidence of severe personal affliction. If circumstances prevent you from meeting deadlines, you MUST notify me of your situation within 48 hours of the deadline, otherwise no special arrangements will be made.



This schedule is subject to change, so find some way to keep abreast of things if you can't make it to class. Changes will be posted to the class web page as soon as possible. Reading assignments given here are the least that will be required. Additional assignments Will be made in class. Reading assignments are to be completed BEFORE the class for which they are scheduled.

ABBREVIATIONS: WLGR = Women's Life in Greece and Rome

WCW = Women in the Classical World

(R) = Material available on reserve

(G) = Group readings (different groups will get different assignments)

(P) = Xeroxed Packet

Week 1

Jan 18: Introduction

Week 2

Jan 23 Three Women WLGR 88, 89, 90
Jan 25 Women in Athens WLGR 36-38; 77-87; 267, 273, 275; WCW 1, 3

Week 3

Jan 30 Women outside of Athens, and Women in the Hellenistic World WCW, Chapter 2, 5; Readings from WLGR & P
Feb 1 Homeric Women: Excerpts from the Iliad and the Odyssey (P)

Week 4

Feb 6 Sappho and other woman writers WLGR, P
Feb 8 Women in Athenian Tragedy I: Alcestis, Children of Herakles, Hippolytus (G)

Week 5

Feb 13 Women in Athenian Tragedy II: Agamemnon, Medea, Hecuba (G)
Feb 15 Women in Athenian Comedy: Lysistrata, Assemblywomen and Women at the Thesmophoria (G)

Week 6

Feb 20 Etruscans & Roman Republic; WCW Chapter 7-9; WLGR 228-230.
Feb 22 Roman Imperial Women; WCW Chapter 11-13

Week 7

Feb 27 Women and Gender in Roman Poetry (P) WCW Chapter 10
Mar 1 Roman Law and Society (G)


Mar 5 - 9: SPRING BREAK (Whoopee!)

Week 8

Mar 13 Cleopatra: Film and Reality (P)
DEADLINE for choosing oral report topic

Week 9

Mar 20 Gender in Archaeology: The Great Goddess (P)
DEADLINE for choosing oral report shadow topics
March 22: Gender in Greek and Roman Religion (P)

Week 10

Mar 28 Major Cults to Female Deities. (P)
DEADLINE for choosing and obtaining approval for term paper topic
Mar 30 Female Figures in Greek and Roman Myth (P)

Week 11 Reports

Apl 4 Theory and Non-Greco-Roman Topics
Apl 6 Topics in Greek Society

Week 12: Reports

Apl 11 Topics in Greek Literature
Apl 13 Topics in Greek Philosophy and Medicine

Week 13: Reports

Apl 18 Topics in Roman Society
Apl 20 Topics in Roman Literature
DUE DATE for term paper draft and source list.

Week 14: Reports

Apl 25 Comparative Studies: Greek, Roman and otherwise.
Apl 27 Topics in Late Antiquity and Early Christianity

Friday, Apl. 28: DUE DATE for exam-prep list.

Tuesday, May 8: FINAL EXAM (1:30) and DUE DATE for term papers.