schedule of readings

The required texts are the following. Since this class will be directly engaging in these translations as specific acts of interpretation, these are the translations you must acquire. Second hand is fine.

Homer, Odyssey. Translated by Emily Wilson. ISBN 9780393089059
Josephine Balmer, Classical Women Poets. ISBN 9781852243425
Anne Carson, If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho. ISBN 9780375724510
Peter Green, Poems of Catullus: Bilingual Edition. ISBN 9780520253865

A disclaimer. While the literature, art, and mythology of the cultures of the ancient mediterranean are fascinating and often inspire us, the values and social practices of those societies can be very far from our own. This class, which explores women in antiquity, will discuss subjects which may be challenging to some students. For the ancient Greeks and Romans, the following were regular motifs in their storytelling: enslavement, sexual violence, murder, incest, abduction, cannibalism. Women were regularly central to these tales of violence, as well as real life violence. Please be forewarned that we will sometimes be discussing very sensitive topics.

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as she sees fit.
Materials marked [Handout] will be made available on blackboard (

(wk 1) Tuesday 21st January 2020
Introductions. What is antiquity? What is woman?

(wk 1) Thursday 23rd January 2020 Theoretical beginnings. Pandora
— Look up “Pandora” in the Oxford Classical Dictionary [online via Mugar]
— Page duBois, “To Historicize Psychoanalysis.” Sowing the Body. Psychoanalysis and Ancient Representations of Women. 1988. pp. 7-17. [online access; HQ1127 .D83 1988]
— Gerda Lerner, “Origins.” The Creation of Patriarchy. 1986. pp15-36. [online access; HQ1121.L47 1986]
— Page duBois, “Field.” Sowing the Body. pp. 39-64. [online access; Mugar HQ1127.D83 1988]
— Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto”  [online access]

> no student reports

(wk 2) Tuesday 28th January 2020 Epic Heroines Antagonists? Helen.
— Look up “Helen” in the Oxford Classical Dictionary [online via Mugar]
— Homer’s Iliad, Book 3 [handout]
— Homer’s Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson: Book 4 (pp152-179).
— Sarah Pomeroy, “Women in the Bronze Age and Homeric Epic.” Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves. 1975. pp16-31. [online access; Mugar HQ 1134.P64]

> student text report: Homer’s Iliad 3.380-420.
> student object report: Attic drinking cup in the Boston MFA depicting two scenes of Helen (5th c. BCE).

(wk 2) Thursday 30th January | NO CLASS (Č-B out of town)

(wk 3) Tuesday 4th February | Epic Antagonists Heroines? Penelope.
— Look up “Penelope” in the Oxford Classical Dictionary [online via Mugar].
— Homer’s Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson: Book 1 (pp106-119)

> student text report: Homer’s Odyssey 1.325-364, Wilson pp115-116. [taken]
> student object report: Penelope loom vase (5th c. BCE).

(wk 3) Thursday 6th February| The women of epic. Nausicaa. Circe.
Look up “Nausicaa”, “Circe” in the Oxford Classical Dictionary [online via Mugar]
Homer’s Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson: Book 6 (pp197-207), Book 7 (pp208-219), Book 8.446-469 (pp235-236); Book 10 (pp259-278). Optional: Book 5 (pp180-196).
Emily Wilson’s introduction to Homer’s Odyssey, “Goddesses, Wives, Princesses, and Slave Girls,” pp37-48.
— Optional (but recommended): read all of Emily Wilson’s introduction to the Odyssey, pp1-79.

> student object report: Odysseus and Nausicaa pyxis in the Boston MFA (5th c. BCE). On the pyxis, see Oxford University’s page on vase shapes.
> student object report: Circe transforms Odysseus’ companions on a drinking cup in the Boston MFA (6th c. BCE). [taken]

(wk 4) Tuesday 11th February | A different kind of translation.
Yung In Chae, “Women Who Weave.” Eidolon. Nov. 16 2017.
David Kern, “How Translating The Great Books Is An Act Of Love: A Conversation With Sarah Ruden & Emily Wilson.” Forma Journal. March 3 2018. 
— Dan Chiasson, “The Classics Scholar Redefining What Twitter Can Do.” The New Yorker. March 19 2018.
— Browse through Emily Wilson’s (@EmilyRCWilson) twitter feed.
— Browse through the #womenancient hashtag.

> no student reports

(wk 4) Thursday 13th February Penelope II.
— Homer’s Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson: Book 19 (pp424-444), Book 22 (pp476-493), Book 23 (pp494-506).

> student text report: Homer’s Odyssey 19.50-101 (pp426-427).
> student object report: [CW: this passage is very violent!] Homer’s Odyssey 22.419-485 (pp490-492). [taken]

(wk 5) Tuesday 18th February | NO CLASS (“BU Monday”)

(wk 5) Thursday 20th February | Mothers and daughters. Persephone and Demeter. CW: rape 
Look up “Persephone” and “Demeter” in the Oxford Classical Dictionary [online via Mugar]
[CW: rape] Homeric Hymn to Demeter, translated by Gregory Nagy [online access]
— “Women in Archaic Greece: Talk in Praise and Blame.” Women in the Classical World. pp. 10-55. [online access; Mugar HQ1127.W652 1994]

> student text report: Homeric Hymn to Demeter 30-46. [taken]
> student object report: Nikandre Kore (7th c. BCE). [taken]

(wk 6) Tuesday 25th February | Warrior Women. Amazons. Spartans.
Look up “Amazons” in the Oxford Classical Dictionary [online via Mugar]
Adrienne Mayor (@amayor), “Ancient Puzzles and Modern Myths” (pp17-34); “Bones: Archaeology of Amazons” (pp63-83). The Amazons. Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World. [online access]
“Excursus. Spartan Women: Women in a Warrior Society.” Women in the Classical World. pp63-74 [online accessMugar HQ1127.W652 1994]
— Herodotus’ Histories 4.110-117; Strabo Geography 11.5.1-3; “Apollodorus” Library 2.98 [handout] 

> student text report: Herodotus’ Histories 4.110-117 [taken]
> student object report: Attic bowl for mixing wine and water (mid 5th c. BCE). [taken]

(wk 6) Thursday 27th February | The Singer. Sappho.
Josephine Balmer (@jobalmer), “Sappho” (pp23-25), Classical Women Poets [handout]
Anne Carson, Introduction to If Not, Winter, pp ix-xiii.
— Fragments of Sappho translated by Anne Carson in If Not, Winter: fr. 1, 2, 5, 16, 31, 44, 48, 49, 96, 102, 104, 105a, 105b, 168b, 177, 179.
— Page duBois, “Fragmentary Introduction” (pp1-30). Sappho is Burning. [handout]
— Listen to BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time episode on Sappho, with Edith Hall (@edithmayhall), Margaret Reynolds, Dirk Obbink. [***NB: papyrologist Dirk Obbink and alleged sale of New Testament papyri to Hobby Lobby:***]
— Listen to Heather Rose Jones: Ep. 10 “Sappho of Lesbos: the Woman and the Legend” (15 mins); Ep. 11 “Sappho: The Translations” (25 min) on The Lesbian Historic Motif Project
Browse through the twitter feed of @sapphobot, which posts fragments of Sappho, with translations by Anne Carson.
 Bonus: look for the Anne Carson’s translation of Sappho 104 in the MFA’s gallery on objects from eastern Greece 

> student text report: Sappho 31, Carson p63. [taken]
> student object report:
Fragment of Sappho papyrus, fr. 5 (P. Lond. Lit. 43, 3rd c. CE: image online), with Peter Toth’s “The Mystery of Sappho” (8th July 2017) on the British Library blog [taken] 

(wk 7) Tuesday 3rd March | Women poets.
Josephine Balmer, Introduction (pp9-22), Classical Women Poets.
— Corinna (pp33-36), Telesilla (pp49-51), Praxilla (pp53-55), translated by Josephine Balmer in Classical Women Poets.

> student text report: Corinna, Balmer p36 (“Songs of Old”) [taken]

(wk 7) Thursday 5th March | MIDTERM. PAPER 1 DUE.



(wk 9) Tuesday 17th MarchWomen of Classical Athens.
— Lysias 1 On the Murder of Eratosthenes via Perseus [online access]
— Sarah Pomeroy, “Women and the City of Athens.”; “Private Life in Classical Athens.” Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves. 1975. pp57-78; 79-92. [online access; Mugar HQ 1134.P64]
— “Women in Classical Athens: Heroines and Housewives.” Women in the Classical World. pp68-127. [online access; Mugar HQ1127.W652 1994]

> text report: Lysias 10-14 (“From that time, then…” to “without a word.”) [taken]
> object report: Brygos painter lekythos (5th c. BCE). [taken]
> object report: Providence painter lekythos (5th c. BCE); compare Rembrandt’s “Pallas Athena” (c. 1657). [taken]

(wk 9) Thursday 19th MarchHellenistic Women.
— Sarah Pomeroy, “Hellenistic Women.” Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves. 1975. pp120-149. [online access; Mugar HQ 1134.P64]
— “The Hellenistic Period: Women in a Cosmopolitan World.” Women in the Classical World. pp141-187. [online access; Mugar HQ1127.W652 1994]
— Herodas Mime 6.18-33; Theocritus Idyll 15; Isis hymn inscription; P. Enteuxis 82; P. Oxy. 744 [Handout]

> student text report: Theocritus 15.44-71. [taken]
> student object report: terracotta girls at play (ephedrismos), MFA (late 4th/early 3rd c. BCE)

(wk 10) Tuesday 24th MarchWomen poets II.
— Erinna (pp57-63), Moero (pp64-66), Anyte (pp67-79), Hedyle (pp80-82), Nossis (pp93-92), translated by Josephine Balmer in Classical Women Poets.

> student text report: Erinna, Balmer p59 (“The Distaff”).
> student text report: Nossis, Balmer p91 (“A prayer”).

(wk 10) Thursday 26th March | Woman as symbol: early Rome.
— “
Republican Rome I:  From Marriage By Capture To Partnership in War – The Proud Women of Early Rome.” Women in the Classical World. pp216-240. [online access; Mugar HQ1127.W652 1994]
 “Excursus: Etruscan Women,” Larissa Bonfante. Women in the Classical World. pp241-255. [online access; Mugar HQ1127.W652 1994]
Lucy Shipley (2017), “To Be A Woman” (pp94-108), in The Etruscans: Lost Civilizations [Handout]
— [CW: rape] Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 1.77; Ennius’ Annals (ap. Cic. De Div. 1.40); Livy 1.4; 1.9-16; 1.57-59 [Handout] 

> student text report: [CW: rape] Livy 1.9-16.
> student text report: [CW: rape] Livy 1.57-59.
> student object report: Etruscan Sarcophagus of the Spouses (6th c. BCE) [taken]

(wk 11) Tuesday 31st MarchRoman women.
 Laudatio Turiae (ILS 8393)
— “Republican Women II: Women in a wealthy society-aristocratic and working women from the 2nd c. BCE.” Women in the Classical World. pp256-274. [online access; Mugar HQ1127.W652 1994]
Sarah Pomeroy, “The Roman matron of the late Republic and early empire.” Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves. 1975. pp149-189. [online access; Mugar HQ 1134.P64]
— Valerius Maximus 4.4; Livy 38.57; Cicero De Div. 1.36; fragments of Cornelia’s letter to her son; Laudatio Turiae (ILS 8393) [Handout] 

> student text report: Livy 34.1-3.
> student text report: Laudatio Turiae 27-52 (“Marriages as long as ours are rare…” to “A number of other benefits of yours I have preferred to to mention.”)

(wk 11) Thursday 2nd AprilWays of Seeing.
Watch John Berger, “Ways of Seeing” (1972) episode 2.
— Listen to (or read transcript) “Instagram Anxiety”, Call Your Girlfriend with hosts Aminatou Sow (@aminatou), Ann Friedman (@annfriedman), and guest Prof. Lara Shipley
— Katy Waldman (@xwaldie), “How Women See How Male Authors See Them.” New Yorker. April 3 2018.

> no student reports

(wk 12) Tuesday 7th AprilI, Claudia.
 Cicero’s Pro Caelio [blackboard].
Catullus: 1, 2a, 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 24, 37, 48, 49, 51, 58a, 64, 66, 70, 72, 85, translated by Peter Green, with notes. [**NOTE: if you do not have your books with you, you can use this online translation of Catullus instead]
“Excursus: The ‘New Woman’: Representation and Reality.” Women in the Classical World. pp275-288. [online access; Mugar HQ1127.W652 1994]
J. Hallett, “The Role of Women in Roman Elegy: Counter-Cultural Feminism.” Women in the Ancient World: The Arethusa Papers. 1984. pp241-262. [online access]

> student text report: Catullus 51. [taken]
> student text report: Cicero Pro Caelio 33-34.
> student text report: 64.131-163.
> student object report: Roman statue of Ariadne (“Sleeping Ariadne”). [taken]

(wk 12) Thursday 9th AprilCleopatra, the impossible queen.
— Maria Wyke, “Meretrix regina: Augustan Cleopatras.” The Roman Mistress. 2007. pp195-243. [online access; Mugar PA6029.L6 W95 2002]
— Shelley P. Haley, “Black Feminist Thought and Classics: Re-membering, Re-claiming, Re-empowering.” Feminist Theory and the Classics. 1993. pp23-43. [PA35.F46 1993]
— Numismatist Kevin Butcher on Cleopatra’s coin portraits, “The face of Cleopatra: was she really so beautiful?”
— Helen King, “Cleopatra and the vibrator powered by bees.” Mistaking histories. Aug. 8 2017
— Propertius Elegies 3.11, 4.6; Horace Epode 9, Ode 1.37Virgil, Aeneid 8.626f. ; Plutarch, Life of Mark Antony 25f.; Pliny, NH 9.119-121 [Handout]

> text report: Horace Ode 1.37 [taken]
> object report: Cleopatra stele (51 BCE). [taken]
> special report:
review Shelley Haley’s “Black Feminist Thought and Classics”

(wk 13) Tuesday 14th AprilAugustan Rome.
— “Women, Family, and Sexuality in the Age of Augustus and the Julio-Claudians.” Women in the Classical World. pp289-322. [online access; Mugar HQ1127.W652 1994]
— Suetonius, Life of Augustus 34, 62-63 [in blog]
[CW: abortion] Ovid Amores 1.5, 1.8, 2.13, 2.14 [poems in blog]

> student text report: Ovid Amores 1.8.29-54.
> student object report: Portrait of Livia (Walters Art Museum).

(wk 13) Thursday 16th April | Beyond binaries.
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History (1st c. BCE) 32.10.2-5 [Handout]
Ovid Metamorphoses 9.666-797 = Iphis and Ianthe [Handout]
Ovid Metamorphoses 3.316-338 = Tiresias [Handout]
[CW: rape] Ovid Metamorphoses 12.146-209 = Caenis and Caeneus [Handout]
Ovid Metamorphoses 4.274-388 = Hermaphroditus [Handout]
@sentantiq, “Needful Tales: Intersex Stories from Ancient Greece and Rome.” October 21st 2018.
Sasha Barish, “Iphis’ Hair, Io’s Reflection, and the Gender Dysphoria of the Metamorphoses.” Eidolon, July 16th 2018.
Grace Gillies, “The Body in Question: Looking at non-binary gender in the Greek and Roman World.” Eidolon Nov. 9th 2017. 
Lisa Franklin (@lrfranks), “Life as an Iphis: Ancient and Modern Perspectives on Your Hopeless Gay Crush.” Eidolon, July 19th 2018.
— Tara Mulder, “What Women (Don’t) Want: Tiresias on Female Pleasure.” Eidolon, March 19th 2018.
Allen J. Romano, “The invention of marriage: Hermaphroditus and Salmacis at Halicarnassus and in Ovid,” in The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 59.2 pp543-561 [jstor]

+ for a modern reflection, I highly recommend the graphic novel, “Gender Queer” (2019) by Maia Kobabe. I have a copy in my little lending library in my office. Come by and borrow it!

> student text report: Ovid Metamorphoses 9.666-797 [taken]
> student object report: Hermaphrodite statue (MFA) [taken]

(wk 14) Tuesday 21st April | NO CLASS (“BU Monday”)

(wk 14) Thursday 23rd AprilSulpicia
— Sulpicia (pp95-103), translated by Josephine Balmer in Classical Women Poets.
— Matthew Santirocco, “Sulpicia Reconsidered,” The Classical Journal (1979), pp229-239 [online access]
Thomas Habinek “Roman Women’s Useless Knowledge,” (ch 6, pp122-126) in The politics of Latin literature (1998) [online access]
— Alison Keith, “Critical Trends in Interpreting Sulpicia,” Classical World (2006) Vol. 100.1 pp3-10 [online access]
Lee T. Pearcy, “Erasing Cerinthus: Sulpicia and her Audience.” Classical World (2006) Vol. 100.1 pp31-36 [online access]

> student text report: Sulpicia, Balmer p102 (“Sulpicia’s Advice to a Lover on His Birthday”).

(wk 15) Tuesday 28th April | Envoi.
Jia Tolentino, “Always Be Optimizing,” (pp63-94); “Pure Heroines” (pp95-129) in Trick Mirror: Reflections on self delusion (2019) 

(wk 15) Thursday 30 April | PAPER 2 DUE.