Finding Persephone: Women's Rituals in the Ancient Mediterranean
Drawing upon the latest research in gender studies, history of religion, feminism, ritual theory, performance, anthropology, archaeology, and art history, Finding Persephone investigates the ways in which the religious lives and ritual practices of women in Greek and Roman antiquity helped shape their social and civic identity. Barred from participating in many public arenas, women asserted their presence by performing rituals at festivals and presiding over rites associated with life passages and healing. The essays in this lively and timely volume reveal the central place of women in the religious and ritual practices of the societies of the ancient Mediterranean. Readers interested in religion, women's studies, and classical antiquity will find a unique exploration of the nature and character of women's autonomy within the religious sphere and a full account of women's agency in the public domain.
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The methodological pitfalls surrounding the reconstruction of the evidence have
by now acquired canonical status in discussions of women and religion in
antiquity , and navigating the sources requires a considerable amount of effort
The association of women's rituals with scandal is partly an artifact of both the
scarcity of evidence and the absence of women's voices in those documents that
we do have . This article brings together the evidence for a connection between ...
On the visual evidence , see Olmos 1986 , 696–99 and my discussion below . ...
as a function of the goddesses ' protection of new mothers and not as evidence of
a healing function : see note 15 below ; pace Forsén and Sironen 1991 , 178.
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Sources and Methodology
THE SCANDAL OF WOMENS RITUAL
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