Most recent update:4/1/2004; 5:05:35 AM

 Sunday, March 07, 2004


Just so folks know, I'll be doing a big update to the jobs board (and other announcements) over the course of the week, beginning tomorrow ... this is one area where Radio is clearly inferior to Movable Type ...

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nonae martiae

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NUNTII: Akropolis World News

I appear to have missed an update of this last week, so here's a pile of headlines (click on them for the stories in Classical Greek):

Dramatic rescue of North Pole 12 - World's oldest man (from Catalonia) dead at 114 - Chinese dictatorship frees democracy activist
Maradona claims money from former homage game - Does Coca-Cola sell tap water? - "Lord of the Rings" gets 11 statues
Human chain protest spans Taiwan - Star caught devouring companion - Football rules revised in FIFA meeting in London

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NUNTII: Nuntii Latini

Here are the latest (clickable) headlines from Radio Finland's Nuntii Latini

Kerry candidatus democratarum

Ordo in Haiti restituitur

Abusus sexuales sacerdotum catholicorum

Passio Christi

Reditus Regis statunculis praemiatus

Terrae motus in Marochio factus

Audi ...

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NUNTII: Nuntii Latini

Latest monthly headlines from Radio Bremen's version of Nuntii Latini:

Praesidentia factionis deposita
Rotarium ad irritum redactum
Damnatio autocinetistae effrenati 
Quadringentesimum sexagesimum Schaffermahl Bremae celebratum
Theatrum mundi
Campionatus mundanus finitus

Imperium Romanum frigoribus quondam oppressum
Nero e solo emersus
MEMORABILIA: Mensis Martius
NOTABILIA: Res Martiae

Audi ...

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REVIEW: From H-Net

Sarah B. Pomeroy. Spartan Women. Oxford and New York: Oxford
University Press, 2002. xvii + 198 pp. Preface, figures, notes,
appendix, bibliography, index. $72.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-19-513066-9;
$21.00 (paper), ISBN 0-19-513067-7.

Reviewed for H-Women by Thomas J. Sienkewicz, Department of
Classics, Monmouth College

Spartan Women in the Spotlight

Sparta has been the subject of a number of books published in the
second half of the twentieth century, including K. T. Chrimes's
_Ancient Sparta_ (1949) and Paul Cartledge's _Sparta and Lakonia: A
Regional History, 1300-362 B.C._ (1979), a second edition of which
has recently appeared (2002).  Generally, books and articles about
Sparta and Spartans have tended to concentrate on the history of the
city-state, its rivalry with Athens, its unique constitution, and
the military organization of Spartan society.  Such is certainly
true of Cartledge's newest book, _The Spartans:  The World of the
Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece, from Utopia to Crisis and
Collapse_ (2003).

Pomeroy herself has been in the vanguard of scholars who have
reoriented the focus of Spartan studies away from the
masculine-dominated world of war and government to the private lives
of individual Spartans, and especially of Spartan women.  Indeed,
her landmark _Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in
Classical Antiquity_ (1975), which included significant and detailed
information on Spartan women as well as women from other parts of
Greece, has generated a long bibliography of books and articles on
topics like the wealth of Spartan women, their education, marriages,
and role in politics.  As Pomeroy notes at the beginning of her
preface, however, _Spartan Women_ is the "first full-length
historical study of Spartan women to be published."  For this reason
alone, the book promises to become an influential text for ancient
historians, especially those interested in women's studies.

Pomeroy follows the lives of Spartan women, in individual chapters,
from their childhood and education (chapter 1), to marriage (chapter
2), and roles as mothers (chapter 3).  She also examines the lives
of elite women (chapter 4) and women of the lower classes (chapter
5).  In chapter 6 she deals with the role of Spartan women in
religious matters.  While the general organization is topical,
discussions within individual chapters tend to be chronological, as
Pomeroy traces the changes in the lives of Spartan women through the
traditional timeline of Greek history from the Archaic period
(c.750-490), through the Classical (490-323) and Hellenistic periods
(323-30), and into the Roman period (30 B.C.E.-395 C.E.).

This study will, unfortunately, be more accessible to ancient
historians than to the general reader because Pomeroy assumes some
familiarity with Spartan history and with general features of
Spartan society.  Yet, in some ways, Spartan material needs to be
examined in its own context, for which even the traditional timeline
of Greek history noted above is less meaningful than the following
five major events in Spartan history:  the Second Messenian War
(c.735-c.715) resulted in Sparta's conquest of its neighbor
Messenia, the subjugation of its inhabitants as helots, and the
establishment of the Lycurgan constitution and the communal,
militaristic society for which Sparta is best known.  The battle of
Leuctra (371 B.C.E.)  marked the first major military defeat of
Sparta and gave the Messenian helots their freedom.  The reign of
the Spartan king Agis IV (c.  244--241)  witnessed an attempt to
revitalize the old Spartan way of life, but led to a period of
political upheaval and eventual conquest by the Romans in 195.  A
final period of revival took place in Roman Sparta during the second
century C.E.  History of the ancient city ends with its capture by
the Goths in 395.

Pomeroy herself acknowledges the difficulties of following a purely
chronological approach to her subject. The Spartans themselves
tended to practice revisionist history.  References to the revival
of the Lycurgan constitution in the third century B.C.E. and the
second century C.E., for example, may not accurately describe the
original constitution but rather its later reinterpretations.  For
these reasonS, Pomeroy's history of Spartan women can be considered
chronological in only the broadest sense of that term.

The topical organization of this book is useful for those interested
in tracing the evolution of various aspects of the lives of Spartan
women. It is less helpful to the reader eager to place women into
the more familiar history of Sparta.  A timeline of important
Spartan women and significant events in the history of Spartan
women, for example, can only by culled from this book by collating
information from individual chapters.  This reader, at least, would
have liked an additional chapter offering such a coherent historical

The closest Pomeroy comes in this book to such a coherent overview,
but without an historical context, is in her conclusion, "Gender and
Ethnicity," where she summarizes the preceding chapters and draws
some conclusions about Spartan women, in terms of their differences
from other Greek women and their contributions to the Spartan way of
life.  Here Pomeroy shows how the image of Helen of Sparta as a
beautiful, wealthy, man-dominating woman served as a norm and model
for historical Spartan women but not for women in other parts of
Greece.  Unlike Athenian women who lived in seclusion, Spartan women
lived very public lives, trained openly and with men, and were known
for their beauty.  Spartan women were definitely better fed and
educated than women in other parts of Greece. For much of Sparta's
history women controlled much of the city's wealth. They also seem
to have maintained a remarkable control over their own fertility
compared to other Greek women.  In particular, Pomeroy emphasizes
the active role that Spartan women played in all aspects of Spartan
life, especially in choosing their sexual partners, rearing their
children, influencing their adult sons, and, above all, maintaining
the norms on which Spartan life was based (in such tales as the
Spartan mother telling her son to come home "with his shield or on

A particularly valuable part of Pomeroy's book is the appendix on
"Sources for the History of Spartan Women," which offers a
comprehensive survey and evaluation of all the evidence on this
topic, both literary and material.  Pomeroy begins with two cautions
about the literary evidence.  First of all, the few extant ancient
written sources on Spartan women tend to be influenced by foreign,
especially Athenian, stereotypes of Sparta.  Indeed, much of the
literary evidence about Sparta comes from non-Spartans like
Euripides, Plato, Xenophon, and Plutarch.  While some of these
authors reveal great admiration for the Spartan way of life, they
remain, nevertheless, outsiders.  Pomeroy's second caution is that
the female voice in these sources is only indirectly heard in
literature produced by males.  Pomeroy suggests that the Spartan
woman can perhaps be heard in the voices of the girls speaking in
the poetry of Alcman, in epigrams about women like the one
celebrating the chariot victories of Cynisca, and in Plutarch's
collection of _Sayings of Spartan Women_.  Even the names of Spartan
women are not well documented, partly, Pomeroy suggests, because so
much of the literature was written by non-Spartans, especially
Athenians for whom it was inappropriate to mention the name of a
respectable woman in public.

Pomeroy's survey of sources is arranged first by type and then by
chronology.  Beginning with literary sources, she moves from the
poetry of Alcman in the Archaic period, to references to Spartan
women in Athenian drama and philosophical texts like those of Plato
and Xenophon in the Classical period, to authors like Plutarch in
the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods.  Pomeroy's overview
of the treatment of Spartan women in various ancient authors and
periods is an important feature of this appendix.  Also of note is
her section on secondary sources in which she observes that most
studies of Sparta have either lacked an interest in women's topics
or misinterpreted the evidence.  She cites Cartledge's _Sparta and
Lakonia_ (1979), noted above, as an example of the former, and his
important study "Spartan Wives: Liberation or Licence?" as an
example of the latter.[1] Pomeroy suggests that Cartledge's
description of Spartan women as passive victims of their husbands is
based upon modern rather than ancient views of sexuality and gender
relationships.  A very different view of these women emerges when
their lives are compared to those of their contemporaries in other
parts of Greece.

In her survey of sources Pomeroy also examines the material evidence
for the lives of Spartan women.  Archaeological finds include
thousands of lead female figures excavated at the sanctuary of
Artemis Orthia as well as significant pottery, bronzes, and
inscriptions from Laconia. Photographs of several of these artifacts
are included among the illustrations in this book.  Compared to
other parts of Greece, however, the amount of material representing
women in Sparta is sparse.  Since much of the artwork in the rest of
Greece was devoted to the theme of male domination and suppression
of women, Pomeroy suggests, the general lack of such artwork in
Sparta may have resulted from and reinforced the more active role
Spartan women played in their society.

Finally, it should be noted that Pomeroy's bibliography, while
extensive, is actually a list of works cited and therefore not
comprehensive.  It does not, for example, include references to
major studies of Sparta like H. Michell's _Sparta_ (1964) and A. H.
M. Jones's _Sparta_ (1967).


[1]. "Spartan Wives: Liberation or Licence?" _Classical Quarterly_
31 (1981): pp. 84-105.

        Copyright (c) 2004 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits
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        educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the
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        H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. For other uses
        contact the Reviews editorial staff:

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REVIEW: From Scholia

Wolf-Hartmut Friedrich (tr. Peter Jones and Gabriele Wright, with an appendix by Kenneth Saunders), Wounding and Death in the Iliad: Homeric Techniques of Description.

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Robert Hariman (ed.), Prudence. Classical Virtue, Postmodern Practice.

Hackstein on Haug on Hackstein.

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Issue 6.45 of Explorator is now online ...

... as is the weekly version of the Ancient World on Television listings


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AWOTV: On TV Today

7.00 p.m. |DISCU| Peter: Jesus' Fisherman
In Galilee, experts examine the archeological evidence surrounding
the lives of early fishermen, like Peter. A leading psychologist
explains how such a man made the transition from entrepreneur to
martyred leader of the Christian Church leader.

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Lost Civilizations: Rome: The Ultimate Empire
Sam Waterston narrates this Emmy Award-winning series that sweeps
through 7,000 years of history--from Ancient Mesopotamia to modern-
day Tibet--and transports viewers across the ages using dramatic
reenactments, location footage from 25 countries, and recent
archaeological discoveries to reconstruct the ancient past. In this
episode, we explore the glory of Rome--from founding to its zenith--
and march along as the Romans conquer the then-known world.

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Roman War Machine: First Our Neighbors, Then the
It began as a group of farmers defending the village of Rome from
warring neighbors, and grew to conquer an empire stretching from
Scotland to Arabia. Joseph Campanella hosts this history of the first
professional army. In Part 1, early Rome throws off the shackles of
Etruscan domination and creates a republic with an army.

9.00 p.m. |HINT| Roman War Machine: Roman versus Roman
By 55 BC, the Roman army had conquered nearly all the Mediterranean
region. Rome's greatest general, Julius Caesar, stood on destiny's
brink. After conquering Gaul, he planned to invade a distant, strange
island--Britain. But soon, the Roman army would find itself embroiled
in civil war as Roman faced Roman over the Rubicon.

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Roman War Machine: Roman Siege Warfare
If any ancient people dared defy Roman demands to surrender town or
city, a large arsenal of technologically advanced siege weaponry may
have been among the last sights they witnessed on earth. For siege
warfare was one of Rome's greatest tools for winning and keeping
control of its empire. Joseph Campanella hosts.

11.00 p.m. |HINT| Roman War Machine: Barbarians at the Gate
By the 2nd century AD, the empire had expanded as far as it could.
Consolidation was at hand. Instead of plundering new territories, the
Roman army reconstructed them. Because the army was the first Roman
presence in a new land, the soldiers and their architects, surveyors,
and engineers built their own defenses...some lasting 2,000 years.

HINT = History International

DISCU = Discovery Channel (US)

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Click for Athens, Greece Forecast

Click for Rome, Italy Forecast

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