The Display of Women’s Social Roles in Ritual Participation in Classical Athenian Polis-Cults
Ommen, Lieve van
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In this thesis I examine women’s religious participation in Classical Athens. The aim of my research is to find the social roles women displayed through this religious participation in Athenian polis-cults specifically. I examine three different forms of public religious participation in which most Athenian women could partake: holding religious office such as priesthoods (chapter 1), dedicating votive offerings (chapter 2) and participating in religious festivals (chapter 3). I use a variety of epigraphical, iconographical, archaeological and literary sources that show women’s ritual agency directly and indirectly. In my conclusion, I compare the findings and different social roles I detected in the three different forms of participation to examine the differences and similarities in the social roles detected. This eventually leads to the answer to my research question: how did the different types of female participation in Athenian polis-cults help define the portrayal of women’s social roles and vice versa? Throughout my thesis I also look at whether Athenian women’s citizenship status can be detected within sources that displays women’s ritual agency in the Athenian polis- cults.
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