This collection of essays explores the lives and roles of women in antiquity. A recurring theme is the relationship between private and public, and many of the essays find that women's public roles develop as a result of their private lives, specifically their family relationships.
Essays on Hellenistic queens and Spartan and Roman women document how women exerted political power--usually, but not always, through their relationship to male leaders--and show how political upheaval created opportunities for them to exercise powers previously reserved for men. Essays on the writings of Sappho and Nossis focus on the interaction between women's public and private discourses. The collection also includes discussion of Athenian and Roman marriage and the intrusion of the state into the sexual lives of Greek, Roman, and Jewish women as well as an investigation of scientific opinion about female physiology.
The contributors are Sarah B. Pomeroy, Jane McIntosh Snyder, Marilyn M. Skinner, Cynthia B. Patterson, Ann Ellis Hanson, Lesley Dean-Jones, Natalie Boymel Kampen, Mary Taliaferro Boatwright, and Shaye J.D. Cohen.