Tag Archives: Paestum

Women in Ancient Greece were Chattels. Or were they?

Greek temple at Paestum, Italy

Greek temple but not in Greece. This temple is in Paestum, Italy

Everything I’d read suggested that women in Ancient Greece were chattels. That their position was even worse than that of women in Ancient Rome. Neither could be citizens. First their fathers governed (owned?) them; then husbands and sometimes even grown-up sons. They should remain within the home, concentrating on children and weaving. (The distaff side that Sarah mentioned last week was much to the fore.)

gold ornaments from Machlos, Crete, 2600-1900 BC

gold ornaments, Machlos, Crete, 2600-1900 BC

You may recall that the law placed restrictions on what freeborn women in Ancient Greece could do (see my earlier blog on sumptuary laws). Our freeborn woman could not leave the city at night, nor could she wear gold jewellery or a  garment with a purple border, nor could she be attended by more than one slave. (There were exceptions, relating to being drunk or a courtesan or committing adultery. Yes, quite.)

Women in Crete were different?

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Art or Porn? The Pompeii Poser. Joanna Reprise

Unfortunately, after her return from Greece, Joanna has 
Covid. So she's not up to writing a new blog. 
Enjoy her reprise! She'll be blogging again soon…

Warning: this blog contains images of full-frontal female and male nudity; if you are likely to be offended by those images, please do not read on.

On a recent TV programme on BBC4, Andrew Graham-Dixon mentioned (just in passing) that, in the nineteenth century, it was illegal for a woman to pose in the nude for a male artist. Really? Didn’t anyone tell Ingres?

Ingres: Odalisque with a Slave (1839)

Ingres: Odalisque with a Slave (1839)

Graham-Dixon was showing TV viewers nude paintings of ordinary Danish women. He said they would have created a scandal if they had been shown in public. So it was OK to put nude figures into classical poses, but not into modern-day, realistic ones?
Ingres’ Odalisque or Botticelli’s Birth of Venus was art but a Danish working woman was not? Continue reading

When is it Art and when is it Porn? The Pompeii Poser

Warning: this blog contains images of full-frontal female and male nudity; if you are likely to be offended by those images, please do not read on.

On a recent TV programme on BBC4, Andrew Graham-Dixon mentioned (just in passing) that, in the nineteenth century, it was illegal for a woman to pose in the nude for a male artist. Really? Didn’t anyone tell Ingres?

Ingres: Odalisque with a Slave (1839)

Ingres: Odalisque with a Slave (1839)

Graham-Dixon was showing TV viewers nude paintings of ordinary Danish women. He said they would have created a scandal if they had been shown in public. So it was OK to put nude figures into classical poses, but not into modern-day, realistic ones?
Ingres’ Odalisque or Botticelli’s Birth of Venus was art but a Danish working woman was not? Continue reading