Abstract: Go Spartans: Girls’ Athletics in Ancient Greece

Lecturer: Jenifer Neils

Given the paucity of imagery of Sparta’s legendary beautiful women, this lecture posits some Attic red-figure vase paintings as possible representations of young Laconian females as seen from an Athenian perspective.  Beginning with athletics where Spartan girls are most readily identifiable, this article goes on to consider rare images of girls racing chariots, drinking wine, going to school and being courted by older women.  Ranging in date from the late sixth to the end of the fifth century B.C., these paintings illustrate the Athenians’ fascination with their Greek rivals, as evidenced also by the character of Lampito in Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrata.

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Jodi Magness is with the Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism. She... Read More

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