GRC20300 Women in Ancient Greece

Academic Year 2023/2024

NB Please be aware that this module covers topics such as gender-based and sexual violence. This module explores the lives of women in archaic and classical Greece, drawing on a broad range of sources, including poetry (epic, lyric, tragedy), prose (legal oratory, histories, philosophy), art (vase-paintings, sculpture) and archaeology/material culture. Traditionally, Classics has been dominated by the study of men. Almost all the written sources that survive from antiquity were written by men and thus focus on male experiences, values and interests. In contrast, women are largely silent in the historic record: they have left us with little of their own writing, and they are frequently overlooked in the male-authored sources. Yet they account for half the population of the ancient world, and any study of the ancient world which does not take them into account is incomplete. What did Greek women do while their men were passing decrees in assemblies and fighting wars? What kind of labour did they perform? What art did they make? What roles did they hold in their community? How did the laws on marriage, rape, and adultery impact their lives? How did the lives of free citizen women differ from the lives of enslaved women and non-citizen metic (foreign) women? What role did women play in the creation and transmissions of mythological narratives? What happens when we centre the enslaved women of epic and tragedy rather than the male heroes? Moreover, given the biases and gaps in the evidence, how can we as scholars access ancient women’s subjective perspectives and experiences?

The Instructor for this module in Autumn 2023 is Dr Suzanne Lynch.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the module students will demonstrate:
• understanding of the different types of evidence we have for studying the lives of women in Ancient Greece
• an ability to synthesise and critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different types of sources
• an awareness of, and critical engagement with, modern scholarship on women, gender, and sexuality in antiquity
• development of oral and written communication skills through engagement in tutorial discussions and writing academic essays

Indicative Module Content:

Topics may vary from year to year, but in Autumn 2023 the module will examine topics, such as:
- the social, political and legal position of women in the archaic and classical polis
- marriage, adultery, sex-work, and sexual violence
- the portrayal of women in Greek myth, literature, and art and feminist re-tellings of Greek myths
- women’s writing, including Sappho
- female labour, space, and dress
- women and war
- women and religion
- woman as 'other'

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning








Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures will introduce students to key topics and themes surrounding the study of women, gender, and sexuality in ancient Greece. Suggested readings will accompany each session. In tutorials students will engage with key passages / images and prompts that they are asked to reflect on prior to class and during the session. In tutorials individual students will be divided into small groups to confer and then reconvene as a class to discuss. Students will undertake research to complete the end-of-trimester essay and reflect on their own learning and engagement with the module and individual tutorial topics. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: 2,500 words to be submitted by 08 December 2023. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Tutorial participation & learning journal - the rubric for assessing engagement and the entries in the learning journal will be distributed to all students in the module handbook. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Ms Suzanne Lynch Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Wed 11:00 - 11:50
Tutorial Offering 1 Week(s) - 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 Tues 11:00 - 11:50
Tutorial Offering 2 Week(s) - 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 Wed 14:00 - 14:50
Tutorial Offering 3 Week(s) - 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 Wed 12:00 - 12:50
Tutorial Offering 4 Week(s) - 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 Thurs 14:00 - 14:50