Dr Samantha Masters, lecturer, Department of Ancient Studies, University of Stellenbosch

The traditional view of ancient Greek and Roman women is that they were second-class citizens who lived dull and secluded lives. This is mainly because classical scholarship of the past tended to focus on texts written by elite men, which typically present a skewed view of femininity and the female experience. While the first-person feminine perspective is notoriously lacking (there are very few texts written by the women themselves) and male writers such as Xenophon and Hesiod often present a scathing and misogynistic view of the feminine sex, archaeology, on the other hand, has revealed a rich tapestry of information about ancient classical women and their lives. This course will use both objects and texts to bring ancient classical women sharply into focus. Participants will discover that women’s lives and experiences were far from dull and that they were more than just second-class citizens in ancient Greece and Rome.



1.  Myth and medicine: Pandora (it is all her fault) and that troublesome womb

2.  Women indoors: cloth, clothing and how it maketh the woman

3.  Women outdoors: festivals and funerals, veiling and freedom

4.  Thieves of words: classical women poets

5.  From Artemisia to Xenobia: exploring the lives of famous classical women


Date: 18–22 January   
Time: 5.30 pm
COURSE FEES Full: R420,00  Staff: R210,00  Reduced: R105,00