Did women wish their name to be remembered? A negative and contrastive answer… in 1979

In 1979 David M. Schaps opened his work Economic Rights of Women in Ancient Greece (Edinburgh) by pointing out the interpretive slant produced by texts issued from political and judiciary practices, which form the traditional material of Ancient Studies (though not only): “The literature through which we study history was written largely (and for Greece overwhelmingly) by men. Lastly, the desire to perpetuate the memory of the past, and the corresponding desire to have one’s own memory perpetuated, has tended in the past to characterize men more than women. Women, engaged largely (though never exclusively) in the production and training of the next generation, seem to have been less anxious lest their children forget them. They do not seem to have felt the need to have their own names and deeds inscribed in public spaces, or remembered by the entire populace, though they may have nurtured such hopes for their sons.” p. 1.

Here, the question is still framed in terms of an opposition between men and women, not in terms discursive productions. These productions name individuals in terms of rules that are specific to them: this is evident from religious, funerary, and economic epigraphy, which has gained a considerably greater place in historical studies since the end of the 20th century.

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