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Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome$
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Mark Golden and Peter Toohey

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780748613199

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613199.001.0001

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Women in Classical Athens—Their Social Space: Ideal and Reality†

Women in Classical Athens—Their Social Space: Ideal and Reality†

(p.23) I Women in Classical Athens—Their Social Space: Ideal and Reality
Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome

Christine Schnurr-Redford

Hanne Sigismund Nielsen

Edinburgh University Press

One path leading to the source of the topos of the seclusion of Greek women takes us back to the work of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Queen Anne's personal priest and primate of the English Church, John Potter (1674–1747). His Archaeologia Graeca, Or The Antiquities of Greece was published in English in 1699 and, in an unauthorised Latin translation, in Leiden in 1702. In the same year, this version was included in the Thesaurus antiquitatum Graecarum by J. F. Gronovius. The topos of the seclusion of women was brought to the attention of scholars in continental Europe by the much-criticised German translation of Potter's work by the Protestant theologian J. J. Rambach (Halle 1775–1778). In eighteenth-century Athens, there seems to have been a special part of the Greek house reserved for women. As these houses were found closely neighbouring the harems of the Turkish families, it seemed logical for the traveller to equate the gynaeceum and the harem.

Keywords:   Athens, Greece, women, seclusion, John Potter, J. F. Gronovius, J. J. Rambach, harem, gynaeceum

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