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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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A Feminist Boomerang: The Great Goddess of Greek Prehistory†

A Feminist Boomerang: The Great Goddess of Greek Prehistory†

Chapter:
(p.307) 17 A Feminist Boomerang: The Great Goddess of Greek Prehistory
Source:
Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome
Author(s):

Lauren E. Talalay

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613199.003.0017

Although women's roles in prehistory have been the subject of debate for well over a century, interest in gender ideology has emerged in the archaeological literature only within the last decade. Much of the recent work on these early representations has either revived the nineteenth-century notion that, in early societies, power was initially vested in women, or has sidestepped the issue of gender and women altogether. A well-constructed approach to these figurines that incorporates feminist and/or gender ideologies and sound archaeological arguments has yet to be designed. Some well-known works argue that the abundance of female figurines in prehistoric contexts of Greece and southeastern Europe reflects an early, pan-Mediterranean belief in a Great Mother Goddess, a matriarchal social structure, and a time when women ruled either supreme or at least in partnership with men. In order to better understand the interrelationships among gender studies, prehistoric figurines and the Great Goddess theory, this chapter examines the interpretive history of Greek Neolithic figurines.

Keywords:   Greece, prehistory, women, gender ideologies, power, figurines, Great Mother Goddess, Neolithic

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