Aphrodite's Tortoise: The Veiled Woman of Ancient Greece

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9781905125425: Aphrodite's Tortoise: The Veiled Woman of Ancient Greece
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Greek women routinely wore the veil. That is the unexpected finding of this meticulous study, one with interesting implications for the origins of Western civilisation. The Greeks, popularly (and rightly) credited with the invention of civic openness, are revealed as also part of a more Eastern tradition of seclusion. Llewellyn-Jones' work proceeds from literary and, notably, from iconographic evidence. In sculpture and vase painting it demonstrates the presence of the veil, often covering the head, but also more unobtrusively folded back onto the shoulders. This discreet fashion not only gave a priviledged view of the face to the ancient art consumer, but also, incidentally, allowed the veil to escape the notice of traditional modern scholarship. From Greek literary sources, the author shows that full veiling of the head and face was commonplace. He analyses the elaborate Greek vocabulary for veiling and explores what the veil meant to achieve. He shows that the veil was a conscious extension of the house and was often referred to as `tegidion', literally `a little roof'. Veiling was thus an ingeneous compromise; it allowed women to circulate in public while mainting the ideal of a house-bound existence. Alert to the different types of veil used, the author uses Greek and more modern evidence (mostly from the Arab world) to show how women could exploit and subvert the veil as a means of eloquent, sometimes emotional, communication.
First published in 2003 and reissued as a paperback in 2010, Llewellyn-Jones' book has established itself as a central - and inspiring - text for the study of ancient women.

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About the Author:

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones has established himself as an authority on the representation and dress of Greek women. He is editor of Women's Dress in the Ancient Greek World (Classical Press of Wales, 2002).


“This book is arguably the most important study of Greek dress in recent years. It deserves to be widely read.” (Sheila Dillon The Classical Review)

“This volume will be essential for students and scholars alike interested in issues of dress and gender in ancient Greece. It provides a model for future research ...” (Mireille M. Lee American Journal Of Archaeology)

“...an invaluable work of scholarship. (Lydia Matthews Scholia)

“Llewellyn-Jones’ sophisticated investigation ... will become a standard work in the field of Greek dress.” (Ellen G. Millender Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

“The originality and importance of this major contribution to the history of Greek women ... cannot be questioned ...Thanks to Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones’ book for helping us open our eyes.” (Pierre Brulé Histoire)

“This is a dashing, gallant book, well-written, pertinent, lively, and original, managing to balance evidence for management of women with evidence for women’s agency.” (James Davidson Journal of Hellenic Studies)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780954384531: Aphrodite's Tortoise: The Veiled Woman of Ancient Greece

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0954384539 ISBN 13:  9780954384531
Publisher: Classical Press of Wales, 2003

9780715631829: Aphrodite's Tortoise: The Veiled Woman of Ancient Greece

Classi..., 2003