Draws striking conclusions about the classical conceptions of sexual purity and of the female body as vehicle and vessel, starting with the virgin priestess at Delphi as she delivers Apollo's oracle while seated on a raised tripod as vapors rose from the earth to her body: the luminous pit and the art of madness. Extensive Notes. Index. 240 pp. Fine hardcover w/ Near Fine dj (clear acetate cover provided). Bookseller Inventory # 910
For centuries, scholars have mused over the meaning of the bizarre physical posture of the virgin priestess at Delphi. She delivered Apollo's oracles while seated on a raised tripod as vapors rose from the earth to her body. The image of prophecies taking shape inside a virginal body provides the starting point for this revealing exploration of the concept of the female body in Greece before the impact of Christianity.
In an analysis drawing upon Greek drama, myths, vase paintings, religious practices, the philosophers, and the Hippocratic medical writings, Giulia Sissa draws striking conclusions about the classical conceptions of sexual purity and of the female body as vehicle and vessel. She argues persuasively that virginity, for the Greeks, was unrelated to the breaking of the hymen and was not irrevocably lost after sexual relations. Since Greek doctors believed sexual activity and childbearing to be important for good health in women, virginity and abstinence had to be explained in terms of some purpose, usually sacred; it was not a virtue in itself. Sissa's discussion of the differences between classical views and those of the Christian church fathers is illuminating. This pathbreaking essay on ancient sexuality focuses throughout on symbolism as well as on beliefs and conventions. The author's extensive research, fresh insights, and urbane style make this a book for anyone interested in ancient thought and society and in women's history.
About the Author: Arthur Goldhammer received the French-American Translation Prize in 1990 for his translation of A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution.
Title: Greek Virginity
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication Date: 1990
Book Condition: New
Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine
Edition: 1st Edition
Book Description Harvard University Press, 1990. Condition: Good. 1st. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP13590181
Book Description Cambridge & London: Harvard University Press, 1990., 1990. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st Edition. First Edition in English. 240 pp; plates. Original cloth. Near Fine, in near fine dust jacket. Revealing Antiquity. Seller Inventory # 19442