Rape and the Politics of Consent in Classical Athens

Rape and the Politics of Consent in Classical Athens

Hardback Cambridge Classical Studies (Hardcover)

By (author) Rosanna Omitowoju

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 260 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 221mm x 20mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 24 June 2002
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521800749
  • ISBN 13: 9780521800747

Product description

This book is an in-depth study of the topic of rape in classical Athens. Its central focus is on violent sexual encounters but it also raises questions about the nature and ingredients of any type of sexual activity in Athens. In particular it concentrates on two related areas: the law of classical Athens, especially as represented by speeches delivered in court, and the plays of Menander. These work at complementary levels in respect of period, subject matter and concerns with social conformity, while at the same time being widely different genres of discourse. It is argued that within the evaluation of heterosexual activity in Athens considerations about the consent of the female party were never the key factor. Rather it was the status of the two parties, in social, marital and political terms which ultimately determined whether or not a sexual act was regarded as acceptable.

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Author information

Rosanna Omitowoju held a Research Fellowship at King's College, Cambridge after completing her doctoral thesis. She is now a Fellow of King's College and holds a teaching position within the Faculty of Classics.

Review quote

"Omitowoju's treatment of the material does reveal how it might serve as a frame for understanding ancient attitudes toward the sexual assault of women. More profoundly, it exposes the fact that because female victims of sexual assault in antiquity had no legal recourse except through the agency of guardians, the subject of rape cannot even be broached without considering how it impinges on male citizen status." American Journal of Philology "[This] book, for both content and methodology, will be of interest to historians, and anyone else concerned with issues of law, sexuality, gender, and civic identity." Phoenix

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction; Part I. Regulating rape with words: rhetoric and respectability in the Athenian courts; Introduction: Athenian law in context; 1. Hubris: rape and shame; 2. Bia: rape and violence; 3. Moicheia: rape and adultery; 4. Women and status; Part II. Menander: propriety and transgression; Introduction: Menander in context; 5. Rape and recognition in Menander; 6. Rape and maintaining the status quo: citizenship, marriage, money and eros; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.