"Knocking her teeth out with a stone": Violence against women in ancient Greece

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Attitudes towards what we term ‘domestic violence’ are hard to locate in the ancient Greek sources, but they do emerge in a variety of literary and artistic genres which span several centuries. This chapter explores some of the key evidence and, utilising anthropological theory, asks what kind of violent treatment women received at the hands of male relations, and why. Issues of honour and shame surface as key causes, and the chapter explores the fragility of male and familial codes of conduct and the consequences of their infringement. It becomes clear that the sources on violence towards women are not so infrequently encountered as to suggest that violence did not occur often, but show that violence towards women was so matter of fact that it barely deserved mention.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Violence
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1: The Prehistoric and Ancient Worlds
EditorsGarrett G. Fagan, Linda Fibiger, Mark Hudson, Matthew Trundle
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9781316341247
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2020

Publication series

NameThe Cambridge World History
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • Greece
  • Athens
  • domestic violence
  • battery
  • Homer
  • tragedy
  • comedy
  • honour
  • shame
  • veiling


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