The clash of the sexes in Hesiod's Works and Days

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Abstract

In this paper I argue that Hesiod’s (predominantly negative) views on women in the Works and Days are inextricably linked with his persistent anxieties about life in the Iron Age. I hope to complement the existing scholarship on Hesiod’s approach to gender by pinpointing the ideal of self-sufficiency as a driving force behind Hesiod’s view of women, and by showing how gender in the Works and Days is framed in terms of balance. Hesiod’s suspicion of women in the Works and Days is driven both by concern for the productivity of the individual oikos and by a perceived imbalance between the sexes. Women can therefore be tolerated when they fulfil a low-risk role, or when the genders are in equilibrium. Further, I add to the scholarship on gender in the Works and Days by showing that this attitude to women can be traced in the Days section too: I argue for a link between the earlier and latter parts of the poem which has been mostly ignored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-202
JournalGreece and Rome
Volume60
Issue number2
Early online date16 Sep 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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