If you told a woman her sex had a shared, long-lived history with weasels, she might deck you. But those familiar with mythology know better: that the connection between women and weasels is an ancient and favorable one, based in the Greek myth of a midwife who tricked the gods to ease Heracles’s birth—and was turned into a weasel by Hera as punishment. Following this story as it is retold over centuries in literature and art, Women and Weasels takes us on a journey through mythology and ancient belief, revising our understanding of myth, heroism, and the status of women and animals in Western culture. Maurizio Bettini recounts and analyzes a variety of key literary and visual moments that highlight the weasel’s many attributes. We learn of its legendary sexual and childbearing habits and symbolic association with witchcraft and midwifery, its role as a domestic pet favored by women, and its ability to slip in and out of tight spaces. The weasel, Bettini reveals, is present at many unexpected moments in human history, assisting women in labor and thwarting enemies who might plot their ruin. With a parade of symbolic associations between weasels and women—witches, prostitutes, midwives, sisters-in-law, brides, mothers, and heroes—Bettini brings to life one of the most venerable and enduring myths of Western culture.
Much evidence on the phenomenon of prophecy has come down as part of stories and narratives. The essays in this volume search the role of prophets and prophecy in a variety of text, mainly from the Hebrew Bible.
How did Greco-Roman Egyptian society perceive women’s bodies and how did it acknowledge women’s reproductive functions? Detailing women’s lives in Greco-Roman Egypt this monograph examines understudied aspects of women's lives such as their coming of age, social and religious taboos of menstruation and birth rituals. It investigates medical, legal and religious aspects of women's reproduction, using both historical and archaeological sources, and shows how the social status of women and new-born children changed from the Dynastic to the Greco-Roman period. Through a comparative and interdisciplinary study of the historical sources, papyri, artefacts and archaeological evidence, Becoming a Woman and Mother in Greco-Roman Egypt shows how Greek, Roman, Jewish and Near Eastern cultures impacted on the social perception of female puberty, childbirth and menstruation in Greco-Roman Egypt from the 3rd century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D.
Every human being is born and has gone through a process of birth. This book explores how imagery is used in religious, secular, and nonreligious ways during the contemporary rituals of birth, through analysis of a wide variety of art, iconography, poetry, and material culture.
“Here there be dragons”—this notation was often made on ancient maps to indicate the edges of the known world and what lay beyond. Heroes who ventured there were only as great as the beasts they encountered. This encyclopedia contains more than 2,200 monsters of myth and folklore, who both made life difficult for humans and fought by their side. Entries describe the appearance, behavior, and cultural origin of mythic creatures well-known and obscure, collected from traditions around the world.
A professor of classics and visiting scholar at the Harvard Divinity school presents modern interpretations of traditional Greek and Roman myths that render classic themes accessible to a new generation of readers. By the author of Alexander the Great.