Housewives, Hetairai, and the Ambiguity of Genre in Attic Vase Painting.

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Sheramy D. Bundrick

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A hydria by the Harrow Painter provides an opportunity to revisit the concept of genre and the depiction of women in classical Athenian vase painting. Scholars cannot agree on the social status of the female figure: hetaira or housewife? In this paper, I show that the criteria used to refute a “housewife” identification can be dismantled and that an oikos-centered interpretation is plausible. This does not, however, exclude the possibility of multiple readings; the ambiguity of this and other “genre scenes” is likely a deliberate strategy intended to attract the widest possible audience.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Phoenix 66(1/2), 11-35. doi: 10.7834/phoenix.66.1-2.0011. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.


Classical Association of Canada

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.