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Redfield, James M.

The Locrian Maidens. Love and death in greek Italy

Athens dominates textbook accounts of ancient Greece. But was it, for the Greeks themselves, a model city-state or a creative, even a corrupt departure from the model? Or was there a model? This book reveals Epizephyrian Locri - a Greek colony on the Adriatic coast of Italy - as a third way in Greek culture, neither Athens nor Sparta. Drawing on a wide range of literary and archaeological evidence, James Redfield offers an account of this poorly understood Greek city-state, and in particular the distinctive role of women and marriage therein.Redfield devotes much of the book to placing Locri within a more general account of Greek culture, particularly as to the institution of marriage in relation to private property, to sexual identity and to the fate of the soul. He begins by considering the annual practice of sending two maidens from old-world Locris, the putative place of origin of the Italian Locrians, to serve in the temple of Athena at Ilion, finding here some key themes of Locrian culture. He goes on to provide a detailed overview of the Italian city; in a set of iconographic essays he suggests that marriage was seen in Locri as a life-transformation akin to the eternal bliss hoped for after death.Nothing less than a general re-evaluation of classical Greek society in both its political and theological dimensions, "The Locrian Maidens" should prove useful reading for students and scholars of classics, while being accessible and of particular interest to those in women´s studies and to anyone seeking a broader understanding of ancient Greece.

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