Mothers in Mourning
Translated by Corinne Pache
"Nicole Loraux brilliantly elucidates how Athenian politics were 'gendered' in the Classical period. She investigates the Athenian state's interdiction of ritualized mourning by women, in a city where public mourning constituted a vital act of civic self-definition and solidarity.
"As Loraux shows, the silencing and exclusion of female—especially maternal—claims to a crucial relationship with the city's fallen war heroes served, and was reinforced by, the ideologically charged, distinctively Athenian notion of the polis as mother of its citizens. But, Loraux points out, the voice and audience that were denied the bereaved women in the political arena were made available to them in the Athenian theater. She focuses on the representation of mothers in mourning in the myths that are the substance of epic poetry and, principally, in Athenian drama, where the dire, menacing implications of their relentless grief are exposed and played out.
"Using evidence from sources as diverse as legal inscriptions, forensic oratory, ancient historiography, and early religious treatises, Loraux once again illuminates the culture of democracy, specifically the institutional suppression of women as a political and social force in the most flourishing period of Athenian history."—Laura M. Slatkin, University of Chicago
This volume includes translations of the book "Les meres en deuil" and the essay "De l'amnistie et de son contraire."