Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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First published: April 1, 2024 - Last updated: April 1, 2024


Editors: Edward M. Harris

Title: Sympathy for the Victims of Sexual Violence in Greek Society and Literature

Subtitle: -

In: Revisiting Rape in Antiquity: Sexualised Violence in Greek and Roman Worlds

Edited by: Susan Deacy, José M. Magalhães, and Jean Z. Menzies

Place: London

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

Year: 2023

Pages: 19-32

ISBN-13: 9781350099203 (hbk.) - Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781350099210 (PDF) - Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781350099227 (EPUB) - Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781350099234 (Online) - Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Ancient History: Greek History | Cases: Mythological Offenders / Apollo; Cases: Mythological Victims / Creusa, Persephone; Types: Rape Representations: Literary Texts / Euripides; Representations: Art


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Abstract: »Here, in a chapter titled ‘Sympathy for the victims of sexual violence in Greek society and literature’, Edward Harris argues that evidence for ancient reflections on consent, seduction and rape needs to be read more carefully than has sometimes been the case. By exploring evidence where sexual violence is punished, across a range of types of sources, Harris sets out that there could be sympathy expressed for women who experienced sexual violence. Moreover, he argues that, contrary to what some previous scholars have proposed, ‘[t]he Greeks considered sexual violence against a woman a serious crime deserving harsh punishment’ (p. 20). Where there is a gap to be maintained, he argues, between grounds for condemning an act of rape in ancient Greece and in modern times, this gap is in the what the intentions of the assailants were. Thus, for example, he sets out, in Euripides’ Ion, there is a focus on the short-, medium- and long-term pain suffered by Creusa, while the rapist, Apollo, who chose Creusa to bear a notable child, is not punished. Among the other evidence explored by Harris is a wall painting from a tomb in Vergina, excavated in the late 1970s, which, likewise, foregrounds the fear and pain experienced by a victim of rape, likely Persephone. This painting had been published close to the date of the ‘Violence and Power’ conference in 1994 and a few years before the publication of Rape in Antiquity in 1997. Karen Pierce and I had wanted to use this image – at once ancient, and so recently published – on the dustjacket. But we were not able to, for copyright reasons. Thus, as noted above, and unusually for a Classical Press of Wales volume, the book came out with an imageless cover. As I have said above, that lack of an image was not a bad thing, but I did wish that we had been able to include one, not that any single example ever seemed quite right. But for the current volume, we have been able to include a cover image – a detail of the Vergina painting no less. As a result, this current collection’s cover is illustrated with an image which suggests the fear on the part of the victim. What is more, it is an image which exemplifi es this book’s endeavour, begun here with Harris, to recover the experiences of ancient people.« (Source: Deacy, Susan. »Introduction: 'Twenty Years Ago': Revisiting Rape in Antiquity.« Revisiting Rape in Antiquity: Sexualised Violence in Greek and Roman Worlds. Edited by Susan Deacy et al. London 2023: p. 6-7)

Wikipedia: Ancient history: Ancient Greece | Art: Ancient Greek art / Vergina | Literature: Ancient Greek literature / Euripides | Literature: Fiction about rape / Ion (play) | Myth: Greek mythology / Apollo, Creusa of Athens, Persephone | Sex and the law: Rape / History of rape, Rape in Greek mythology