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Mdchen im Altertum / Girls in Antiquity

Frauen Forschung Archologie


herausgegeben von
FemArcEdition
Band 11

Waxmann 2014
Mnster New York

Susanne Moraw,
Anna Kieburg (Hrsg.)

Mdchen im Altertum
Girls in Antiquity

Waxmann 2014
Mnster New York

Gedruckt mit Untersttzung des


Deutschen Archologischen Instituts

Bibliograische Informationen der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek


Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation in
der Deutschen Nationalbibliograie; detaillierte bibliograische
Daten sind im Internet ber http://dnb.d-nb.de abrufbar.
Frauen Forschung Archologie, Band 11
ISSN 1619-8328
Print-ISBN 978-3-8309-3101-0
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Titelbild: Gipsabguss der Grabstele eines jungen Mdchens (ca. 440 v. Chr.). Bonn, Akademisches
Kunstmuseum Inv. Nr. 1830. Foto: arachne.uni-koeln.de FA-Scan FA-S8485-02
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Frauen Forschung Archologie


Vorwort der FemArcEdition
Frauen Forschung Archologie unter diesem Titel fand 1994 eine Tagung des
Netzwerks archologisch arbeitender Frauen statt. Dieses Motto wurde in der Folgezeit
zum Titel der Reihe, in dem das Netzwerk seine weiteren Tagungsdokumentationen
verffentlicht. Seit ihrer Grndung im Jahr 2000 nimmt die FemArcEdition diese
Aufgabe wahr.
Wir haben es uns zum Ziel gesetzt, feministische Archologie in der ffentlichkeit
bekannter zu machen. Deshalb wurde die Reihe Frauen Forschung Archologie
fr Arbeiten geffnet, die archologische Fragestellungen mit Konzepten aus den
Gender Studies oder aus dem feministischen Bereich bearbeiten. Die Reihe bietet
Forscherinnen und Forschern Publikationsmglichkeiten fr:
Abschluss- und Forschungsarbeiten,
Tagungsdokumentationen und Sammelbnde,
Beitrge, entstanden innerhalb und auerhalb des Netzwerks.
Die FemArcEdition schliet hier eine Lcke in der deutschsprachigen Publikationslandschaft. Interessierte knnen sich an jede der Herausgeberinnen wenden.
Der FemArcEdition gehren zurzeit als Herausgeberinnen an:
Sylvie Bergmann-Kickenberg (Utzenhain)
Jana Esther Fries (Oldenburg)
Doris Gutsmiedl-Schmann (Hamburg)
Michaela Helmbrecht (Mnchen)
Anna Kieburg (Mainz)
Julia Katharina Koch (Frankfurt a. M.)
Jutta Leskovar (Linz)
Susanne Moraw (Berlin)
Ulrike Rambuscheck (Berlin)
Grietje Suhr (Mnchen)

Internetadresse: www.femarc-edition.de

Inhalt

Vorwort / Preface

Tagungsprogramm / Conference programme

11

SuSanne Moraw
Introduction

13

Prhistorie / Prehistory
KerStin P. HofMann
Mdchen in der Prhistorie. Mglichkeiten und Grenzen des archologischen Nachweises
Girls in Prehistory. Possibilities and Constraints of Archaeological Investigations

27

Julia K. KocH
Von Geburt an Frau? Mdchen in der westdanubischen Frhbronzezeit
Born a Woman? Girls in Early Bronze Age North of the Alps

41

wolf-rdiger teegen
Mdchen mit Fehlbildungen und Behinderungen im archologischen Befund
Girls with Malformations and Disabilities in the Archaeological Record

61

Frhe Hochkulturen / Early Civilizations


Helga Vogel
Mdchen in altorientalischen Quellen
Girls in the Ancient Near East

79

Manuela wangert
Echte Wertschtzung oder nur ein Mittel zum Zweck?
Das Bild des Mdchens in der Grabdekoration des pharaonischen gyptens
Genuine Appreciation or Rather Means to an End?
The Image of the Girl in Tomb Decoration of Pharaonic Egypt

91

StePHanie l. Budin
Mother or Sister? Finding Adolescent Girls in Minoan Figural Art
Mutter oder Schwester? Auf der Suche nach jungen Mdchen in der Minoischen Kunst

105

ute gnKel-MaScHeK
Time to Grow up, Girl! Childhood and Adolescence in Bronze Age Akrotiri, Thera
Mdchen, werd erwachsen! Weibliche Kindheit und Jugend im bronzezeitlichen Akrotiri, Thera

117

Griechenland / Greece
cecilia noBili
Performances of Girls at the Spartan Festival of the Hyakinthia
Auffhrungen von Mdchen bei den Spartanischen Hyakinthia

135

claudia MertHen
Mdchen als Teil der Totenklage
Aus Sicht der griechischen Vasenbilder vom 8. bis zum 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr.
Girls and Lamentation Greek Vase Paintings from the 8th to 5th Centuries B.C.

149

MicHaela StarK
Never young? Zum Phnomen der fehlenden Kindheit
weiblicher Gottheiten im antiken Griechenland
Never young? The Phenomenon of the Goddesses Missing Childhood in Ancient Greece

171

Katrin BernHardt
Mdchen im Bild. Der Status der parthenos in den sogenannten Frauenraubdarstellungen
Girl in the Picture. The Status of the parthenos in Scenes of Abduction

185

caitlin c. gilleSPie
Girlhood Interrupted: Unstable Transitions in Euripides Medea
Unterbrochene Mdchenzeit: labile bergnge in der Euripideischen Medea

205

Marion Meyer
Was ist ein Mdchen? Der Blick auf die weibliche Jugend im klassischen Athen
What is a Girl? The View on Female Youth in Classical Athens

221

ViKtoria rucHle
Das ewige Mdchen. Zum Bild der Sklavin im Athen klassischer Zeit
The Eternal Girl. The Image of Slave Girls in Classical Athens

237

JocHen grieSBacH
Pupa: spielend vom Mdchen zur Frau
Pupa: Becoming a Woman is Just a Game

253

olyMPia BoBou
The Costume of Young Cult Agents
Zur Tracht jugendlicher Kultteilnehmer

275

Rom / Rome
anne weiS
The Public Face of Girlhood at Latin Lavinium in the 4th3rd Centuries BCE
Das ffentliche Gesicht des Mdchen-Seins im Latinischen Lavinium
des 4. und 3. Jahrhunderts v. Chr.

287

eVe daMBra
Beauty for Roman Girls: Portraits and Dolls
Schnheit fr rmische Mdchen: Portrts und Puppen

309

Peter eMBerger
Der Iphis-Knabe. Bemerkungen zu einer Geschlechtsumwandlung in Ovids Metamorphosen
The Boy Iphis. Thoughts on a Sex Change in Ovids Metamorphoses

323

KatHrin ScHade
Paulina beim Faustkampf.
Geschlechterrollentausch auf rmischen Kindersarkophagen
Paulina Fighting. Gender Role Reversal on Roman Childrens Sarcophagi

335

KatHrin KleiBl
Frstin der Frauen, Herrin der Mdchen.
Mdchen und junge Frauen im grco-gyptischen Kult
Princess of women, mistress of girls Girls and young women in the Greco-Egyptian cult

347

gntHer ScHrner
Mdchen fr Saturn. Kultische Reprsentation weiblicher Kinder im rmischen Nordafrika
Girls for Saturn. Representations of Children in Roman North Africa in a Ritual Context

363

Sptantike / Late Antiquity


claudia-Maria BeHling
Mdchendarstellungen in der Sptantike. Kontinuitt und Wandel
untersucht anhand paganer und frhchristlicher Beispiele
Depictions of Girls in Late Antiquity.
Continuity and Change Investigated on the Basis of Pagan and Early Christian Examples

377

SuSanna e. fiScHer
Die Funktion der Kleidung in Hieronymus Erziehung junger Mdchen zur Virginitt
Hieronymus on Virginity. The Function of Girls Clothing

393

Frhmittelalter / Early Middle Ages


SuSanne BratHer-walter
Mdchen im Frhmittelalter. Soziale Rollen und Wertschtzung anhand von Bestattungen
Girls in the Early Middle Ages. Social Roles and Esteem on the Basis of Burials

407

doriS gutSMiedl-ScHMann
Vom kleinen Mdchen zur jungen Frau. Rekonstruktionen von Lebensabschnitten weiblicher
subadulter Individuen aufgrund von archologischen Funden aus merowingerzeitlichen Grbern
der Mnchner Schotterebene
From Little Girl to Young Woman. Reconstructing the Life Course of Female
Subadult Individuals Based on Archaeological Finds from Merovingian Graves
of the Munich Gravel Plain

417

Liste der am Buch Beteiligten / List of Contributers

431

Vorwort / Preface

Der vorliegende Band ist das Ergebnis einer Tagung, die im Oktober 2010 in Berlin stattfand,
als Kooperation von FemArc Netzwerk archologisch arbeitender Frauen und dem Deutschem
Archologischen Institut. Ohne das Engagement und die grozgige Hilfe vieler Personen wre
diese Tagung nicht mglich gewesen. Zu danken haben wir zunchst den studentischen Hilfskrften
Franziska Lehmann, Matthias Matz, Alisa Scheibner, Anita Schwind und Paul Widera sowie den
Diskussionsleiterinnen Doris Gutsmiedl-Schmann, Sibylle Kstner, Julia Katharina Koch und
Marion Meyer. Sodann danken wir den Sponsoren der Tagung: der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft, dem Deutschen Archologischen Institut, dem Deutschen Archologenverband und BETA.
The Worlds Largest Professional Radiocarbon Dating Service. Das Berliner Excellence Cluster
TOPOI. The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowlegde in Ancient Civilizations stellte
in der Person von Hauke Ziemssen die Rumlichkeiten und das technische Equipment zur Verfgung.
Zum Gelingen des Buches trugen gleichfalls eine Reihe von Personen bei. Zunchst natrlich die
zahlreichen Autorinnen und Autoren. Nicht alle waren auf der Tagung vertreten, so wie umgekehrt
nicht alle Tagungsbeitrge abgedruckt werden konnten. Die Peer Review der einzelnen Beitrge
bernahmen in der Regel zwei Personen aus dem jeweiligen Fachgebiet. Sarah Cappel, Holger
Kieburg und Ulrike Rambuscheck halfen bei der Endredaktion. Beate Plugge und Jacqueline-Marie
Pilz vom Waxmann-Verlag kmmerten sich in gewohnt kompetenter Weise um die Drucklegung.
Die Kosten fr die Drucklegung wurden zum berwiegenden Teil vom Deutschen Archologischen
Institut bernommen.
Die Beitrge in diesem Band sind nach chronologischen Gesichtspunkten, nach einzelnen Epochen
und Kulturen, angeordnet. Da viele Beitrge mehr als ein Thema ansprechen, erschien das sinnvoller als eine thematische Gliederung. Beim Lesen wird deutlich werden, wie viel auf dem Gebiet
der Forschung zu Mdchen in den Kulturen des Altertums noch zu tun bleibt. Ein wichtiger Schritt
wurde 2011 an der Universitt Erlangen-Nrnberg getan. Dort kuratierte Maria Xagorari-Gleiner
eine Ausstellung zu Mdchen im antiken Griechenland: Maria Xagorari-Gleiner (Hrsg.), Kore. Das
Mdchen in der antiken griechischen Gesellschaft und Kunst. Begleitheft zur Sonderausstellung in

der Antikensammlung des Archologischen Instituts der Friedrich-Alexander-Universitt ErlangenNrnberg 9. Dezember 2011 29. Februar 2012 (Erlangen-Nrnberg 2011).
Der vorliegende Band zu Mdchen im Altertum versteht sich als eine Inventarisierung des status
quo und als den Versuch, Fragen fr zuknftige Forschungen auf diesem Gebiet zu formulieren.
Mai 2014
Susanne Moraw

Anna Kieburg

Tagungsteilnehmerinnen und -teilnehmer vor dem Topoi-Haus, Berlin (Foto Anna Kieburg).

Abbreviations and Citation Norms


The citation norms and most abbreviations are those of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI),
as can be found on http://www.dainst.org/en/publication-guidelines?ft=all. Further abbreviations,
especially for ancient authors and texts, can be found e. g. in Der Neue Pauly. Enzyklopdie der Antike and Brills New Pauly respectively.
10

Tagungsprogramm / Conference programme

Veranstaltungsort/ Venue: TOPOI. The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations,
Exzellenzcluster der Freien Universitt Berlin, Hittorfstr. 18, 14195 Berlin
Donnerstag, 7.10.
09.00 09.45
Registrierung / Registration
09.45 10.15

SuSanne Moraw, anna KieBurg und ortwin dally (Generalsekretr DAI)


Begrung und Einfhrung / Welcome and Introduction

10.15 11. 00

KerStin HofMann (DAI Berlin)


Mdchen in der Prhistorie. Mglichkeiten und Grenzen des archologischen Nachweisens

11.00 11.45

SiBylle KStner (Universitt Kln)


My sister was in charge of us. Die Rollen australischer Aborigines-Mdchen in Beutebeschaffungsprozessen

11.45 13.15
13.15 14.00

Mittagspause / Lunch
wolf-rdiger teegen (Universitt Mnchen)
Mdchen mit Fehlbildungen und Behinderungen im archologischen Befund

14.00 14.45

Julia KatHarina KocH (Universitt Leipzig)


Von Geburt an Frau! Mdchen und junge Frauen in der sddeutschen Frhbronzezeit

14.45 15.30
15.30 16.15

Kaffeepause / Coffee break


Manuella wangert (Universitt Mnchen)
Mdchen in der Bildkunst der Grber des pharaonischen gyptens

16.15 17.00

Helga Vogel (Freie Universitt Berlin)


Mdchen in den Quellen der altorientalischen Fcher

FREITAG, 8.10.
10.00 10.45

ute gnKel-MaScHeK (Universitt Heidelberg)


Mdchen, werd erwachsen! Weibliche Kindheit und Jugend im bronzezeitlichen Akrotiri, Thera

10.45 11.30

StePHanie lynn Budin (Rutgers University, Camden, USA)


The Socialization of Aegean Girls and Issues of Maternity

11.30 12.00
12.00 12.45

Kaffeepause / Coffee break


Marion Meyer (Universitt Wien)
Wann ist ein Mdchen ein Mdchen? Visuelle Verunsicherungen im antiken Griechenland

12.45 13.30

anJa KlcKner (Universitt Gieen)


Mdchen auf griechischen Weihreliefs

13.30 15.00
15.00 15.45

Mittagspause / Lunch
felicia MeynerSen (Universitt Saarbrcken)
Das Lcheln der Mdchen im Diskurs der Bilder

15.45 16.30

JocHen grieSBacH (Universitt Mnchen)


Pupa: spielend vom Mdchen zur Frau

16.30 17.00
17.00 17.45
17.45 18.30

Kafeepause / Coffee break


alexiS Q. caStor (Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster PA, USA)
Reconsidering Girls Jewelry: The Archaeological Evidence
ViKtoria rucHle (Freie Universitt Berlin)
Das ewige Mdchen. Sklavinnen in der athenischen Polisgesellschaft klassischer Zeit

SAMSTAG, 9.10.
10.00 10.45
cecilia noBili (Universit degli Studi di Milano)
Performances of girls in the Amyklaion of Sparta
10.45 11.30

olyMPia BoBou (Brasenose College, Oxford)


The costume of young cult agents

11.30 12.00
12.00 12.45

Kaffeepause / Coffee break


cornelia weBer-leHMann (Universitt Bochum) Darstellungen von Mdchen in der etruskischen
Grabkunst von der Frhzeit bis zum Hellenismus

12.45 13.30

Bridget SandHoff (University of Missouri, St. Louis, USA)


Silent Girlhood: Reconstructing Etruscan Female Adolescence

13.30 15.00
15.00 15.45

Mittagspause / Lunch
MilagroS Moro iPola (Universidad Nacional a Distancia)
How to be a teenager in Rome

15.45 16.30

anne weiS (University of Pittsburgh, USA)


The Lavinium Girls as matrons-to-be: conventions of feminine commemoration in Republican
Italy

18.00

ffentl. Abendvortrag / public lecture:


nancy SorKin raBinowitz (Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, USA)
Tragedys Heroines as Girls
anschlieend Umtrunk / following reception

SONNTAG, 10.10.
10.00 10.45
ulriKe rotH (University of Edinburgh)
Girls, girls, girls: the child face of Roman slavery
10.45 11.30

gntHer ScHrner (Universitt Erlangen)


Mdchen fr Saturn. Kultische Reprsentation weiblicher Kinder im rmischen Nordafrika

11.30 12.00
12.00 12.45

Kaffeepause / Coffee break


KatHrin ScHade (Zossen, Landesamt f. Denkmalplege und Archologisches Landesamt)
Paulina beim Faustkampf. Sexuelle Grenzbe-rschreitungen auf rmischen Kindersarkophagen?

12.45 13.30

claudia-Maria BeHling (Universitt Wien)


Die Stellung von Mdchen auf Denkmlern sptantiker und frhchristlicher Zeit

13.30 15.00
15.00 15.45

Mittagspause / Lunch
SuSanna e. fiScHer (Universitt Mnchen)
Leben nach dem asketischen Ideal. Junge Frauen unter dem Einluss des Hieronymus

15.45 16.30

SuSanne BratHer-walter (Universitt Freiburg)


Mdchen in Sptantike und Frhmittelalter. Soziale Rollen und Wertschtzung anhand von
Bestattungen

16.30

Schlusswort und Verabschiedung / closing words and good bye (S. Moraw, A. Kieburg)
12

Susanne Moraw
Introduction

Why a book on girls in antiquity?


The obvious answer to this question would be: because
there is none. Since the publication of Philippe Aris famous Lenfant et la vie familiale sous lancien rgime in
19601, there has been an increased output of academic research on children and adolescents, concerning both past
and contemporary societies2. Most of this research, however, centered partly because of the scholars own interests
and preferences, partly because of the better availability of
source material on boys, while girls were marginalized3.
This fact led, inter alia, to the introduction of Girls Studies, a newly established academic ield that
speciically considers the experience of engendering
girls, starting at the earliest moments of their lives and
continuing into their transformation to young women.
[] Separating out the realities within girls lives uncovers new issues, topics, and concerns that are unique
to being female and brings attention to experiences that
might otherwise be subsumed into what are considered
standard experiences of childhood, which presume
the experiences of boys to be the norm.4
Doubtlessly, popular interest in and academic research of
contemporary girls their experiences, identities, culture
are growing5. The history of girls lives in the past, however, still remains to be written. The present book is a irst
attempt at bringing together research on girls in Antiquity,
provided by academic disciplines ranging from Archaeology to Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, to
Ancient History and Classical Philology. As the volumes
compilation will reveal, there are clear-cut differences between the diverse disciplines concerning the intensity of
studies on girls. For instance, while there is already some

detailed research in the ield of the Classics, the author


of the chapter on girls in the Ancient Near East still had
to struggle with providing readers with a draft of what is
known about girls in that ield at all6.
A certain problem, one that any scholar working on
girls in ancient societies has to face, is the scantiness of
the sources. Someone doing research on contemporary
Western girls has not only the possibility of interviewing
girls directly. (S)he can also rely on a lot of material that
is related to the girls own experiences and thoughts diaries, magazines, or songs written by girls, interactive web
communities for girls, ilms directed by girls, et cetera7.
From Antiquity, however, we have near to nothing of this
kind, because girls (and to a certain extent also womens)
voices were not considered worthy of being passed on.
Today, we still have the letters of Hieronymus, offering
advice for girls education as consecrated virgins. What
the girls themselves thought or felt about this education,
we can only guess. An exception from the rule are female
poets whose literary work has been passed down until today e.g. the irst poet known by name in world history,
the Akkadian princess and high priestess Enheduanna8,
though it is doubtful whether she should be called a girl9.
Archaeological sources, too, provide only incomplete
information. We have, for instance, antique dolls that once
served as toys for girls10. Like todays notorious Barbie11,
they tend to be in the shape of a young woman of ideal,
yet hardly achievable beauty, a token with which antique
girls could and were supposed to exercise their future
role of an exemplary adult woman. By analyzing a doll and
its accessories, scholars are able to deine the normative
discourses related to it, how its former owner had been
supposed to exercise herself in self-fashioning, household
tasks and respectable behaviour. But what, if the girl in

Susanne Moraw
usage may be positive, meaning irst of all young and attractive, or derogatory, in terms of premature and/or unimportant16. The attribution may be applied by somebody
else, but also by the female person herself: I feel like a
girl. This means that there is also an individual, often psychological factor in deining someone as girl, most of all in
someones self-attribution as a girl that may have existed
in ancient societies, too. Due to the lack of sources of female self-expression, however, this aspect is very hard to
grasp.
Basically, the deinition of girl is a mixture of biological and social criteria. When dealing with societies of the
past, scholars face the problem that a given societys categorization of female persons and the conceptualization of
a female life course17 are often only incompletely known.
Ethnological research has shown that, as a rule, there is a
tripartition into girl woman aged woman, the main
criterion being reproductivity18. This means, theoretically,
a tripartition into a female not yet able to bear children
a female able to bear children a female no more able to
bear children. Bur what exactly enables a young female
to bear children? Just biology, i.e. menarche? Or rather a
certain rite de passage by which society makes sure that
reproduction is socially authorized? As we will see, in
most ancient societies the focus is on girls that are situated
exactly between these parameters: in her physical development advanced enough for bearing children, but still without the rite de passage that will make her an adult woman.
Scholars dealing with pre- or protohistoric societies
cannot rely on much (if any) information provided by written sources. They work with bodily remains and artefacts,
mainly grave goods. Consequently, any female skeleton
below a certain biological age19 is termed a girl in the irst
instance. Subsequently, scholars can attempt to deine the
individuals social status by analyzing her attire, her grave
furniture or whatever criterion may have been preserved.
For the heuristic problems and pitfalls related to this approach e.g. assigning a female sex to a skeleton without
DNA-proiling the reader may turn to the contribution of
Kerstin Hofmann in this volume.
For females living in patriarchal societies, the most
important rite de passage to adulthood is marriage the
prerequisite for the females main task, the bearing of legitimate children for her husbands household20. Therefore
we may start, as a working hypothesis, with the assumption that in antiquity girl meant a young unmarried female person. Most contributors to the present volume used
this working hypothesis, too. At a closer look, however,

question never, or rarely, used her doll in the way that was
expected from her? If she used it for other, more subversive kind of games instead? We will never know.
Due to this lack of sources containing girls self-expression and self-representation, scholars have to turn to
two other categories of sources12. First, and less important
for the essays collected here, is what could be termed hard
facts: laws banning or (in certain circumstances) prescribing infanticide; laws deining the amount of money that
has to be paid as compensation for the killing of a girl;
laws concerning the preservation of girls virginity; oficial documents concerning child labour, the adoption or
purchase of children; lists or documents of female professions, et cetera. Much more abundant are sources, texts
or images that talk about girls in a normative way telling
the reader or viewer how an ideal ancient girl had to be13.
By analyzing these images and texts, scholars are able to
grasp the ideas, the various discourses that touch upon the
topic of girl and girlhood in a given culture. As all the cultures treated in this volume can be termed patriarchal, they
inevitably focus upon certain aspects concerning girls and
girlhood, while others are omitted. To this we will come
later. At this point, I would just like to remind us that what
we have about ancient girls i.e. an adult and predominantly male view is not necessarily identical to what the
ancient girls themselves felt or thought. For comparison,
one may cite research on contemporary girls and their relation to the images of girls disseminated by mass media:
As soon as
girls invest in the role of media producer [themselves],
stereotypical notions of girlhood and girls culture are
altered radically [] As girls begin to create their own
images and generate narratives that truly relect their
lives and concerns, they have the opportunity to take
hold of the stereotypes of girlhood that they learn, disrupt or deliberately deconstruct them, and offer something else instead.14

What is a girl?
This question is not at all as easy to answer as one would
think. From a modern, sociological point of view, a girl is
deined as a female person who has not yet completed the
passage to adulthood to economic independence, children of her own, marriage or something else15. In todays
colloquial language, the notion girl, German Mdchen, can be applied to almost any female person. This
14

Introduction

mothers together with their babies, let alone nursing them,


are rare in other ancient cultures, too. As a recent publication on mother and child imagery states: To put it simply,
the universal realities of childbirth and child-rearing are
anomalies in ancient imagery.31 Considering the fact that
the production of children was the main goal of marriage
and a womens main raison dtre, this may occur a bit
strange. It seems that the principles of female self-representation in art were not in conformity with representing
a woman in the company of very small children32. One
notable exception is discussed by Claudia-Maria Behling
in this volume: a Late Antique cycle of mosaics depicting a Christian girls childhood. The irst two scenes show
her as a baby, held by her mother and presented to Saint
Demetrius and Mary alternatively. On the divine level, too,
things are somewhat different. The best known examples
are probably the Egyptian goddess Isis nursing her son Horus or Mary with little Jesus on her lap33. Note, however,
that all these divine children are male34. Another interesting exception from the rule is provided by Greek art and
mythology: Here it is a male mother, Zeus, who gives
birth to a female child, Athena, and holds the baby gently
on his knees (Michalea Stark).
Another prevalent feature of ancient cultures is the
practice of burying foetuses, neonates and sucklings
somewhere apart, not within the regular cemeteries of a
community. Examples mentioned in the present volume
include the Ancient Near East, with small children buried
under the loor of their parents house (Helga Vogel), but
not Egypt where mummies of babies were deposited in the
parents tomb (Manuella Wangert). In the grave ields of
central European Early Bronze Age, children under the age
of weaning are lacking; this means that they did not share
the burial rites of older children and adults (Julia Koch).
Similarly, newborns are under-represented in Western
Early Medieval grave ields (Susanne Brather-Walter and
Doris Gutsmiedl-Schmann).
Furthermore, many ancient cultures legalized the abandonment or killing of newborn children by their own parents. As this phenomenon seems to be more gender-specific than the other phenomena mentioned in this paragraph,
it will be discussed later, in reference to patriarchal society
and its consequences for girls.

it becomes clear that things are more complicated. Helga


Vogel, in this volume, draws attention to the fact that in
the Ancient Near East, a priestess most often21 remained
unwed. The same applies, inter alia, to the Vestal Virgins of Rome or to the consecrated virgins of Late Antique Christianity22. How were these females devoted to
religion, not to reproduction perceived? As wives of a
transcendent, divine husband like the already mentioned
Enheduanna who called herself wife of the Moon God, or
like the Christian ascetics who were honoured as brides of
Christ23? Or rather as (lawful and/or spiritual) daughters
of a male god24 or of a priest like the Vestals in relation
to the Pontifex Maximus25? Or do we have to postulate
another social category, apart from the dichotomy not yet
married married? And how should we term this category? The same question can be asked about females devoted
foremost to poetry26, like Sappho, or to philosophy, like
Hypatia 27.

Subdividing a girls life course


It has to be kept in mind that females before marriage are
not a monolithic entity, neither in terms of biology nor
in terms of social status. In many of the societies considered in this volume, the notion girl incorporates at least
three28 age-related subgroups that shall be discussed below. Roughly speaking, the trend is as follows: the older a
girl, the wider the difference to her male peers.
1) Foetuses, neonates and sucklings. Unborn or newborn
babies and those still breastfed were often regarded as not
fully developed human beings and not fully belonging to
community. These observations are, by and large, valid for
babies of either sex. In the Ancient Near East, for instance,
various terms for foetus, neonate or suckling emphasize
above all the childs close relation to the mother, without
marking the childs sex. Furthermore, from a legal and administrative point of view, these very young children were
not considered as persons in their own right, but as part of
their mother29. In the tomb decoration of Pharaonic Egypt,
however, we ind a somewhat different phenomenon. Here,
mostly women of the lower classes are depicted together
with very young children, thus indicating that they are too
poor and too inferior to employ a wet nurse. Upper class
women, on the other hand, are practically never shown
with their baby. Consequently, neonates and sucklings are
absent from the self-representation of Egyptian elite families, as it can be found in art30. Depictions of upper class

2) Prepubescent girls. Typical for this age group is a combination of features that girls share with boys of the same
age and features that mark them clearly as female. The
Egyptians, for instance, knew eighteen different terms for
15

Susanne Moraw
child, ten of them, i. e. more than ifty percent, being
gender neutral or just distinguished by the female sufix
-t (Manuella Wangert). According to Sumerian administrative texts, both girls and boys who had to work for their
maintenance received the same wages, contingent on their
respective age. Only after puberty the income of females
was on principle lower than that of their male peers (Helga
Vogel). Linear B tablets from the Mycenaean culture inform us about the people working in the palatial textile
industries: women, older girls, younger girls, and younger
boys. As soon as the boys grew older, they changed to
male work groups (Stephanie Budin).
In the Early Medieval period, the common grave furniture for both little girls and boys were beads, preferably
made of amber. By this, the deceased was characterized
irst and foremost as child marking the deceaseds gender by gender-speciic furniture was considered necessary
only for older children, adolescents and adults (Susanne
Brather-Walter). Thus from around the age of seven, Early
Medieval girls could be buried, inter alia, with implements for textile manufacturing, a speciically female activity (Doris Gutsmiedl-Schmann).
The most detailed information about the perception of
prepubescent children is probably provided by art. In ancient Egypt, the iconographic formula for girls and boys is
roughly the same small, naked, chubby, sucking a inger,
head shaved with one lock left, sometimes wearing jewellery. A gender difference is made, however, by colour of the
skin yellowish for girls, dark for boys and by omitting
or indicating a penis (Manuella Wangert). Similar observations can be made concerning the art of Aegean Bronze
Age (Stephanie Budin, Ute Gnkel-Maschek), though
here, as it seems, female children tend to be clothed35. An
abundance of sources is related to the Classical world, to
Greece and Rome. In ancient Greece, a little boy as well as
a little girl could be called pais, child, without any grammatical allusion to the childs gender, although an abundance of visual signiiers hinted at differences between
the male and female gender. In Late Geometric mourning
scenes for instance, the presence or absence of clothing,
i.e. a long skirt, is a crucial criterion in distinguishing little
girls from their male peers. Furthermore, in the mourning scenes of the Archaic period artists made it clear that
the older a girl is, the more she is involved in the female
part of the activities (Claudia Merthen). Artists depicting
unmarried females on the grave reliefs of Classical Athens, combined iconographic features of the very young
girl with those of older or even postpubescent girls. These

images provided the viewer with the message that every


girl, parthenos, independent of her age, is a potential bride
and born to become a wife and a mother (Marion Meyer).
On the other hand, younger girls depicted on painted vases or relief sculpture sometimes have their hair cut short
(Viktoria Ruchle, cf. Claudia Merthen), making them
look slightly like boys. The same applies for depictions of
younger girls in Etruscan tomb painting36 and in terracotta
votive statues of 4th and 3rd century BC Lavinium (Anne
Weis). Like their male peers, the so called Lavinium girls
wear the tunic and the toga praetexta, sometimes adorned
by a bulla. A female touch, however, could be added by
earrings or the like. Similarly, images of younger children
in the imperium Romanum e.g. in mummy portraits and
on funerary altars sometimes resist an easy identiication of gender (Eve DAmbra)37. Furthermore, the question which childrens games were played exclusively by
girls, which by boys and which by both genders is dificult
to decide (Claudia-Maria Behling). Sometimes, children
even switched gender: In the images carved on Roman
childrens sarcophagi, one can observe the phenomenon
that a deceased boy is rendered as a Muse, or a deceased
girl as a boxer (Kathrin Schade).
These prepubescent girls, as depicted in the different
kinds of sources, are still learning gender38. Related
to this is the fact that they are not rendered explicitly as
sexually attractive. Rather, they are lacking some crucial features that are characteristic for the following age
group, the pubescent as well as the sexually mature girls:
female anatomy with slightly or fully developed breast and
wide hips; long, beautifully dressed hair; full panoply of
jewelry. This way of presenting prepubescent girls is an
obvious difference from our modern perception because
today, girls are both gendered and sexualized already from
a very early age39. A possible explanation may be offered
by Thomas Laqueurs insight that antiquity believed in a
one-sex model: the idea that all humans shared essentially the same kind of body and sex, with only a secondary
split into male and female. According to this model, the
boundaries between male and female were of degree and
not of kind. Only the 18th century invented the idea of a
basic difference between the sexes40. The hypothesis, thus,
would be: In the popular perception of their contemporaries, an ancient girl was made female, while a modern girl
is born female.
3) Girls during and after puberty. As it is not always possible to distinguish in our sources girls still pubescent from
16

Introduction

those fully capable of sexual reproduction, they are both


listed in one and the same category. In any case, this group
of girls is the one that gets the greatest attention from ancient sources, the one on which most literary and visual
discourse focuses. Generally speaking, these girls are perceived either as brides-to-be or as actual brides. In the so
called Dumuzi-Inanna Songs of the Ancient Near East, for
example, the most important goddess Inanna was imagined to be a joyous and expectant bride (Helga Vogel). The
ancient Egyptian language knew various notions for children and youths that are related to physical development;
in the case of females, these notions concentrate on older
girls, during or shortly after puberty. Furthermore, this is
the group of girls that is most often depicted in Egyptian art
(Manuella Wangert). Similarly, the famous wall-paintings
in a building at Bronze Age Thera represent a variety of
girls that all belong to this third group, from the very onset
of puberty till its end, i. e. sexual and reproductive maturity.
The different stages are characterized by different dresses
and hairstyles as well as by physical characteristics, e.g.
breast development (Ute Gnkel-Maschek). For Iron Age
Greece, the evidence is abundant. In Sparta, for instance,
choruses of nubile girls played an important part in various
religious events; probably, the performances had also initiatory functions for the girls themselves (Cecilia Nobili).
The goddess Artemis, imagined as a nubile young woman,
can be termed a parthenos par excellence (Michalea
Stark). In Attic vase painting, older girls are those most often involved in rites of mourning (Claudia Merthen). They
also appear in the popular motif of abduction by a male
(Katrin Bernhardt). Among the so called Lavinium girls,
the most important sub-group consists of statues of older
girls who anticipate marriage through some elements of
their dress headband, covered head, elements of jewelry
(Anne Weis). Greek and Roman dolls depicted, as a rule,
grown-up girls of an ideal body type and could be used for
role-plays that rehearsed attitudes of nubile girls, brides,
or matrons (Jochen Griesbach; Eve DAmbra). In Roman
literature, for example Ovids Metamorphoses (Peter Emberger), the focus is on girls or women that are sexually attractive. Prepubescent girls do not appear at all. In
the Early Middle Ages, the focus on girls of marriageable
age is attested by especially rich grave furniture (Susanne
Brather-Walter, Doris Gutsmiedl-Schhmann).
The examples presented above refer, more or less, to
girls from the higher strata of society and those from the
mythical realm. This is, of course, due to the nature of our
sources. Texts and images center on the social elites or on

the divine. Likewise, material remains such as grave furniture can mainly be expected from the well-to-do. Finding information about girls from the lower classes, on the
other hand, is much more dificult.
Modern studies on human growth and physical development emphasize the dependence on a given persons
socio-economic situation, i.e. factors like access to nutrition or psychological conditions. According to statistical
data from 19th century Britain41, an average working class
male child at the age of fourteen was seven inches (17,78
cm) shorter and nearly twenty ive pounds (11,34 kg) lighter than his average aristocratic analogue. We can assume
that similar differences existed between ancient girls from
the lower classes and their upper class peers. A girl experiencing bad living conditions would not only be lighter
and smaller. Her biological development, too, would be
slower. This affects, for example, the age of menarche that
may have been considerably higher42.
The social development may have been different, too.
For example, did the already mentioned enslaved females
who worked in the Mycenaean textile industries ever experience a legitimate marriage? Or did they simply become mothers without ever having become a wife? And
was their sexual development accompanied by any religious instruction, any rite de passage, as in the case of the
elite girls from Bronze Age Thera? In the art of Classical Athens, female slaves at least those working in the
household were not rendered as sexual beings, neither
in terms of attractiveness nor in terms of reproductivity.
Instead, they were explicitly characterized as not being
a woman. Furthermore, their social and legal status remained the same for all their live, as did their designation:
Female slaves were simply termed pais girl, or rather
child during the whole course of their life, independent
of their real biological age (Viktoria Ruchle).

Once again: What exactly is a girl?


It was already indicated in the last paragraph that the lines
between girls however roughly deined here and other groups of human beings are occasionally blurred. This
is a phenomenon that can be observed in the archaeological sources as well as in the textual evidence. Prepubescent
girls in art, as we saw, are sometimes not at all or only
with dificulty distinguishable from boys of the same age.
Furthermore, in Classical Athens at least they share some
iconographic features with female slaves. This observation
can be explained by the fact that both groups young un17

Susanne Moraw

The last group of females considered here are those


whose sexuality and reproductivity is explicitly negated.
This refers to certain kinds of ancient priestesses, like the
Roman Vestals, as well as to Christian ascetics. In Christian parlance, a female ascetic of any age could be termed
puella. More common, however, was the term virgo, virgin. Primarily denoting an unmarried girl45, virgo obtained in religious parlance, especially the Christian one,
the meaning of sexual renunciation. In this sense, it could
refer not only to female ascetics of any age, but even to
male ones (Susanna Fischer).
A somewhat different answer to the question, what is
a girl or maybe: what is the essence of being a girl is
given by the Roman poet Ovid. In one of the stories told
in the Metamorphoses, a baby girl, Iphis, is threatened to
be killed by her father because of her female sex46. Iphis
mother saves her life by declaring her to be a boy and,
consequently, raises her as a boy. Thus, we have a child
with a female sex that is engendered male. During puberty,
Iphis falls in love with a female class mate, Ianthe, and,
by chance, an engagement is arranged between the two of
them by their respective fathers. Now, for the irst time,
Iphis is aware of her true sex and deeply desperate. From
her point of view, and probably also from that of Ovids
readers, physical love between to females is impossible:
sexual intercourse without phallic penetration is no sexual
intercourse at all. Other features of Iphis live as a boy in
a female body, or other feelings, are not addressed by the
poet. For Ovid, a girl is irst of all a human being that is
lacking a penis. The story, however, has a happy ending:
Isis, a kind of dea ex machina, transforms Iphis body into
a male one, thus adjusting Iphiss sex to her/his gender.
The transformation itself is described as a clear-cut improvement in every aspect.

married females as well as enslaved females assumed


comparable roles within the Athenian household, in contrast to the role of the lady of the house (Viktoria Ruchle).
Pubescent and post-pubescent girls, on the other hand,
can be found in the same semantic ield as wives, as sexually attractive women of whatever social or legal status,
and as women whose sexuality is explicitly negated. In
all three cases, the underlying motives are sexuality and
reproductivity. A blurring of the line between a sexually
mature girl and a married woman can most often be observed in art43. Examples treated in this volume include
Ancient Egypt (Manuella Wangert), Greece (Katrin Bernhardt, Marion Meyer), Latium (Anne Weis) and Rome
(Eve DAmbra). Sometimes girls are distinguished from
wives by size and/or composition. Sometimes their depiction just incorporates iconographic features that are characteristic of a married woman, thus either anticipating the
girls hoped for future or lamenting the fact that this future
had been prevented by death.
In the literature of Greece and Rome, one and the same
notion can signify a whole range of female roles whose
tertium comparationis can be seen in the ield of sexual attractiveness. Related to this is more or less inevitable in
a culture that perceives females mainly under the aspect of
reproductivity the potential for bearing children. As Caitlin Gillespie makes clear in this volume, the Greek term
nymph irst of all encompasses the time between maidenhood and motherhood. It thus can either be applied to any
girl of marriageable age or to a bride or to a young wife
who still has not given birth to her irst child. Furthermore,
it can refer to any female capable of reproduction that inds
herself in an unstable period of life: Medea, for instance,
who has killed her children and destroyed her husband and
now starts a new life in Athens; or Helen, who is eternally young and attractive and, during her life, becomes the
bride of Menelaus (as well as the mother of his daughter),
then of Paris, and inally of Menelaus again. The usage of
the term nymph therefore hints at the inherent instability of the transition from the social status of a girl to that
of a woman, and maybe even to the inherent instability
of every female status in a patriarchal society. The Latin
term puella, girl, has got a wide range of meanings, too,
though not exactly in the same ield44. Puella signiies in
the irst instance a female child as well as an unmarried
young female. Apart from this, the term can refer to a female person between puberty and motherhood, regardless
of the question whether she is married or not. In poetry,
puella is a term of affection that describes a married lover.

Being a girl in a patriarchal society


All cultures and societies considered in this volume can
be termed agricultural and probably as a side effect of
this patriarchal47. To cite a recent book on childhood in
world history:
All agricultural societies moved toward patriarchy in
gender relations, and in parent-child relations, with disproportionate authority vested in males and in fathers
as power authorities in the family. In most agricultural
societies, men took over the most productive tasks in
the family economy []; women tended to become
18

Introduction

her. Research on the Roman concept of pudicitia (sexual


virtue), for example, made clear that a mans reputation
as well as his social and political success were highly dependent upon the behaviour of his female relatives50. This
meant, in turn, that a daughter, especially a nubile one, had
to be guarded and protected carefully by her male relatives.

supplementary workers, vital to the familys operations


but not as independently important as they had been
in hunting and gathering settings. Their activities as
mothers of course increased with the heightened birth
rate. These changes translated into deinite efforts to
differentiate boys and girls, in terms not only of tasks
and ultimate functions in life, but also of importance.
Girls, despite individual exceptions who gained special
parental indulgence, were made to feel inferior.48

2) Gender-speciic infanticide. In Ovids Metamorphoses


a pregnant woman is told by her not too negatively portrayed husband: There are two things I wish for: that you
are delivered with the least pain, and that you produce a
male child. A girl is a heavier burden, and misfortune denies them strength. So, though I hate this, if, by chance,
you give birth to a female infant, reluctantly, I order let
my impiety be forgiven! that it be put to death.51 The neonates female sex is here equivalent to a death sentence.
From a systematic point of view, there existed a whole
range of reasons for abortion, infanticide, and abandonment in antiquity, some of them gender-speciic, some of
them not.
Reasons that at least theoretically applied for children of both sexes were, irst, a parents profound aversion
to having children at all. A historic example, that may be
cited, is Melania the Younger who managed to get rid of
an unwanted child by means of excessive praying during
pregnancy52. Secondly, illegitimate birth. In societies that
considered the production of legitimate children as the
main goal of marriage, a child born outside marriage or
by the wrong father was of no use or, worse, a threat to
the mothers household. In Plutarchs version of the Isis
and Osiris myth, Osiris had sex with Isis sister, Nephtys,
herself the wife of Typhon. When a baby boy was born out
of this union, Nephtys exposed him immediately after his
birth, because of her fear of Typhon53. Thirdly, physical deformity and/or disability. Roman law regulated that
children born with physical deformities had to be killed
or exposed54. Similar laws may have existed in other ancient cultures. Nevertheless, Wolf-Rdiger Teegen in this
volume argues convincingly that anthropological evidence
points to the fact that mostly female children were killed
because of this reason. Boys, on the contrary, were sometimes raised, as is proven by the existence of adult male
deformed skeletons. This implies that parents confronted
with a deformed baby had a certain allowance at discretion and that they used this discretion mainly in favour
of their male offspring. A somewhat similar case is provided by our fourth item, bad omens. In Roman as well

This emphasis on paternal power as well as on female reproduction and inferiority had important consequences for
girls and for their lives. As a lot of these consequences are
addressed in various contributions of the present volume,
they may be shortly summarized here.
1) Close connection to the natal family. As a rule, an unmarried female was not seen as a person in her own right,
but as strongly related to her family. This meant, inter alia,
dependency in legal as well as economic matters. Furthermore, a daughter could be used as a means of displaying
the familys wealth and status, or even its political power.
In the Middle European Early Bronze Age, for instance,
sepultures of elite girls contain rich grave furniture, as a
demonstration of the familys wealth. Additionally, anthropological analyses make it clear that female members
of the elite enjoyed a signiicantly longer life expectancy
than females of the lower classes (Julia Koch). In the Ancient Near East, an elite girl could obtain the prestigious
and politically important ofice of a high priestess, as did
Enheduanna, daughter of king Sargon of Akkad (Helga
Vogel). Furthermore, various religious festivities from
Minoan Crete to Ancient Greece, to Latium and Rome49
offered an occasion to present a well and beautifully
dressed daughter to the community. The girls amount of
jewelry would hint at the richness of her future dowry and
thus aimed to attract a future husband. For the girls father,
the marriage would mean an alliance with another male
who was at least of the same status and wealth, or even
of a higher one. The father of a nubile girl in 3rd century
Lavinium, for example, could hope to marry off his abundantly bejewelled and elaborately beautiied daughter to a
Roman patrician (Anne Weis). In Christian times a familys social status could be enhanced by having a daughter
that was a consecrated virgin (Claudia Behling, Susanne
Fischer).
The other side of status enhancement by a daughter is,
of course, the ruin of the familys status and reputation by
19

Susanne Moraw
many daughters because of gender-speciic infanticide
and thus correspondingly, valued the few, or only one that
they had more?
Only few reasons argued speciically for the death of a
new born male, the main one being political61. Both the bible and ancient historical texts tell stories about bad rulers
fearing for their throne and therefore willing to kill every
potential threat, even a baby. Females, as a rule, did not
posses the authority or the military resources to usurp a
throne, and consequently, this fear referred only to male
babies. As examples one may cite Herod of Judea and his
Massacre of the Innocents62, or Amulius, himself usurper
of the throne of Alba Longa, who tried to get rid of the
legitimate kings grandsons Romulus and Remus63.

as in Etruscan opinion, a malformed neonate had to be


interpreted in terms of religion, as a sign that something
was wrong between the human community in question and
the divine55. Furthermore, auguries foretelling that a newborn will bring terrible things upon his/her family or city
are known from myth, the most prominent examples being Paris of Troy and Oedipus of Thebes56. Both Paris and
Oedipus are male, as is most often the case with protagonists of ancient literature, but in real life, girls may well
have been the main target of superstition.
The reasons for gender-speciic infanticide to the disadvantage of girls were more or less already summarized
by Ovids poetical igure, the father of Iphis. First, girls are
a heavier burden57 than a male child. This is true in an
economic sense as well as in a practical one. From an economic point of view, daughters caused greater expenses
than boys because, as a rule, they needed to be provided
with a dowry to marry them off58. Also, they brought less
or no income to their family, because unlike sons they
would hardly learn a trade and thus earn money themselves59. The most signiicant exception from the rule is
sex industry. Here, the demand for females was (and is)
greater than for males. Accordingly, the archaeological record from a Late Antique latrine, most probably belonging
to a brothel, bears witness to the selective killing of new
born males while the female babies were kept and raised
to become prostitutes60. From a practical point of view,
girls could be considered a burden because, as already
mentioned before, they needed custody and protection.
According to Ovid, girls are denied strength (vires) by
fortune what can also be translated as lacking morals,
lacking intelligence etc., in sum: lacking value. The
fathers arguments sum up the principal inferiority of females in patriarchal societies. As the evidence assembled
by Wolf-Rdiger Teegen makes clear, disregard of female
offspring was not conined to Roman culture. Similarly,
some grave ields of Middle European Early Bronze Age
contain much more female child burials than male ones.
With all probability, this is an indication for gender-speciic neglect or infanticide (Julia Koch). In Germanic societies of the Early Middle Ages, the amount of wergild
that had to be paid for the killing of a female neonate as
restitution to the victims family was sometimes at least
according to the Lex Salica considerably higher than for
the killing of a male baby (Susanne Brather-Walter), a fact
that is dificult to explain. Does it really mean that for the
parents, a daughter was much more precious than a son?
Or does it rather mean that parents as a rule did not have so

3) Marriage and providing a husband with legitimate children as a females raison dtre. As already mentioned
above, girls during and after puberty, i.e. of marriageable
age, get by far the most attention from our sources. Related
to this is the likewise already mentioned fact that younger
girls, who are still unable to reproduce, are not considered
sexual beings, or sexual attractive. Instead, as we saw,
they share certain features with boys of the same age or
with slaves. Girls of marriageable age, on the other hand,
are conceived as beautiful and seductive, as sexual and
sexualized beings. In art, they are equipped with those
features that denote beauty in the given society, as a rule
an explicitly female anatomy, long and beautifully dressed
hair, as well as a lot of jewelry64. Furthermore, Attic vase
painters rendering the so-called abduction scenes incorporated various iconographic signs, like lowers or balls that
gave the images a subtle erotic air (Kathrin Bernhardt).
Greek dolls, depicting nubile girls in the act of dancing,
often display a considerable degree of denudation (Jochen
Griesbach). Note however that this sexualization is ideally
always related to a male, to the future husband. In Classical Greece, dolls depicting a nubile female could be combined with a male doll, performing the groom, not unlike
Barbie and Ken of today (Jochen Griesbach). Other forms
of sexuality, for example between females, are considered
abnormal. As Ovids Iphis by biology a girl and desiring
another girl puts it: a strange and monstrous love, that
no one ever knew before65. This heteronormative view is
probably valid for all societies treated in this volume66. For
the Ancient Near East it is discussed in detail by Helga
Vogel.

20

Introduction

Other important aspects of girlhood in antiquity

as well as archaeological sources tell us also about children


who were introduced by their parents (Kathrin Kleibl). In
Roman North Africa, parents sacriiced in nocturnal rites
to Saturn on behalf of their children. They commemorated
this event by means of votive steles that depicted their sons
and daughters, sometimes together with the parents, and/or
with ritual implements (Gnther Schrner).
By far the most contributions in the present volume refer to sacra publica. In the Ancient Near East, daughters
of elite families could be invested with (also politically)
important priesthoods. The best example is Inheduanna
who was made high priestess of Ur by her father Sargon
of Akkad, as we know from textual sources (Helga Vogel).
Due to the lack of deciphered texts, we do not know too
much about the organization of cult as it was practised in
Minoan Crete and Bronze Age Thera68. It can be assumed,
however, that the archaeological evidence discussed in this
volume refers to a more public praxis: Girls performing
various kinds of group rituals, either together with other
girls of different ages or together with grown-up women.
In the poleis of Iron Age Greece and Italy, there was an
abundance of religious festivals, many of them including
not only sacriice but also sumptuous processions and/or
choral performances. Girls played an important part, most
notably as participants of processions and chorusses. Cecilia Nobili, in this volume, discusses the textual and archaeological evidence for Sparta, focusing on the choral
performances of girls at the Hyakinthia. For Athens, one
may cite the famous passage from Aristophanes Lysistrata, summarizing an ideal cursus honorum of an Athenian
girl: At seven years old, / I carried sacred vessels, and at
ten / I pounded barley for Athenas shrine. / Later as bear, I
shed my yellow dress / for the rites of Brauronian Artemis.
/ And once I was a lovely full-grown girl, / I wore strings
of igs around my neck / and was one of those who carried
baskets.69 Olympia Bobou, in this volume, presents votive statues of girls and boys clad in special dress who took
part in ritual, assisting the priest or priestess. For 4th and
3rd century Latium, we have the archaeological evidence
of the so-called Lavinium girls: votive statues depicting
girls of different ages that may have been dedicated by the
parents in order to commemorate their daughters participation in prestigious processions or choruses (Anne Weis).
As a rule, participation in public cult was an elite phenomenon. It offered an opportunity for displaying a familys
wealth and status via their daughters. Furthermore, it offered an opportunity for displaying the girls themselves,

1) Religion. Girls participation in cult is probably the


aspect which is most often referred to in this volume,
by numerous authors. Unlike today, religion in antiquity
permeated almost every aspect of human life and, accordingly, was expressed in a variety of different contexts and
ways. Roman law distinguished sacra privata (cults inanced by private persons or associations and performed
on behalf of these persons/associations) from sacra publica (cults inanced by the state and for the states sake)67.
This distinction may tentatively be used as a heuristic tool
for other ancient societies, too, at least for those who left
written records. Throughout the ages, girls participated in
both categories. In terms of quantity, there were certainly
much more girls involved in private cults than in public
ones. In terms of quality, however, participation in public
cult was by far more prestigious and therefore much more
worthy to be commemorated. This brings us back to the
above mentioned fact that our sources focus strongly on
elite girls. It should furthermore be kept in mind that the
distinction between public and private is not necessarily
identical to a distinction between important and unimportant. For a Roman devotee of Isis or North African Saturn
respectively, this deity could be much more important than
any member of the Capitoline Triad.
On the most private level, cult was practised inside the
family, for example by means of cult for diverse household
deities, or by means of mourning and honouring the dead.
In ancient Egypt for instance, nubile girls accomplished
either alone or with their mother certain rites for their
fathers well-being in the afterlife and for his rejuvenation.
Accordingly, theses rites were rendered in tomb decoration
(Manuella Wangert). In ancient Greece, the mourning of a
deceased was performed by the whole familia, including
children of both sexes. The same goes for the cult of the
dead. Both topics are frequently depicted on Attic vases
related to the care of the dead (Claudia Merthen). In Late
Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, Christian families
sometimes decided to consecrate a new born daughter to
Christ, as a lifelong virgin. Thus, the girl was raised to
become an ascetic either inside her familys house or
inside a convent as a guarantee for her parents spiritual
well-being (Susanna Fischer; cf. Claudia Behling).
Another case of sacra privata are cult associations destined for venerating a certain deity that served ones interests well. One of the most successful of these cults was that
of Isis, spread throughout the whole Greco-Roman world.
The cult was open for males and females alike, and literary
21

Susanne Moraw

daughters and younger sons. In Roman times, too, the


textile production may have depended largely upon slave
girls76.
Girls involvement in ancient sex industry is not a topic
in this volume, though there is a lot of scholarship concerning prostitution and/or slavery77. In reference to gender-speciic infanticide, mention has been made of the archaeological record from Late Antique Ashdod78. There, in
the context of a brothel, the evidence hints at the selective
killing of new born boys because males were considered
less valuable in sex industry.

especially the nubile ones, by presenting their grace, beauty, and body control.
2) Economy. The economic impact of being a girl or having a daughter is a topic mentioned not too often in this
volume. The negative side of this impact, the inancial burden that providing a daughter with a dowry could mean,
has already been discussed above, with regard to genderspeciic infanticide. The positive side, the proits that could
be made, are less clearly stated. The reason may be that the
economic role of girls is undervalued twice: in the ancient
sources as well as in contemporary scholarship70.
Probably in all societies treated in this volume, girls
main education took place at home. Girls were taught by
their mother or other females how to become a perfect
housewife how to be beautiful, to keep house and to care
for children71. In some cases, as the Bronze Age Aegean
or Iron Age Sparta72, socialization by other girls played an
important role, too.
In non-elite families, girls, like their brothers, had to
work from an early age, contributing their share to the
family economy. Grave ields of Early Bronze Age Central
Europe display two peaks in childrens mortality curve: at
the age of two, i.e. the time of weaning, and at the age of
eight, i.e. probably the onset of working73 (Julia Koch).
Textual records from the Ancient Near East tell us about
girls at the age of ive or older who earn a living by herding pigs and goats, working in spinning or weaving mills,
in oil presses or mills. Girls from a higher echelon of the
social scale could be trained as scribes (Helga Vogel). It
can be assumed that girls in other cultures, too, had the opportunity for occupations requiring formal training but this
ield is not well researched74. In the household of Classical Greece, girls accomplished more or less the same tasks
as the female household slaves (Viktoria Ruchle). In the
Early Middle Ages, girls at the age of seven or older were
buried together with tools for textile production. This hints
at their early involvement in this socially and economically important female task (Doris Gutsmiedl-Schmann).
Considerable proit from girls work could be expected
in two areas: textile industry and sex industry. In antiquity, the production of textiles i.e. preparatory processes,
spinning, weaving, inishing was mainly a female task75.
As such, it could either be done inside the house, as part
of the family economy, or on a grand scale, by (often enslaved) workers. Stephanie Budin, in this volume, discusses the evidence for Mycenaean state-run industry. Linear
B tablets tell us about women working together with their

Notes
1

Aris 1960.

For a historical approach, see e.g. Stearns 2011 or Crawford


Shepherd 2007; cf. Derevenski 2000 and Dommasnes Wrigglesworth 2008; for a sociological approach, see e.g. Hengst
Zeiher 2005 or Hurrelmann 2012.

To cite just one example: Levi Schmitt 1995 contains eight


chapters on adolescents in ancient societies from ancient Greece
to 16th/17th century Europe, all of them allotting much more
space to the story of male adolescents. The editors, too, albeit
pointing out in their introduction (p. 17) that girls had an adolescence very different from boys, treat male adolescence as the
norm and as their main interest of research. Almost the same is
true for Laes 2011.

Lipkin 2009, 4.

Cf. also the irst encyclopedia of contemporary American /


Western girl culture, published in 2008: Mitchell Reid-Walsh
2008.

Though there are, at least, some recent publications on women,


see e.g. Weiershuser 2008.

Lipkin 2009, esp. 125165.

Cf. Zgoll 2008.

For the problems with deining the term girl, see below.

10

See the contributions of Eve DAmbra and Jochen Griesbach


in this volume.
11

For Barbie, see Mitchell Reid-Walsh 2008, vol. 1, 3947


and the chapter by Jochen Griesbach in this volume.
12

I owe this categorization (more or less) to Hengst-Zeiher


2005, 923.
13

The bad girl, on the other side, is conspicuously absent. A


rare example is provided by the Ancient Near Eastern girl demon Ardat-Lil, a female monster that can be described as the
sum of all things that could go wrong with a female socialisation (Helga Vogel in this volume).
14

Lipkin 2009, 147.

15

See Hurellmann 2012.

16

See chapter by Kerstin Hofmann in this volume.

17

Life course understood as the temporal dimension of life


that begins at birth and ends in death, embedded in and struc-

22

Introduction
Depictions of small children, let alone baby girls, together with
their mother are extremely rare.

tured by the cultural context in which the person in questions


lives. See Harlow Laurence 2002 and esp. Gilchrist 2004; for
research on contemporary society, see Elder Giele 2009.
18

32

Very interesting in this context is a Classical Greek doll,


discussed by Jochen Griesbach in this volume: The doll depicts
a grown-up female, destined to sit on a chair in the oikos
womens quarters, assuming the role of the lady of the house.
Inside the dolls belly and without any visible sign of pregnancy,
a removable abdominal wall hid the minature doll of a fetus.

Streck 2000, 1920.

19

Julia Koch, in her research on Middle European Early Bronze


Age in this volume, includes all female individuals till the age
of 12; also in this volume, Susanne Brather-Walter and Doris
Gutsmiedl-Schmann, both working on Western Early Middles
Ages, include females till the age of 20.

For Isis, see Kathrin Kleibl in this volume; for Mary, see
Claudia-Maria Behling. For divine mothers of the Bronze Age,
see Budin in this volume.
33

20

This is valid for all the cultures considered in this volume,


or at least for those that left written records. For tendencies to
ideologically exaggerate reproductivity and maternity even in
modern feminist thought, see Judith Butlers criticism on Julia
Kristeva, Butler 1990, 7993.

34

This applies also to semi-divine children: According to the


political propaganda of Ancient Egypt, a pharaoh was not only
the son of his human parents but also and simultaneously the
son of the highest god of the Egyptian pantheon and his divine
consort. In order to attain this divine legitimation, the female
pharaoh Hatshepsut had to change her gender. In the visual
sources at least, she is rendered as male, e.g. as a naked little
boy on the lap of his/her divine father Amun or, this time in
Pharaonic dress, nursed by the goddess Hathor: Kgler 2008; cf.
Budin 2011, 6264.

21

At least as far as we know. As Helga Vogel told me, there are


still a lot of unsolved questions and need for further research.
For the Vestals, see Mekacher 2006; for the Christian virgins,
see Susanna Fischer in this volume.
22

23

For the problems that this metaphor provided, see now Elliott
2012.
24

For the concept of a Daughter of God in different cultures


and religions, see the contributions in Kgler Bormann 2008.

35

Cf. also the depiction of a prothesis on a Late Helladic IIIC


krater, discussed by Claudia Merthen in this volume: A small
mourning girl is clearly distinguished from the male mourners
by her long skirt.

25

From second century Tivoli, we have the burial of a Vestal


Virgin, who died at the age of sixty-six and was buried with her
doll: DAmbra in this volume, note no. 65. As a rule, Roman
girls dedicated their dolls to Venus on the eve of their wedding.
As a Vestal had no wedding (unless she retired from ofice), she
retained that symbol of girlhood, the doll, for all her life.

36

Paper by Cornelia Weber-Lehmann, unfortunately not published in this volume. But see Weber-Lehmann (in print).
37

Cf. Fittschen 2010, 1085. See also the latest catalogue on


childrens portraits in the Capitoline Museums: Fittschen
Zanker in print. A lot of entries relating to prepubescent children
leave the decision concerning the childs gender open.

26

The princess, high priestess and poetess Enheduanna literally


states in her Exaltation of Inanna (v. 138) that she has given
birth to the poem: Zgoll 2008, 14.

38

For the performative character of gender, see the works of


Judith Butler, e.g. Butler 1990 or Butler 1993. Eve DAmbra in
this volume suggests in reference to Roman funerary sculpture
that femininity was an acquired trait. For similar discussions
concerning Bronze Age igurines, see Budin 2011, 89. For the
sarcophagi, see now also Birk 2010.

For Sappho, see DuBois 1995; for Hypatia, see HarichSchwarzbauer 2011.
27

Cf. the classiication made by Claudia Merthen in this


volume. In many cultures, however, there will have been more.
This can be proven, for instance, by analysis of grave furniture,
as Julia Koch did for the Middle European Early Bronze Age;
or by analysis of iconography, as Ute Gnkel-Maschek did for
wall-painting in Bronze Age Thera. Anne Weis, in her analysis
of statues from 4th/3rd century BC Lavinium, postulates a kind
of cursus honorum for the elite girls of this town.
28

For gendering girls, see Lipkin 2009, 139; for sexualizing,


see Mitchell Reid-Walsh 2008, vol. 1, xxviii and Lipkin 2009,
4089 who states (p. 41): Before they even abandon their
teddy bears, contemporary girls embrace the erotic.
39

40

Laqueur 1990.

41

Cited by Harlow Laurence 2002, 1415.

29

For the Ancient Near East, see chapter by Helga Vogel in this
volume.

42

30

See chapter by Manuella Wangert in this volume; cf. Budin


2011, 89117 for some exceptions from that rule.

As can be assumed by comparison with modern data: Halow


Laurence 2002, 1314.

31

43

And sometimes, the blurring of the line is not due to the


ancient artist, but to the modern viewer/scholar: In Minoan art,
for instance, there are signiicantly fewer images of maternal females and much more of girls than has been assumed (Stephanie
L. Budin).

Budin 2011, 1. This statement does not only apply to the


Bronze Age, but also to the Classical World. In ancient Greece,
mothers are rarely depicted with small children (Bonfante
1997; Klckner 2005), one notably exception being depictions of mourning a deceased member of the family, as treated
by Claudia Merthen in this volume. In Etruria and early Italy,
nursing mothers, most of them divine, are somewhat more
prominent (Bonfante 1997), but not so in Rome. For Rome,
see the catalogue and the illustrations in Backe-Dahmen 2006:

44

See Susanna Fischer in this volume and Harlow Laurence


2002, 37.
45
46

Cf. Harlow Laurence 2002, 56.

See chapters by Peter Emberger and Kathrin Kleibl in this


volume. For the sake of convenience, sex here is understood

23

Susanne Moraw
phrase can also mean that the female lot is a burden for females
themselves and that the murderous father therefore did something good by sparing his daughter this burdensome fate.

as the biological sex, gender as the social one, though, of


course, things are a bit more complicated and our attribution
of either a female or a male sex to every new-born child is not
just natural, but the result of a discourse that cannot think but
in this binary opposition. Cf. Kerstin Hofmann in this volume
and e.g. Butler 1990, 91 f. 106110. Furthermore, it should be
kept in mind that for Judith Butler, sex is much more than X
or Y chromosomes, or anatomy. The disavowed homosexuality at the base of melancholic heterosexuality reemerges as the
self-evident anatomical facticity of sex, where sex designates
the blurred unity of anatomy, natural identity, and natural
desire. [...] The sexed surface of the body thus emerges as the
necessary sign of a natural(ized) identity and desire. The loss of
homosexuality is refused and the love sustained or encrypted in
the parts of the body itself, literalized in the ostensible anatomical facticity of sex. (Butler 1990, 71).

58

More rarely are the cases where marrying off a daughter


meant earning a bride price: see e. g. a Syrian Bronze Age marriage contract, cited by Budin 2011, 343.

62

Matthew 2. Herod was told by the Magi that there had been
born a new king of the Jews, i.e. Jesus. Fearing for his reign,
Herod ordered to kill all boys at the age of two and younger in
Bethlehem and its vicinity.

63

Livy, History of Rome 1,3,101,4,3. Note that Amulius


originally had not killed the legitimate kings daughter, Rhea
Silvia, because as a female she meant no direct threat to him. He
simply made her a Vestal, i.e. a perpetual virgin, thus preventing
her from having potentially dangerous male offspring.

48

Stearns 2011, 25.Was, as Stearns seems to imply, the situation for girls any better in the hunter-gatherer societies of the
Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Ages? As the latest, sensational
discoveries in Roufignac Cave, Dordogne suggest, Stone Age
girls exercised cave painting already at an very early age, by inger luting on the cave walls soft clay (see http://www.ksharpe.
com/word/AR107.htm). It can be assumed that they took part in
serious cave painting, too. The question of girls participation
in the stone tool industry is still open (but see Grimm 2000 on
the participation of children in general), as is the question of
their participation in hunting (but see Kstner 2012).

64

For the accordance between literary sources concerning


female beauty norms and the artistic rendering of nubile girls
see e.g. the analysis of tomb decoration in Ancient Egypt by
Manuella Wangert or the analysis of the so-called Lavinium
girls by Anne Weis.
65

Ovid, Metamorphoses 9,726727. Translation by Anthony S.


Kline. See chapter by Peter Emberger in this volume.
66

For heterosexuality being the norm in patriarchal societies


even today, see Lipkin 2009, 7682.
67

Rpke 2001, 42. Bobou, in this volume, uses the same distinction for Greek religion. For private religion in antiquity,
see now Bodel Oylan 2008. I am grateful to Gnther Schrner
for discussing this topic with me.

For Minoan Crete, see chapter by Stephanie Budin; for Sparta,


see Cecilia Nobili; for various examples from the Greek world,
see Olympia Bobou; for Latium and Rome, see Anne Weis.
49

68

I am indebted to Stephanie Budin and Ute Gnkel-Maschek


for discussing this topic with me.

Cooper 1996, 1117; for pudicitia, see Langlands 2006.

51

Ovid, Metamorphoses 9, 675679. Translation by Anthony S.


Kline. See chapter by Peter Emberger in this volume.

Aristophanes, Lysistrata 641647; translation by Ian Johnston. Cf. chapter by Olympia Bobou in this volume.
69

Vita Melaniae 5; cf. Petersen-Szemerdy 1993, 7475.


Another example is mentioned by Ortner 1999, 93 for Polynesian society. In this case, the childs mother is not too ascetic,
but too promiscuous: Given the pleasure, excitement, and freedom of adolescence, it is not surprising that young people seek
to perpetuate it as long as possible. [] Throughout the area
unmarried girls abort, kill, or give away babies in adoption on
the explicit motive of prolonging the girls youth and freedom.

52

70

According to Ulrike Roth (communication by email), research


on the economic importance of girls in antiquity still remains a
desideratum.
71

See especially the chapters by Koch, Vogel, Ruchle,


DAmbra and Griesbach, Gutsmiedl-Schhmann.
72

See chapters by Buden, Gnkel-Maschek and Nobili in this


volume.

Plutarch, Isis and Osiris 14 (= Moralia 356 F). Cf. chapter by


Kathrin Kleibl in this volume. The story, however, had a relative happy ending, because Isis went to ind and raise the child,
Anubis, as her dog-like guardian and attendant. The exposure of
an illegitimate child is a current theme in Greek drama, see e.g.
Euripides, Ion; Menander, Epitrepontes; etc.

73

53

Cf. the chapter by Kerstin Hofmann in this volume, referring


to skeletal deformations as a result of extremely hard work; cf.
also the analysis of written records concerning lethal accidents
of children (almost all of them boys) in Greece and Rome: Laes
2004.
See for Rome: Rawson 2003, 194; Kampen 1981. For girls
and boys going to school together (and falling in love with each
other), see the story of Iphis (Peter Emberger in this volume):
Ovid, Metamorphoses 9, 718719: par aetas, par forma fuit,
primasque magistris / accepere artes, elementa aetatis, ab
isdem. The two were equal in age, and equal in looks, and had
received their irst instruction, in the knowledge of life, from
74

54

Law of the Twelve Tables, Iv 1: Cito necatus insignis ad deformitatem puer esto. Cf. Backe-Dahmen 2006, 5859.
Backe-Dahmen 2006, 59.

56

See Homer, Iliad and Sophocles, Oedipus the King.

Faerman et al. 2008.

An economic reason, the selective killing of new born boys in


the context of prostitution, has been discussed above.

For the question whether patriarchy, or the secondary status


of women, is a universal fact, see Ortner 1999, esp. 2142 and
173180.

55

For details see below, the paragraph on economy.

60
61

47

50

59

57

Ovid, Metamorphoses 9,676: onerosior altera sors est, literally more burdensome is the other (i.e. the female) lot. This

24

Introduction
Crawford Shepherd 2007
Sally Crawford Gillian Shepherd (eds.), Children, Childhood
and Society. BAR International Series 1696 (Oxford 2007)

the same teachers. Translation by Anthony S. Kline. The story


takes place in Crete, but the setting is nonetheless totally Roman. For Roman co-education, see Rawson 2003, 198.
75

See, e.g., Barber 1991.

Derevenski 2000
Joanna Sofaer Derevenski (ed.), Children and Material Culture
(London New York 2000)

76

Cf. the models provided by Ulrike Roth: Roth 2007 and authors abstract of her conference paper in this volume.
77

See e.g. Faraone- McClure 2006 or Ulz Fischer 2010.

78

Cf. note no. 60.

Dommasnes Wrigglesworth 2008


Liv Helga Dommasnes Melanie Wrigglesworth (eds.), Children, Identity, and the Past (Newcastle 2008)
DuBois 1995
Page DuBois, Sappho Is Burning (Chicago 1995)

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26

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