Presentation on Priestesses

Classical Athenian Priestesses
By Grace Hammett
Which do you think is an Athenian
Priestess and why?
• In pairs discuss which image you believe is of a
priestess and why.
• We will also discuss your expectations of the
roles of a priestess and their involvement in
Image A:
Image B:
Guess the object…
Role of the priestess in Panathenaic
Place tasks in order:
The arrephoroi start
weaving the peplos.
Priestesses of Athena
finish weaving the
Kanephoroi also required
to carry the peplos to
present at Athena’s Altar.
During the procession,
these females mingled
freely with the noble
Athenians men that
participated in the
Priestess of Athena draps
the finished peplos over
the statue of Athena at
the end of the procession
Two young girls from
noble families were
chosen by the Archon
Basileus as arrephoroi.
The arrephoroi live with
the priestesses of Athena
for a period of time
before the procession.
During the Procession
through the streets of
Athens, the peplos was
draped ceremonially like
the sail of a ship over a
cart on wheels.
Young virgins of noble
blood known as
kanephoroi carried
sacred baskets and
brought the sacrificial
animals that were to be
presented to Athena.
Competition time:
• Athena Nike vs Athena Polias.
Please include:
• What is the name of your cult?
• How are priestesses chosen?
• What evidence survives today about your
• What festivals can I become involved in?
• Why you think I should join?
• Where is your temple located within the
Source Comparison:
• Who, What, Where, Why and When.
• Think about who produced it?
• Why was it produced?
• When was it produced?
Ancient Source:
• In 508 BC Herodotus (Histories 5.72.3)
describes a scene in which a priestess of
Athena ejects the Spartan King Cleomenes
from the acropolis.
• What does this tell us about the influence of a
• How are they seen in society?
• Would it have been different if it was another
Grave Relief:
Ancient Sources:
Herodotus. The Histories. Trans. Alfred Godley.
(last accessed 15th January).
Pliny the Elder. The Natural History. Trans. John Bostock. (last
accessed 15th January).
Secondary Sources:
Blundell, S. 1995. Women in Ancient Greece. London: British Museum Press.
Boedeker, D. 2007. Athenian religion in the age of Pericles. In L.J. Samons II (ed.) Cambridge Companion to the Age of Pericles, 46-69. Cambridge: CUP.
Cantarella, E. 1987. Pandora’s Daughters: the role and status of women in Greek and Roman antiquity. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Connelly, J. B. 2007. Portrait of a Priestess: Women and ritual in Ancient Greece. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Dillon, M. 2002. Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion. London: Routledge.
Humphreys, S. 1993. The Family, Women and Death. Comparative studies. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press.
Jordan, B. 1979. Servants of the Gods: A Study in the Religion, History and Literature of Fifth-century Athens. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co KG.
Just, R. 1989. Women in Athenian Life and Law. London: Routledge
Keesling, C. 2012. Syeris, Diokonos of the Priestess Lysimache on the Athenian Acropolis (IG II2 3464). Hesperia 81.3: 476-505.
Lee, M. 2005. Constru(ct)ing Gender in the Feminine Greek Peplos. In L Cleland et al. (eds). The Clothed Body in the Ancient World. Oxford: Oxbow.
Lougovaya-Ast, J. 2006. Myrrhine, the First Priestess of Athena Nike. Phoenix. 60 (3/4): 211-225.
Osborne, R. 1993. Women and Sacrifice in Classical Greece. The Classical Quarterly. 43(2): 392-405.
Patterson, C. 2007. Other sorts: Slaves, foreigners and women in Periclean Athens. In L.J. Samons II (ed.) Cambridge Companion to the Age of Pericles, 153-178. Cambridge: CUP.
Pomeroy, S. 1995. Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves. New York: Schocken Books.

similar documents