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Global History Center’s Lecture: ancient Greek mythology and the women

  On the afternoon of May 9th, Prof. Yi Zhaoyin of Shanghai Normal University gave a lecture on ancient Greek mythology and the women in the meeting room of the School of History. Prof. Liu Wenming hosted the lecture and other students of GHC also participated.

  At the beginning, Prof. Yi briefly introduced ancient Greek mythology to the audience. Then she turned to her main discussion of the goddess, women, female warrior and the female consciousness accordingly. In Prof. Yis view, there are two types of the image of goddess concerning chastity, namely virgin and mother. Athena, Artemis and Hestia are virgins, and Hera, Aphrodite, Demeter are mothers. Athena is the symbol of power and witness, her conflict with Poseidon represents her succeeded in get the right of election of Greek women. As the goddess of hunting, Artemis gradually became the goddess of birth. Hestia is the goddess of kitchen, which represents the unmarried. Hera is the most famous goddess, she annually turned to a virgin, which indicates a symbol of marriage. At the same, she also represents a terrible mother, which can be seen as the confirmation of males domination. As the god of beauty, Aphrodites image demonstrates Greek prospective of love and sexuality: women are attractive but dangerous.  As a whole, the image of Greek goddess shows that the women are powerful only before they become mothers, marriage and independence are incompatible.

  The most typical image of Greek women is Pandora. Description of women being belittled from Hesiod. Prof. Yi took Amazon female warriors as representative of Greek female warriors. The female warriors of Amazon represent both the female and the aliens. By stressing on the image of aliens, Greek mythology warned women to hold off. In conclusion, all of these images indicate the gender situation and gender role of ancient Greek.

  The lecture was attractive and interesting. Several students raised questions and Prof. Yi Zhaoyin replied with details. With the audiences applause, the lecture ended with reflection.