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Alterity in Homer: A reconceptualization of female marginalization.

ABSTRACT. This article explores female alterity in the Iliad and the Odyssey in an attempt to show how women's marginalization is already present in these early works, which have had such a lasting influence on Western literature and thought. First, I analyze how men treat aristocratic women, who are systematically excluded from war and speech despite their idealization as heroines. Then, I focus on women who fall into the category of slaves or concubines to illustrate women's absolute objectification and to demonstrate how the violence of this exclusion structures women's experiences. Through an interdisciplinary framework, I study Greek antiquity through combining contemporary alterity studies with literary analysis. I argue that Western society has been structured in a patriarchal and androcentric way since its beginning. Thus, my objective is to suggest, through the lens of the philosophy of alterity, how we might reach a more ethical consideration of the Other in the study of classic literature.

Keywords: Homer; epic poetry; female alterity; patriarchy

1. Introduction

Is patriarchy a modern issue? Some scholars of Greek Antiquity (1) have tended to romanticize gender relations or avoid calling the society depicted in Homeric poems (2) a patriarchal (3) and androcentric one. Among the justifications for doing so are usually, first, a quite positive vision of women's role in the poems and, second, a concern about falling into anachronism. In her text "Eloge de l'anachronisme en histoire," (4) Nicole Loraux advocates for accepting the risk of the anachronism, since "the anachronism is imposed from the very moment in which present time is the most efficient engine of the drive to understand" (p. 175, my translation). Loraux says that we must "get close to the past with current times' questions, in order to come back to an enriched present with what we understood from the past" (my translation). I could not agree with her more. In analyzing the relationships between men and women as depicted in Homeric poems, I cannot help recognizing in them an incipient form of what we understand today as a patriarchal society.

The persistence of patriarchy throughout Western history hinges precisely on the fact that women are viewed as Others. In this sense, the presence of the formulaic expression "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]" in the Odyssey is quite significant. In Greek, there is a difference between [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "other, another" and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "the other" (speaking of two people or things). The suffix contains the Indoeuropean form *ter, which is also found in the Latin word "alter." It is a contrastive suffix which shows an opposition or difference; moreover, in Classical Period it was used to build the comparative grade in adjectives (Chantraine, p. 75). (5) This suffix appears in the adjective [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "female, woman." According to Chantraine, this adjective "describes the feminine class as different, especially in the formulaic expression [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]." Chantraine maintains that in sentences where [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] appears it is normally opposed with a masculine form, which does not require the suffix because it does not need to be marked. As Martin points out, (6) formulaic expressions in epic poetry are the oldest remains of epic language. Therefore, the fact that the only two times that the aforementioned expression appears in the poem as a formula is a reflection of its antiquity (Od. 11.386 & Od. 23.166). Thus, this expression illustrates the idea of women as Others is embedded in the language and thought since the very beginning of Western history.

Being Achaean, male, and belonging to an aristocratic family (7) defined the dominant collective identity in Homeric society, and all of these characteristics are acquired at birth. The members of this dominant group have the exclusive capacity of taking an active part in the communities. Such roles determined the structure of society, because men negotiated and managed power through war and politics (assembly). From this archetypal definition of the dominant identity, we can negatively construe alterity. The construction of alterity ultimately has social and political dimensions, and it is structured around the laws of identity and non-contradiction: "A is A and not ~A." Group membership criteria is defined by the community, so what is perceived or considered common is part of it (i.e., A), and what is different stays out, not A (the alterity). This delimitation has political consequences in the sense that the organization of societies is built normatively, depending on subjects that form the dominant identity. My understanding of what alterity means is mainly influenced by the philosophy of E. Levinas, (8) J. Butler, G. B. Reguera. In this sense, the Other that I shall study in this paper is the Other (women) as a whole, not the female alterity as individuals. (9) Namely, I shall not study Penelope or Helen to seek whether they represent alterity or not.

In this paper, I aim to show that the marginalized and subordinated role that women play in Western societies dates back to the first two complete books of Western literature, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Upon analyzing the poems as fruit of the orality, (10) and container of its remembrances, it is possible to understand the power that epic poetry had in the minds of the people, and the role that it played as educator of several generations of Greeks (as Havelock (11) points out). Through understanding the social role that the Homeric poems played in Greek Antiquity, we can see how the poems depict hierarchical relations, the functioning of hierarchies where one group dominates above others, a system that has been passed down through history.

Relationships between men and women in the world depicted by Homer occur in what Bordieu calls "social spaces." (12) Analyzing women within the social group they are a part of allows for a better understanding of the situation and position each group holds. First, I shall analyze female members of the aristocratic class. Secondly, I analyze those who are slaves or concubines. If we use the traditional distinction dividing the social sphere between public and private space, the roles played by female characters in the world depicted in the poems exist only in the private realm. (13) While the activities of the Homeric men are developed outside the private sphere, women are closely linked to domesticity. Additionally, in the world depicted in the poems, collective identity is rooted in participation in assembly and war. Because women are excluded from both these spaces, they exist outside of the place where identity is articulated.

2. Alterity and Women in Homer

Thus, women depicted in Homeric poems are limited to oikos (household), the private domain and, within it, their roles are also limited: in the case of women who are part of an aristocratic family, they are recognized as mother/wife (and before that, daughter), and if not, they are likely a concubine/slave. There is only a single case in the Iliad (14) in which a woman is mentioned, not an Achaean but a Trojan one, Theano, who holds a public function: she is Athena's priestess in Troy. Kirk (15) understands this datum as an innovation, since Theano is the only priestess mentioned in the poems. According to him, choosing a woman who is not the wife of the king could be due to an introduction of later customary elements. She is chosen by the Trojans to execute that prestigious job (Il. 6.300) but we should not mis-understand her position; it is not an exclusive job, and her main occupation, as every woman, is to run the household. Theano is a matron, a Trojan woman, wife of Antenor (Priam's adviser), and she must deal with the domestic issues, as is confirmed in Il. 5.70, where is said that Theano had to raise her own children and the bastard of her husband. (16)

The poems reveal a general tendency of referring to women through the males they are related to. This is clearly viewed in Book 11 of the Odyssey, when Odysseus tells his encounters in the Underworld with fourteen "wives and daughter of princes" (Od. 11.227). In this scene, women are defined by being "daughter of," "wife of or "mother of a noble man. (17) Women introduce themselves to Odysseus telling their lineage (Od. 11.233-234), which is featured by the figure of the man of the house (either the oikos of their husbands or their fathers). (18) But also in the episodes where the poet is speaking about (living) women, Homer refers to their father first, and to their husband later to define women as social beings. Such an example is founded in the Iliad, where Trojan females are referred as "the wives of the Trojans and their daughters" (Il. 6.238), or just as "the wives of the Trojans" (Il. 7.80). It seems that woman is never seen as an individual, (19) but she is identified a daughter, a mother or a wife of a noble man; she receives her social self from external factors, in a passive way. While women do not have the individual capacity to change society, women do have the active capacity of causing dishonor or shame to their own family, as shown by the cases of Epikaste and Eriphyle (Od. 11.272-273 & 327).

Redfield echoes this duality in the vision of females and, borrowing Levi-Strauss' terms (20) of "diatonic" and "chromatic," maintains that "men are diatonic, women chromatic. This chromaticism is a disordering power; therefore (as in tragedy) women are often to blame when things go wrong, or are what things go wrong about. On the other hand, this chromaticism is also an ordering power, particularly in the complex, modulated order which is a successful marriage." (21) Another possible explanation of this double, sometimes even contradictory, view of women as passive or active agents is that of Bergren who points out that "Women are like words, they are 'metaphorical words,' but they are also original sources of speech, speakers themselves. They are both passive objects and active agents of linguistic exchange [...]. In this relation to the linguistic and the social system, the women [...] [are] paradoxically both secondary and original, both passive and active, both a silent and a speaking sign" (22) (her emphasis).

In addition, Homeric women tend to show a code of conduct that responds to masculine principles. (23) Thus, Nausikaa says: "I myself would disapprove of a girl who acted/so, that is, without the good will of her dear father/and mother making friends with a man, before being formally/married" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Od. 6.286-289). Also Helene refuses to share the bed with Paris, being afraid of the censure of all Trojan women (Il. 3.410-412). Another woman who shows this kind of fear is Penelope, (24) when she admits fearing negative comments from the women of her community if they learnt that Penelope would not make a shroud for her father-in-law, Laertes (Od. 2.101-103; Od. 19.144-146 & Od. 24.138-136). Women internalize male notions about themselves, and tend to subscribe to the dominant, male view of things. Furthermore, Telemachus, in Od. 16.73-76, says that his mother "ponders two ways/whether to remain here with me, and look after the household,/keep faith with her husband's bed, and regard the voice of the people/or go away at last with the best man of the Achaians." Zeitlin has made an interesting analysis of the sentence "to stay in place by one's child and keep everything safe" (Od. 11.178; 16.74-77 & 19.525-527). According to her, this sentence expresses the marital fidelity in Homer, since "there are no precise terms in Homer either for sexual adultery or for marital fidelity. [...] In traditional diction, terms for adultery and fidelity focus on the state of the marital bed, defined between the two poles of 'shaming' (aischunein, 8.269) or 'respecting' (aidomene) its sacrosanct qualities. Yet marital fidelity assumes still another dimension, expressed in the phrase, 'to stay in place by one's child and keep everything safe'." (25) Zeitlin's reference to the lack of terms for "adultery" and "fidelity" connects back to Benveniste's analysis of moral terms in Homer. Benveniste (26) points out that the vocabulary related to moral concepts has not an individual sense yet, but rather it refers to social values. If we agree to Benveniste's analysis, it might be more appropriate to link fidelity to the sentence "keep faith with her husband's bed, and regard the voice of the people" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) instead of "to stay in place by one's child and keep everything safe" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), as Zeitling does. The first sentence shows perfectly the connection between moral realm of fidelity (individuality) and normative behavior (social value), for it refers, ultimately, to the opinion of the others. (27)

In Homeric society, the role of a daughter is to become (and the sooner, the better) a wife and a mother. The poet presents Nausikaa as the model of single, noble and virgin lady. When a daughter reaches the age of marriage, marriage becomes urgent, as Book 6 of the Odyssey shows: Athena is disguised as Nausikaa's friend who accuses her of negligence (Od. 6.25), since she is not at the loom, weaving her future wedding dress, a wedding that, according to the goddess, is imminent. A single daughter, when she reaches an appropriate age, must prepare to play her wifely role in society that of becoming a wife. Therefore, she must be ready for the wedding's arrangements: a careless woman who is not concerned about these kinds of issues would bring shame to her father, as townsfolk would criticize her (and her behavior), and, by extension, her entire family. On the other hand, a parthenos who shows interest in domestic affairs is admired by her community, since "It is from such things that a good reputation among people/springs up, giving pleasure to your father and the lady your mother" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Od. 6.29-30).

Preparing her wedding is not the only task of a single daughter, she must also help in the housework. Thus, when Nausikaa borrows a carriage from her father in order to go to the river to wash some clothes, she refers to her duty to keep clean the clothes of the male members of her family (Od. 6.60-65). Furthermore, a lady must keep up appearances; she cannot be seen accompanied by a man who is not a family member, since that would disgrace her and her family. In Book 6, when Nausikaa advises Odysseus to ask for hospitality at her father's house, but she warns him that, before arriving in town, he must separate from her and her maid servants, in order to avoid the distrain ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) of the Phaiakian people {Od. 6.273). On Scheria Island, Odysseus appears only once accompanying a lone female (Od. 7.19-25 & 37-38), and it is not with a woman but with a young girl. It seems that girls, before reaching the nubile age, are immune to rumors of people. Although Homer insists that Odysseus does not walk by her, but he follows her a few steps behind.

As told, when a young lady reaches the nubile age, her father must find a husband for her as soon as possible. It has been maintained that in an earlier version of the poem, Odysseus may have been a suitor of Nausikaa. (28) Nevertheless, in today's version of the poem Alkinoo does offer her daughter to the stranger (Od. 7.311-315), and, since the king gives his daughter with gifts, we can infer that it is not because of a pecuniary necessity. It seems that his offer has to do with fearing the rumors of the people, namely it has to do with what Dodds called "shame-culture" referring to Homeric society, (29) as opposed to a later "guilt-culture." (30) As mentioned before, in the world depicted by Homer, the opinion of townsfolk is so valuable that, in most occasions, it is what controls the normative behavior of the others. So, an extension of the single status of a daughter would bring, inevitably, the dismay of the people about why that happens. Besides, it looks like only a (lawfully) married women might receive honors from a familial level as well as a social level. For instance, this is said of Arete: "Alkinoos made her his wife, and gave her/such pride of place as no other woman on earth is given/of such women as are now alive and keep house for husbands./So she was held high in the heart and still she is so,/by her beloved children, by Alkinoos himself, and by/the people, who look toward her as to a god when they see her,/and speak in salutation as she walks about in her city" (Od. 7.66-72). From these verses we could infer that a woman is honored because of her husband, and she rules her house, but not even in this private space is she completely free and autonomous. She rules under the law of her husband (Od. 7.68). I shall analyze Arete's role in her community below.

The vocabulary that involves the main kind of relationship among men and women-the marriage-is not neutral but asymmetrical, and this asymmetry is one of the features that allows us to talk about women as alterity in the Homeric poems. Women do not appear as free agents; rather they are subordinate to others' capacity for action.

Aristotle (31) maintained "there is no word in our language which exactly describes the union of husband and wife" (32) ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Arist., Polit., I, 3, 1253b). As an abstract concept "marriage, namely, a noun which named the fact that a man and a woman had an exclusive, lawfully and socially recognized union. Indeed, there is no noun that name in either the Odyssey or the Iliad. Although there is no single word for marriage many unions are described, there is an array of arrangements that link a woman to a man.

For the celebration, for the wedding-feast, Greek language did have a word to name it, that it already existed in Homeric epic: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (33) As Benveniste puts it (IE, p. 193), Greek language comes from the Indo-European, and, according to him, there was no term in Indo-European to refer to "marriage." There were, indeed, words to name the act of being wed; however, (and this is pretty interesting) the category of these terms change depending on whom they refer to, whether a man or a woman. Indo-European language uses verbs to refer to the wedding of a man, but nouns in reference to a woman. When it is the groom who is going to marry, Indo-European language has the verbal root word *wedh-, "to conduct," and, specially, "to bring/conduct a woman at home." On the other hand, if the father of the bride is who acts as subject of the act, the verb that used was "to give"; thus, in Greek there are the verbs [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (34) Other verbs which also refer to the act of wedding someone, as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], show the particularity (that is kept in later Greek language) that they are used in active voice with regards to a male, (35) but in middle-passive voice in relation with a female (cf, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: Od. 1.275, Od. 2.113, etc., and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: Il. 8.304, etc.). The same happens with the verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (36) "to have," which is use in active voice in the sense of "to have a wife" (cf, for instance, Il. 3.123, 336, Il. 11.740, Il. 13.173, 697, Od. 7.313, Od. 11.70, etc.), and in middle-passive voice in the sense of "to be had as wife" (Il. 6.398). This shows that in the marriage the male is viewed as an agent who does the action in a voluntary and conscious way, unlike female who are understood as a passive object on which the action falls. (37)

Language is not neutral, according to Hartog: (38) "Ever since the narrative of Genesis it has been clear that naming involves a degree of mastery. By naming God's creatures, Adam proclaims his preeminence over them. [...] Giving names or knowing names thus implies a measure of power. A name is always more than the mere sound of it." The philosopher Judith Butler holds something similar when she says that language prescribes not describes. It has an effect on the society. (39) The same opinion is shared by Martin, who, in the aforementioned analysis of muthos in Homer, redefines the word muthos as an "authoritative speech-act" (LH) (40) With regard to the function of language, I would add that there is a double movement in the relationship between language and society. (41) I strongly agree with Butler's and Martin's interpretation, and I do believe that language has an effect on society. I also believe that language is a token that allows us to understand different societies: the lack of a term to name something may be an indicator of the lack of the very concept in a particular society. (42)

At the beginning of this paper, I maintained that one of the features of a patriarchal society is that women have no say regarding their marriage, and, besides, they work as a tool for the sake of male alliances. This very same characteristic will be also a feature of women's alterity, so the following step is to view how Homer depicts the marriage institution itself: this would be quite enlightening for the analysis. According to Lacey, "In Homer, the state of marriage was the state of living openly with a woman and calling her your wife, installing her as the mistress of your oikos and acknowledging her children as your heirs." (43) In the epic world, there are multiple kinds of marriage models, (44) sometimes intermingled, but there are two that appear clearly differentiated: the marriage with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and without it.

Marriage with hedna is mentioned most often in the society pictured in the poems: (45) the groom-to-be gives the bride's father (or whoever be the bride's kurios) several gifts ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or bridewealth), (46) and the woman becomes a part of the groom's oikos. Hence the inheritance, the transfer of power, and the status is kept in the home of the groom's father. As Vidal Naquet has pointed out, (47) the marriage with hedna has been customarily identified with the selling of the bride, where the woman is seen as an item with a particular economic/material value. Yet Finley maintains that the hedna cannot be understood as a simple price to pay for the woman, nor is the wedding like the purchasing of the bride. To justify his reading, Finley says that the activity of trading in the society depicted in the poems is almost non-existent. There are very few episodes where the poet mentions buying anything except slaves. (48) According to him, we should speak in terms of exchanging of goods, instead of selling and buying. (49) Consequently, we should interpret the marriage with hedna as a kind of exchange. Vernant has the same opinion as Finley, and he points out that the hedna should not be seen as a price to pay for the woman, but as the material token of an alliance between two families. In the Archaic aristocratic social world, the establishment of these sorts of bonds had a vital importance, since they resulted in gaining political and economic allies, which could provide or demand aid in critical situations. In the poems, there are two ways of obtaining this compromise: through marriage and through guest-friendship. Due to the lack of written laws that legitimated this bidirectional agreement, the tie became visible through a gift exchange. (50) Women were a part of this gift and counter-gift activities, as Finley named it. (51) Gifts were external tokens of the political alliance reached (TWO, p. 64): when both families come to an agreement, the hedna was the first token of the deal; the second part, the counter gift, was the wife-to-be. As Vernant puts it (52) (M&S, p. 60), women were a valuable good that, depending on their lineage, would give prestige to the oikos into which they would integrate, and they would provide important allies as well. That is why the more valuable the bride was, the more the hedna that the suitors would offer in exchange.

The second kind of marriage that appears in epic poetry is that in which the father of the wife-to-be provides his daughter with goods, and the future husband integrates into his wife's oikos. Despite the fact that the groom is exempted from giving hedna, sometimes, before marrying, he has to do a deed for the benefit of his future father-in-law. (53) If the wife does not have brothers, the inheritance would go to her husband and their children; but if she has brothers, her husband would have a subordinate position in relation to the head of the family. One of the most famous examples of this kind of marriage is that of Bellerophontes, (54) to whom the king of Lykia gave his daughter and the half part of his kingdom (while still alive. Il. 6.192-195), by asking Bellerophontes for prowess and support to the king (Il. 6.180-189). (55)

In addition to the marriage with and without hedna that I have just analyzed, there are in the poems some mixed cases: parents who provide their daughter, who, regardless, moves to her in-laws'. It has been maintained that the very convention of Homer's diction has something to do with this blending: the poet would use formulas that stress the richly dowered ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (56)) of the wife in order to magnify the value of the women.

I have mentioned that women's social exclusion is already implicit within the vocabulary used to refer to marriage and the terms related to it. Language is a human construct which, in a more or less subtle way, reflects social structures. In this respect, I do not agree with some readings of Homeric view of women as being more positive than the later Greek literature. When speaking about marriage in the poems, Madrid (57) maintains that "relationships between husband and wife are founded in mutual respect and harmony" (my translation). A very similar point of view about the marriage is maintained by Arthur: "the famous romanticization of Penelope's relationship with Odysseus stands out as a striking example of that mutual respect and affection which characterized the Homeric ideal marriage" ("OGA," p. 15).

It should be added that marriage is based on woman's respect towards man, and not the other way around. (58) In the case of Penelope, I cannot see any kind of symmetric or mutual respect, as Penelope is still linked to the domestic side of the social sphere, where her fidelity towards Odysseus is considered her best feature in the Homeric idealization of women. (59) It could be true, as Madrid and Arthur have suggested, that in Homeric epic there is not the misogynistic vision of women that appears later in Greek literature. According to Arthur: "The Homeric poet focuses almost exclusively on the positive side of the position of women; it emphasizes women's inclusion in society as a whole, rather than her exclusion from certain roles; it celebrates the importance of the functions that women do perform, instead of drawing attention to their handicaps or inabilities" ("OGA," pp. 13-14). (60) Just because later Greek literature is more explicitly misogynist does not diminish the fact that societies depicted in Homeric poems are founded in exclusionary violence, Homer still shows a patriarchal society where women are marginalized. Our analysis of the function of women in epic cannot depend on a false logic that ignores that Homeric poems represent the beginning of misogynistic attitudes towards women still present in Western culture.

Moving forward, sometimes in the world depicted by Homer a man lives with his legal wife but also with a slave concubine, with whom he may have even offspring. In these circumstances, there are at least three possible reactions of the wife to it.

Firstly, the legal wife has no option but to accept the situation impose on her by her husband. Nonetheless, it may result in domestic conflicts. The story of Phoinix provides an example (Il. 9.448-456). Phoinix, at the request of his mother, sleeps with his father's slave concubine, an action which is in disastrous for the hero, as he has to leave his hometown in order to avoid his father's punishment when the latter learn the betrayal. It seems that in a situation like this the wife does not approve the state of affairs, and she tries to put an end through her son, who, at the same time, understands that his father, by having a concubine, is, in any way, rejecting his mother. Homer does not state anything about what happened with the concubine when Phoinix leaves the house, but it seems that her mother did not obtain the goal of forcing her husband to reject the concubine when he learns that the woman slept with his own son, and not his son, as it happened indeed.

A second kind of situation is shown the Odyssey, when Laertes refuses to take Euryclea as a concubine in order to not annoy his wife (Od. 1.428-433). This episode is a clear token that a husband is pretty aware of the fact that by having a concubine he may hurt his wife's feelings (also, remember how Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon and his concubine).

Much more permissive than Phoinix's mother is the Trojan woman Teano, Antenor's spouse. Her instance serves us to analysis the third kind of reaction to share a life with a concubine. Homer says that she looked after and raised her husband's illegitimate son like "for her own children, to pleasure her husband" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Il. 5.71).

In general, it seems that the fact that a married man has a concubine, despite it not being strange, is on the edge of the socially bearable, and sometimes it causes domestic troubles. However, a concubine could be the mother of the legitimate offspring of aristocratic men, as it is shown in Book 4 of the Odyssey with Menelaus' son. Arthur maintains ("OGA," p. 12) that in the Homeric epics there are the mixture of two kinds of warrior codes-the traditional heroic code, and the new code that gives rise the pre-polis society-which have consequences in the consideration of the women. She considers that in the new code the role of the concubine almost disappears and "the wife is upgraded," that is why, according to her, in the poems we find these responses against having a concubine. Another scholar who also maintains that the poems show two different ideologies is Rose, although in a bit divergent way. (61) In reference to women status, Rose has put it that the Iliad shows far more sympathy for women like Helen, Andromache, and Briseis, for example, that the fear and ambivalence characterizing the Odyssey (CAG, p. 143). Nevertheless, since the position of women in the epic is not an essential part of his thesis, he does not go deep about it. (62)

There are actually no examples of women having an affair with a slave or a commoner, but it seems that this relationship would not be either allowed or acceptable. As evidence of this, it is worth looking at Kalypso's speech when she complains to Hermes. She claims that the male gods are committing an injustice towards the goddesses, when they prevent goddesses from taking mortals as lovers (when the other way around is allowed and even common, see for instance Od. 11.240-268, Il. 14.317-324). If we take into account that in the Homeric epic, the divine world is completely anthropomorphize, it seems plausible to read this episode as mirroring the social rules of the human world. While it was completely socially acceptable that noble men maintain sexual relationships with slaves or lower class females, it was socially unacceptable for noble female; and their families would punish such action in the same way the lovers of the goddesses are punished in the Odyssey (see Od. 5.120-129). Kalypso protests against such an inequality, something that could be accepted because she is a goddess (besides she is not married), and she has her own life outside Olympus. In other words, her habits would not affect the daily life of the divine home.

Female fidelity seems to be an unquestionable condition for noble women, and when that it is not the case, terrible consequences happen (remember, for instance, Helen and Clytemnestra's cases). However, as Lefkowitz maintains, for men things were different: Penelope "does not demand strict fidelity; neither she nor Helen object to their husbands' liaisons with other women, so long as they are temporary; Odysseus tells Penelope about Circe and Calypso; Menelaus is able jointly to celebrate the marriage of Hermione, his daughter by Helen, and of Megapenthes, his son by a slave woman" ("WH," p. 34).

Whereas the activities of Homeric males (mainly, assembly and war) happen out of private space, those of the females are closely linked to the domestic realm. A married woman is the keeper of her husband's oikos, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of the servants and slaves. She is in charge of the smooth working of the household, the observance of the rules, and the following of her husband's will.

There are several episodes where we see the exclusion of women from warfare and assembly. Women's exclusion from warfare is found in Hector's speech to his wife; in Book 6 of the Iliad, he commands her: "Go therefore back to our house, and take up your own work,/the loom and the distaff, and see to it that your handmaidens/ply their work also; but the men must see to the fighting,/all men who are the people of Ilion, but I beyond others" (Il. 6.490-493).

An example of the second exclusion is found in the words that Telemachus addresses to his mother. He specifies where women must be contained: loom, spinning and being quiet. Speech is for males: "the men must see to discussion,/all men, but I most of all. For mine is the power in this household" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Od. 1.358-359). (63) Redfield makes a very interesting reading of both episodes. According to him, both show a normative attitude towards women. Female space falls into domesticity, where the primary task is weaving. (64) In these episodes weaving is opposed with the man's sphere: with war (in the Iliad) and with speech (in the Odyssey), "in both cases, the man intends to confine the women to a lesser world" ("NGW," p. 195).

This raises the question about the power of women in epic: do women have any kind of power over males in Homeric poems? Answering this question is, in part, answering the question about the reason for men's attitude toward women. I would like to quote Walcot, (65) who wonders about the attitude of Athenians towards women: "why the Athenians were so mistrustful of women, why they were so suspicious, bothered, and edgy, and why they were always prepared to think the very worst of any women. Was it because the Athenian male thought women weak and feeble and so held them in contempt? Or was it because he found women to be strong and effective and so regarded them with fear?" and she concludes, "it is because of the immense power that the female wields through her sexuality." Even though her analysis is focused on the Classic Period, as she herself admits, the beginning of this issue is found in Homeric epic. I do agree with that affirmation. As I have already mentioned, the thesis that I am trying to show in this paper is that Western patriarchal culture and, consequently, Western attitudes towards women are already shown in Homeric poems.

Male control over female sexuality has been a commonplace within Western (and not only Western) societies, (66) part of the dynamic of this control is already found in both poems. For example, two practices that we see in the poems (67) -arranging the daughter's marriage as soon as she reaches her puberty (when the problem of her sexuality is firstly shown) and female seclusion within the oikos ("GAW," pp. 37-38)-are two patriarchal, institutional, and structural practices to control women's sexuality. But why that concern with female sexuality? Why such worry about controlling it? I argue that this is due to the fear of the unknown, (68) the fear of the Other. The male's necessity of heirs and women's power to create life place women in a privileged position, but it is a position outside (at least in the beginning) male sphere, and therefore, it belongs to the unknown realm. The control over the unknown has been a tenet of Western thought: during almost the whole of Western History, the unknown has been controlled, and its alterity has been controlled, either by dominating it or by killing it. (69) The consequences of a powerful and uncontrolled female sexuality are featured in the Odyssey, through the characters of Kalypso and Kirke. As Karakantza shows in her great analysis of these episodes, (70) both divinities must be understood as a sign of the dangers (according to Ancient Greek thought) that a man may suffer if the sexuality of a (powerful) women is not controlled. One of them is represented in these episodes: the fear of being turned into a sexual slave. As Walcot has put it, "the Greeks believed women to be incapable of not exercising their sexual charms and that the results were catastrophic" ("GAW," p. 39).

Another feature that allows us to categorize women as alterity is their role within society: women are excluded from public life and limited to household. Regarding the role played by women in the poems, there are some episodes that may be misunderstood, making us think that women could play a role more important than that of their husbands. Thus, for instance, is the case of the episode in the Escheria Island, when Nausikaa advises Odysseus to go to the palace in order to ask for help, but he must go past his father, and beg at Arete's knees (Od. 6.310-315). Hainsworth (71) reads this episode as a symbol of Archaic manners (and not as a residue of any matriarchal society): if the lady is there, you must show your respect to her first. However, it seems that there is a contradiction in the role played by the queen. (72) On the one hand, Odysseus is told to address her first to ask for help but, on the other, as Wohl has pointed out, the powerlessness of Arete towards Odysseus' situation is unexpected: "It is Alcinoos and not Arete, who offers the stranger xenia. Arete does not speak for over 100 lines. Then at 7.237 she speaks a muthos, asking Odysseus who he is and where he got his clothes [...]. Odysseus does not answer her directly, but at the end of his long digression about Calypso, Alcinoos brings the subject back to Nausicaa, offering her to Odysseus in marriage. So twice in this scene Arete's unspoken authority forms a silent focus around which the action occurs, but she herself exerts no direct influence." (73)

Wohl understands Arete's role in relation to Martin's theory of muthos as a speech-act; (74) Arete's implied acceptance of Odysseus at 7.153 and her muthos at 7.237 should be understood as a speech-act "then hers is the speech (or silence at 153), and her husband's the act" ("SS," p. 30). Nevertheless, from my point of view, to understand the social role played by the queen, it is important to remember the words that Athena says about Arete, who Alcinoos "made his wife, and gave her/such pride of place as no other woman on earth is given/of such women as are now alive and keep house for husbands" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Od. 7.68). As Arthur points out, from this sentence at 7.68, "it is fairly clear that her (Arete) participation in the life of Phaeacia is based upon her husband's willingness to share authority: although Odysseus supplicates Arete, it is Alcinoos alone who has the power to accept him as a suppliant (7.167ff)" ("OGA," p. 18). In addition, Alcinoo reaffirms himself in being the holder of the power when he says "the men shall see to his convoy/home, and I most of all; for mine is the power in this district" (Od. 11.352-353). Males are, ultimately, the ones who dictate the rules, and the ones who allow wives to rule the household. According to Arthur, "since Phaeacia is the Homeric Utopia, the domestic harmony and high respect for Arete [...] may represent Homer's commentary on the traditional divisions, and on the usual exclusion of women from public life" ("OGA," p. 18).

Women are not exempt from doing housework, it seems that their main tasks are to work with the loom, since they are the ones who must weave the clothing for the family (vid, for example, Od. 6.52-55; Od. 6.305-309 & Od. 7.108-110), and keep an eye on the servants. Thus Hector, in a command addressed to his wife, allows us to confirm the former: "Go therefore back to our house, and take up your own work,/the loom and the distaff, and see to it that your handmaidens/ply their work also; but the men must see to the fighting" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Il. 6.490-492).

Since their daily life passes within the household, women are isolated from each other, whereas men have relationship among themselves; and they are continuously conversing. Women hardly make contact with their peers outside the oikos (75) (however, it seems that single ladies do have some kind of friends). (76) Pedrick (77) has made an analysis about the reason for this situation. She seeks to figure out why the heroine should not take in consideration her friend's pieces of advice, as they usually are wrong, she considers that this "suggest a deeply rooted prejudice about women's counsel. [...] These scenes of corruption through confidence teach a correspondingly subtler lesson: it is actually dangerous for a woman to listen even to her closest companions" ("EE," p. 98). She takes the characters of Eurycleia and Eurynome, including the relationship that both have with Penelope, and she says that Homer depicted both as opposite paradigms "while Eurynome's advice would corrupt Penelope from her loyalty to Odysseus if she followed it, Eurycleia's counsel is valid and saves her mistress from disaster. That Eurycleia gives good advice proves to be an illuminating exception, since she counsels Penelope not primarily for her sake but for the sake of her son and husband's best interest" ("EE," p. 98) (.) Upon analyzing the features of both characters, Pedrick finds out the reasons for this discrepancy between the outcome of these pieces of advice. Her findings are quite interesting: "Eurynome bases her advice on what a woman would normally do in Penelope's circumstances, but Penelope cannot behave normally" ("EE," p. 103), as she is the model of the perfect wife, a role constructed from masculine archetypes. Conversely, Eurycleia is depicted as "the feminine voice of the male side of the family" ("EE," p. 107). She points out that
In that thought lies a clue about what underlies the dismal failure of
advice from close female companions. [...] Patricia Spacks notes than
from early modern times on, men have employed various methods for
controlling the private gossip among women that threatens them. Stern
sermons on the sinfulness of gossip alternate with cautionary
folktales about the humiliation of being caught. [...] The ancients
seem to have employed yet another method, constructing a negative
paradigm of the untrustworthy confidante ("EE," p. 108).


They do not have a free relationship with males either; nonetheless, it is sometimes shown that they have relations with males who come to their husband's palace as guests. Such is the situation, for instance, of Helen when Menelaus hosts Telemachus and Peisistratos as guests. Homer depicted the gathering, and all of them, even Helen, are chattering in the room. However, we should notice that Helen does not address the other men directly, but she firstly talks to her husband (Od. 4.137-140). At the same time, the men nowhere speak directly with her, but they do it throughout Menelaus (Od. 4.235-294). However, a few books later, Helen gives Telemachus a robe she made (Od. 15.124-126). If we understand Helen's gift as part of the guest-friendship gifts, this scene strikes me as odd; for in the world depicted by Homer, gifts are the external token of a political and economic alliance between lineages. So women are, by all means, out of this activity (except by being part of the gift itself, like in marriage alliances, as we saw above). I do not think, as Wohl, that this gesture of Helen hides an "unusual degree of authority" that "can be explained in part by the fact that Sparta is her home, not Menelaus'; a matrilocal arrangement would no doubt allow somewhat more freedom to the wife" ("SS," p. 32), but as a token of the activity of exchanging gifts. As Finley maintains, the exchange of gifts must be done between peers (78) ("MSG," p. 179), and, from my point of view, this scene must be understood as a gift from a woman to another woman, as Helena explicitly says that the gift is "for your wife to wear at the lovely occasion/of your marriage. Until that time let it lie away in your palace,/in your dear mother's keeping" (Od. 15.126-128) without any kind of political repercussion.

Penelope must host the suitors in the palace without being the male head of the family, and this situation may be quite embarrassing for her. When she has to face them in Book 1 of the Odyssey (Od. 1.328-335), she wears a veil, (79) and asks for the company of some of her slaves. (80) This behavior is different from that of Penelope in Book 18, when she decides (though inspired by Athena) to show herself to the suitors without the veil, even though she asks again for the company of two of her maid servants since, she argues: "I will not go alone among men. I think that immodest" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] . Od. 18.184). For Wohl this scene must be read as Penelopes wish to show her authority over Telemachus and the suitors: "the scene reveals the immense potential power of Penelope's sexuality and her renewed willingness to use this power" (Wohl, 1993, pp. 40-41).

So far I have been analyzing the role and relationships with women who are part of the aristocracy. Nonetheless, they are not the entire group of females that appear in the society depicted in the poems. We should study, then, the role and the image of non-free women shown in the poems. What characterizes these women is, mainly, that they were acquired by a man through buying, looting, war, or even having been won as a trophy in an athletic competition. This implies a more common feature of all of them: they are foreigners.

According to Vidal-Naquet, (81) slavery can be understood as an individual disaster with which anybody could be threatened, but women, as well as children, were much more likely, in times of war, to end up as slaves. It is also true that men could have that ill luck, but their most common fate, if they lost in war, was death. An example of the former could be found in Il. 6.414-427 when the Achaeans attacked Thebe, the city of Eetion. In punishment for Thebes's aid to the Trojans, all males of Andromache's family, namely, her father, Eetion, and her seven brothers, were killed by Achilles, but not Andromache's mother, who was carried to Troy with the rest of the loot.

There are very few references in the poems to adult men being kidnapped in an act of piracy or taken as war booty, as compared with the many examples of women in that situation. Moreover, Henry's reading (82) of Homeric poems shows that the bounty is the purpose that leads men to war, and women always form a main part of the spoils. (83)

On the other hand, while in the poems there are several cases of men who were released in exchange for ransom, (84) there are only two occasions when the same is explicitly told of a woman. (85) As Redfield pinpoints (N&C), it looks like there was a kind of tacit agreement: if a male enemy is not executed, he must be sold to his own community in exchange for a ransom (Il. 6.46-50; Il. 10.378-381; Il. 11.131-135). Besides, he adds, a male slave who had been recently captured would not be as manageable as a woman or child. (86)

It was seen as quite common for women from the losing side to be turned into slaves and become part of the spoils of war. (87) Therefore, in Book 6 of the Iliad, Hector would already know the fate awaiting his wife in the event Troy falls and he dies (Il. 6.450-463):
But it is not so much the pain to come of the Trojans/that troubles
me, not even of Priam the king nor Hekabe,/not the thought of my
brothers who in their numbers and valor/shall drop in the dust under
the hands of men who hate them,/as troubles me the thought of you,
when some bronze-armored/Achaian leads you off, taking away your day
of liberty,/in tears; and in Argos you must work at the loom of
another,/and carry water from the spring Messeis or Hypereia,/all
unwilling, but strong will be the necessity upon you;/and some day
seeing you shedding tears a man will say of you:/'This is the wife of
Hektor, who was ever the bravest fighter/of the Trojans, breakers of
horses, in the days when they fought about Ilion.'/So will one speak
of you; and for you it will be yet a fresh grief,/to be widowed of
such a man who could fight off the day of your slavery./But may I be
dead and the piled earth hide me under before I/hear you crying and
know by this that they drag you captive.


On the one hand, we can see in it a great capacity of empathizing with a woman, something rather unusual for a Homeric hero, which praises the Trojan prince. On the other, however, beneath Hector's words I can tell a pinch of shame if his wife is become a slave: he will be death and his reputation will be shamed because of she will be a slave. Also, it seems that female suffering here is merely being used to amplify male experience. The female voice is completely subordinated to the male. Regardless, what I would like to highlight of these words is the total assumption and foresight that the fate of women is turned into slave, in case a war or battle is lost by men.

Gazing upon her dead husband, Andromache in the last book of the Iliad laments the future that awaits her and her son: "(...) you [Hector] who guarded/the city, and the grave wives, and the innocent children/wives who before long must go away in the hollow ships/and among them I shall also go, and you, my child, follow/where I go, and there do much hard work that is unworthy/of you, drudgery for a hard master; or else some Achaian/will take you by hand and hurl you from the tower into horrible/death (...)" (Il. 24.729-736).

These examples highlight both that women were more likely to be enslaved, and that the possibility of enslavement extended to all women, whether they were of the nobility or not. It was their alterity (their construction as Other, different from all that males identify as, and their marginalization and exclusion from Homeric communities) that allows, ultimately, for all women share the same fate. The defenselessness toward abductions inherent in their gender in their society was complete. The fact that women are more likely to be turned into slaves is already a proof that the society depicted in the poems is a patriarchal one where women are the weakest gender, the most vulnerable and, therefore, the easiest to subjugate. As Gaca has pointed out, the fact that the subjugation of women was a basic purpose in ancient warfare is still "downplayed in our historical consciousness." (88) But the truth is that women, girls and children were one of the main aims of epic's wars, (89) they become "things" to sell into slavery, concubines, or free workers into the household. Gaca, in her study about the lexical and moral meaning of the Ancient war practice of andropadizing, (90) maintains that even though the term itself is not used in Homeric epic, the practice is regular among the conquerors ("RH," p. 130).

While it is true that the chances of being kidnapped increased considerably in wartime, it is also true that, in peacetime, the heroes depicted in Homer were frequently absent from home, carrying out acts of looting. Thus, in the nostos to Ithaca of Odysseus, many acts of looting are attributed to him (so many that one of the epithets of the hero in the Odyssey is [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (91) "plunderer of cities"), whose aim is to achieve material and human goods, the latter formed by women, mainly, and children. For example, Odysseus' attack on the Kikonians, killing the men, leading off the women in Od. 9.41ff., also, Polyphemos' first words to Odysseus and his companions are quite relevant, Od. 9.252ff It could even be said that, in many cases, there was little difference between the activities of Odysseus and those of the pirates that are also described in the Odyssey (92)

The female slaves within Homeric societies are used as part of the workforce within the oikos and as sexual merchandise. (93) The utility of the slave in this patriarchal society is perfectly summed up in the words that Agamemnon says to the priest Chryse at the very beginning of the Iliad: "The girl [Chryse's daughter] I will not give back; sooner will old age come upon her/in my own house, in Argos, far from her own land, going/up and down by the loom and being in my bed as my companion" (Il. 1.29-31). In addition to being an expatriate uprooted from her hometown and immured in the drudgery of household servitude, symbolized here by the reference to the loom, the female slave will be a concubine, fully available to the sexual needs of her owner.

Other occupations of the slaves are described in the scene of the Odyssey in which Eurycleia, Odysseus's nursemaid, organizes the work of the day for the slaves: "To work. Some of you keep busy sweeping the palace,/and freshen the floor with water, and lay the purple coverlets/over the well-wrought chairs. Some others, wash all the tablets/thoroughly clear with sponges, and clean the wine bowls, also/the wrought and double-handled drinking-cups; others, be off/now to the spring to fetch the water, and come back quickly" (Od. 20.149-154). There is also information about slaves who had to work outside the home, such as the twelve millers that were responsible for milling the wheat for the palace of Odysseus. They worked in the early morning, and slept once they had ground the grain. Each one was assigned a fixed amount of wheat to grind, and the weakest one was forbidden to go to bed until she had completed her task (Od. 20.105-110).

A hierarchy was established among domestic slaves, since in every palace there was a kind of housekeeper ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), a woman in charge of slaves and servants (cf. Od. 3.392 & 479-480, Od. 7.166, Od. 16.151-153), who dealt with domestic management under the direct orders of the lady of the house. In Od. 4.53, Menelaus' housekeeper is called "venerable" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), an epithet that is often applied to goddesses. In Odysseus' palace, a similar character is the aforementioned Eurycleia, who is not the housekeeper (as this is Eurynome), but, the nursemaid of Odysseus (Od. 19.352-355) and later of Telemachus (Od. 19.20). She serves as a trustworthy person and sometimes even counselor to her owner, Penelope. Eurycleia is also the "watchwomen (or guard) of the other slaves" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Od. 22.395-396), which gives her certain privileges. She is one of the few slaves who receive a certain consideration from her first owner, Laertes, who had exempted her from the most humiliating and dehumanizing facet of slavery: being forced to be a concubine. Indeed, at the beginning of the Odyssey it is said that Laertes had bought her when she was a teenager, for a very high price, "twenty oxen," even though he did not sleep with her in order to avoid the anger of his lawful wife (Od. 1.430-434). There are two items worth mentioning in this passage. First, the fact that Homer has mentioned that Laertes did not sleep with his concubine can be understood as a sign that going to bed with a slave was considered normal, since he gives that information as anomalous. Secondly, Laertes refrains from sleeping with Eurycleia not due to a kind of consideration or respect for the slave, but to placate his wife. In the world of the Iliad and the Odyssey, female slavery is linked, inevitably, to sexual favors, and this example of Laertes and Eurycleia is, in that sense, unique. In regard to this, the case of the captive Briseis, wrenched from Achilles by Agamemnon, is significant. When later she is returned to Achilles, Agamemnon must first swear that he had not gone to bed with her, "as is natural for human people, between men and women" (Il. 9.134). Briseis is reduced to an item of merchandise that is given back intact to her owner, without being used. (94)

Returning to Eurycleia, in Od. 19.22 Telemachus called her "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]," an affectionate and familiar term that means something like "little mother." But this should not make her forget that although she enjoys certain privileges, she is still a slave. Besides, her status could come from her advanced age, as elderly people in the world of Homer enjoyed a certain prestige, given their experience. (95) Lastly, she is still imprisoned in her owner's house and subordinated to his authority; the owner can do with her what he wants, even kill her. When Eurycleia recognizes the beggar as Odysseus upon seeing his scar, Odysseus is afraid of her ruining his plan to kill the suitors, and he threatens her with death despite his affection for her: "But now that you have learned who I am, and the god put it into/your mind, hush, let nobody else in the palace know of it./For so I tell you straight out, and it will be a thing accomplished./If you do, and by my hands the god beats down the arrogant/suitors, nurse of mine though you are, I will not spare you/when I kill the rest of the serving maids in my palace" (Od. 19.485-490).

Indeed, the life of a slave is worthless, mainly if the slave betrays the interests of her owner. At the end of the Odyssey, Odysseus orders Telemachus, the cowherd, and the swineherd, to kill the female slaves who have betrayed Odysseus by colluding and sleeping with Penelope's suitors. Although the hero had ordered them to be killed with a sword, Telemachus decides that this is too quick a death for those who have dishonored the patriarchs of the house (namely, Odysseus and Telemachus himself, as he is already a grown man). Instead, he orders for them a slower and more shameful death, that of hanging (96) (Od. 17.472). It seems that physical mistreatment towards captives was a practice in Homeric world. As Gaca maintains ("RH", reference 62): "In addition to being beaten with the conquering warriors' fists, captive women and girls were struck with the butt end of their spears (Od. 8.523-30, Diodorus 17.35.7). [...] The Iliad divulges the practice of beating captive women and girls with hands and fists when Agamemnon swears to an exception to the norm" that he never beats Briseis (Il. 19.261-263).

There are a few words that Eurycleia says which show in an interesting way what being a slave means: "You have fifty serving women here in your palace,/and these I have taught to work at their own tasks, the carding/of wool, and how to endure their own slavery" (Od. 22.421-423). No one is born ready to be a slave; a slave is what one is turned into, and according to Eurycleia's words it seems as if slavery were teachable. Among the "virtues" that must be learned in order to bear slavery are obedience, being faithful to one's owner, and perhaps hiding one's own feelings. Being faithful to one's owner includes, among other things, sharing his sorrow. An example of this is shown in the Iliad: when Achilles is told about the death of Patroclus, the captives who are with him in the tent, "the handmaidens Achilles and Patroclus had taken/captive [...]," (Il. 18.28-29) burst into tears, mourning and shaking their knees (Il. 18.30). Everything points to them feeling driven to mourn and to be with their owner during his grief, as Achilles had promised the lifeless body of Patroclus that every kidnapped female slave would lament his death (Il. 18.338-343). Here, it is important to take into account the episode where Briseis appears, crying because of Patroclus' death. Homer presents the woman in tatters, like Achilles, due to the sorrow that she feels at seeing the lifeless body of Patroclus. She is crying, scratching her face and bosom with her own hands and speaking to the corpse, remembering their relationship. As her speech progresses, she remembers how her family was killed by Achilles, how Patroclus did not allow her to cry, and how he told her she would marry Achilles, the same man that had just killed her whole family. Briseis finishes her speech by saying: "Therefore I weep your death without ceasing. You were kind always" (Il. 19.300). Briseis' words look strange. After all, she is remembering the murder of her entire family at the hands of Achilles, as well as Patroclus' promises of wedding her to the killer, and his forbidding her to cry for her family, an especially harsh command given the symbolic importance of weeping for them. (97) Eventually, it looks like a typical ironic episode of Homer, who ends the mourning scene in a masterful way: "So she spoke (Briseis), lamenting, and the women sorrowed around her/grieving openly for Patroklos, but for her own sorrows/each [...]" (Il. 19.301-303). Therefore, I do not think that either Briseis' tears or those of the other slaves were sincere, but rather due to the required loyalty towards their owner, and the poet is aware of that.

There are some slaves who, at least for a time, hold a special position since they maintained with their owners a more or less stable sexual relationship. (98) We see this in the Iliad with Chryseis, a captive of Agamemnon, and Briseis a concubine of Achilles. The status of these women is somewhat special, but also ambiguous. Sometimes, the owner openly shows his affection for them, for example Achilles in Il. 9.343 (99) or the words of Agamemnon in Il. 1.113-115, when he says that he prefers Chryseis before his lawful wife. But other times it looks as if these affirmations, said in tense moments, contain a great deal of rhetorical exaggeration rather than true feelings. So, for example, when Patroclus died, Achilles said that he would prefer that Briseis had died the day when he sacked her city, (100) as that would have avoided his troubles with Agamemnon and the huge number of deaths on the Achaean side-including that of Patroclus (Il. 19.59-63). (101) For the noblemen, these captives are simple trophies, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: a "prize of war." They are select parts of the plunder that are divided among the members of the group according to their bravery in the war and their status, symbolizing their value as warriors but also their position in the community. Therefore, when Agamemnon takes the trophy of Briseis from Achilles, he feels dishonored. The analogy made between [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and captive in the Iliad is so strong that when the poet is speaking about the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon, Briseis is called [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and her real name is not used (cf. Il. 1.120, 133, 135, 161, 167; Il. 9.344; Il. 18.444 & Il. 19.89), underlining her objectification.

3. Conclusions: Alterity, Exclusion, and Violence toward Women

Throughout this article I have tried to show how the relationship with the female alterity represented in the poems is framed by the very nature of the communities depicted there: a patriarchal communities, (102) highly stratified, where aristocratic males are the holders of the dominant identity, and where the community is governed by those noblemen.

First, we saw how relationships with aristocratic women are fixed in these kinds of societies. Women are marginalized; namely, they are excluded from taking an active part in the community's issues, and are obliged to follow the rules laid down for them by men. The main institutions on which Homeric communities are constructed are denied to women: assembly, where common laws are discussed and approved, and the battlefield, where the defense and survival of communities are contested. An essential feature of all societies, past as well as current, is that they are built around what is common. The Other is constructed in opposition to the common, and since Homeric women are understood through the lens of alterity, they are consigned to the margins in these patriarchal and aristocratic communities.

Speech, muthos, has a social function. As Martin points out, muthos is a speech-act, "muthos is, in Homer, a speech-act indicating authority, performed at length, usually in public, with a focus on full attention to every detail. [... ] The word muthos comprises a range of speech-genres similar to that of Chamula 'words for heated hearts': political talk, angry speech, and affectionate recollection" (LH, p. 12). Thus women are silenced, excluded from changing the society where they live. According to their own normative principles, dominant identity dictates the role that alterity must play. In the episode of Od. 1. 358-359, Penelope not only thinks that it is normal and fair to be remembered by a man who subordinates her, but she also admires this attitude of his son (Od. 1.360), as it means that he is becoming an adult, a holder of the authoritarian identity. It seems that Penelope, as with every female, considers legitimate that a male identifies her role in the community, and that the role is being quiet, being excluded from speech, and therefore excluded from possessing the power of the word. In this sense, it could be said that a kind of discriminatory violence is established towards women. As Bello puts it: "discriminatory violence is not displayed as violence in its purest form but as necessary and legitimate violence" (103) (my translation). One of the characteristics of this discriminatory violence is that it is often addressed towards groups of people understood as Others.

This violence is perpetuated on an individual level, but women's difference and marginalization are also perpetuated through their relationships to men. According to the alterity framework that I use, (104) relationships between men and Homeric women are negatively asymmetrical: the dominant identity imposes the laws of normative behavior, including or excluding groups. For example, women are often defined through motherhood throughout the poems. Women's value lies in their capacity for being mothers. They give birth to males, but all value is transferred through paternal lineage: rank, fame, and so on. Women serve the communities in a totally utilitarian way. The only choice women have is obedience if they do not want to be repudiated and returned to their parents' oikos, where they would be subject to the father's authority anyway.

If we pay attention to Homeric heroines, the depiction of woman as a main character will always be kinder, more positive than what actual women would have experienced in these societies. It is the "real" women who lived behind these heroines who we must consider in order to understand the persistence of patriarchy.

It seems that females are not understood as individuals but as a collectivity, as a gender. This is reflected in the words of Agamemnon, when he is speaking to Odysseus in the Underworld about his murder by his wife. According to him, the evil deed of his wife, Clytemnestra, will defame the whole group of women: "she with thoughts surpassingly grisly/splashed the shame on herself and the rest of her sex, on women/still to come, even on the one whose acts are virtuous" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Od. 11.432-434). Clytemnestra's offense will be inherited by every woman through history. Her acts will cause ignominy for all of them, corrupting the entire female sex. (105) The same happens in the myth of Eve in the Book of Genesis. Eve's sin damages the whole gender, and the punishment is shared by all of them. This is a way of denying women's individuality. The reverse never happens: immoral acts from a man by no means will affect those with whom he shares gender.

Secondly, I have maintained that women as well as children are the most vulnerable group to becoming slaves in wartime. One simile that shows how commonly women and girls were kidnapped and turned into slaves, servants or concubines is that of Il. 16.7-11. According to Gaca, the scene depicts the suffering and anguish of a mother and daughter running away from their captors. The scholar maintains that this simile is a reflection of how Homeric characters "would know very well how such terrified girls and mothers looked and behaved in their efforts to elude capture, for the direct experience was theirs, either as the subjugators or the subjugated. The warriors were not above commandeering, dominating, and exploiting women and girls taken from peoples of foreign ethnicity as well as from enemies of the same or similar ethnicity as themselves" ("RH," p. 168). This shows how this experience is so commonplace for women and girls, but also shows how women were always considered among the main fruits of a war.

But even during peacetime, when the alternative was competition, women were turned into trophies or prizes, and they were passed between owners as if they were tripods or any valuable item, but above all objects. (106) An example of the former can be found in another of the Homeric similes, which are said to give a glimpse of daily life. In Il. 22.163-164 Achilles and Hector run around the Trojan walls. In order to stress the speed of the heroes, they are compared to the fast turn made by the winner horses in a race when they are reaching the goal. Homer adds that at the finish line is the prize: "a tripod or a woman" (Il. 22.164). This simile shows how women were treated in this patriarchal and aristocratic world: they must stand at the winning post waiting to be taken by the winner (Il. 23.261 & 263). These trophies are positioned in the middle of the field throughout the duration of the race (Il. 23.705). Women are completely objectified. As an object, she is someone's future possession.

Objectification and undervaluation of women reaches its peak when, in one of the funeral games for Patroclus, Homer tells that the prize for the winner will be a tripod valued at twelve oxen, while the loser will get a woman valued only at four. The following table illustrates examples of the market value of women in the society depicted in the poems, and also includes values placed on foreign men under ransom. It shows how women are chattel in this society:
Lykaon's ransom                  300 oxen  (Il. 21.80)
Glauko's armor                   100 oxen  (Il. 6.235)
Lykaon's sale                    100 oxen  (Il. 21.79)
Euryklea (female slave)           20 oxen  (Od. 1.431)
Tripod (Patroclus' games)         12 oxen  (Il. 23.703)
Diomedes' armor                    9 oxen  (Il. 6.236)
Female slave (Patroclus' games)    4 oxen  (Il. 23.705)


As we can see, the life of a male was more valuable than that of a female, which on occasion, could even cost less than a set of armor or a tripod. Under such circumstances, it seems not preposterous to claim that women are treated in a completely utilitarian way: they are used to provide sexual favors or to work in the oikos or even as prizes or interchangeable items. Slaves are used and treated as objects, not human beings. Through this objectification and dehumanization of female slaves in a social context, we can see how women are deprived of their self and, therefore, turned into alterities maintained through all men's actions.

To conclude, space in the world depicted in the poems is fixed: the place of men is war and assembly. In turn, women are located in the oikos. These worlds almost never overlap. This could also be a reason why men are murdered in the looting, while women are turned into slaves. Women in the poems are Others, and therefore the relations with them are determined by the alterity that they represent. Upon analyzing these poems as fruit of the oral tradition, and as containers of collective memory, we can see how the poems demarcate hierarchical relations that function as structures of domination of one group above others-a system that has defined all societies, at least Western ones, up to present times.

Acknowledgements

This work has been possible thanks to the funding of a postdoctoral fellowship "Clarin-COFUND" (ACA14-23) from the Principality of Asturias (Spain). I would like to thank the Department of Classics at Stanford University for its support, and, particularly, to my advisor Richard P. Martin. I also thank the four anonymous referees for their valuable and helpful comments. They are not responsible, of course, for any errors that appear in the text.

NOTES

(1.) We will see some of these works further in this paper.

(2.) All English translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey are from R. Lattimore's translation (2011), The Iliad of Homer. Chicago, IL, & London: University of Chicago Press, 2011, and (2007), The Odyssey of Homer. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

(3.) If we understand "patriarchy" in its original meaning as "ruled by the father," we will see how the relationships depicted in the poems show these power relations, where the law of the father prevails within the Homeric household. But I understand that we can also see how patriarchy, with a more "modern" meaning (understood as hierarchical relations between men and women, male dominance in the public and private spheres, female exclusion from the public sphere, male control over female sexuality, women as objects of exchange for the sake of male political alliances, and so on) can be already found in Homeric poems. Nevertheless, Homer does not include the same kind of justifications that arises later (like Aristotelian one). For further information of patriarchy, see Code, L. (2000), Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories, s.v. "patriarchy." London & New York: Routledge; Gardiner, J. (1999), Encyclopedia of Political Economy, s.v. "patriarchy," London & New York: Routledge; Gillogan, C. (2009), The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press. For an interesting book on patriarchy and feminist theory, see K. V. Hansen & I. J. Philipson (eds.) (1990), Women, Class, and the Feminist Imagination. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Gillogan, C. (2009), The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press.

(4.) Loraux, N. (2005), La tragedie d'Athenes: la Politique entre L'Ombre et L'Utopie. Seuil: Paris, 173-190.

(5.) Chantraine, P. (1983/1984), Dictionnaire Etimologique de la Langue Grecque: Historie des Mots, 2 vols. Paris: Klincksieck.

(6.) Martin, R. P. (1989), The Language of Heroes. New York: Cornell University Press. Hereafter abbreviated LH.

(7.) G. M. Calhoun challenged the degree to which one finds a fully developed aristocracy in Homer, pointing out "the complete omission from the poems of the specific words for nobility of birth and for distinctions based on descent that are so abundant in the writings of later ages," (1934), "Classes and Masses in Homer" Classical Philology 29(3): 195.

(8.) See, for example, Levinas, E. (1987), Time and the Other, trans. by R. A. Cohen. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press; (1998), Entre Nous: On Thinking-of-the-Other, trans. by M. B. Smith & B. Harshav. New York: Columbia University Press; (2003), Humanism of the Other, trans. by N. Poller. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

(9.) I should thank R. Martin for giving me this idea about the appropriateness in epic of the differentiation between the "Other en masse" and the "Other as individual."

(10.) The society that I shall analyze in this paper is not the "Homeric society" itself (if this term may mean something) but the society depicted in Homeric poems. Nonetheless, to understand my point on this issue I would suggest Redfield, J. M. (1975), Nature and Culture in the Iliad: The tragedy of Hector. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 78-79; hereafter abbreviated N&C: "The heroic world is a less-real world which exists for the sake of the song. In this sense it is unhistoric. Yet song is for an audience and in this sense is located in history. In reconstructing the heroic world, we implicitly reconstruct the audience which understood it, the audience for whom the Iliad was not problematic. In this broad sense any careful study of Homer is a contribution to the study of Homer's period. [...] The poet may or may not imitate the details of his culture. But if his work, as a whole, is to be intelligible to his audience, he must have a profound understanding of his culture. Therefore, if we assume that the work is intelligible, we can deduce the culture from the work."

(11.) Havelock, E. A. (1963), Preface to Plato. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

(12.) Bourdieu, P. (1989), "Social Space and Symbolic Power," Sociological Theory 7(1): 4-25.

(13.) I do not share the interpretation of scholars such as Arthur or Foley, for whom the Homeric world lacks such division between private and public realms. See Arthur, M. B. (1973), "Early Greece: The Origins of Greek Attitude towards Women" in Arethusa 6: 7-58, hereafter abbreviated "OGA," and (1981), "The Divided World of the Iliad VI," Women's Studies 8: 21-46, hereafter abbreviated "DW." See also Foley, H. P. (1978), "Reverse Similes and Sex Roles in the Odyssey," Arethusa 11: 7-26.

(14.) Il. 6.295-311.

(15.) Kirk, G. S. (1990), The Iliad: A Commentary, Vol. 2, Books: 5-8. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 165.

(16.) There are other two mentions of women who work outside the household in the Iliad (Il. 4.141-145 & Il. 12.433-435). Neither of them hold a public position, as Theano, but one of them is an artisan and the other is a day laborer.

(17.) Something similar happens in the Hesiodic "Catalogue of Women," where women are defined by the sons they gave birth. See Most, G. M. (2007), Hesiod II. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

(18.) Women defined in that way include, for instance, Tyro (Od. 11.235-ff.), Iphimedeia (Od. 11.305-ff.), Antiope (Od. 11.260-ff.), Alkmene (Od. 11.266), Megara (Od. 11.269-270); Chloris (Od. 11.281-ff.), Leda (Od. 11.298-300), and Ariadne (Od. 11.321-ff.).

(19.) Which does not mean that we cannot see in the poems literarily-constructed individuals. Nevertheless, as I already mentioned, the Other that I shall study in this paper is the Other (woman) as a whole, not the female alterity as individuals.

(20.) For further information about Levi-Strauss' conceptions of women as both producers of signs and objects of exchange, see Levi-Strauss, C. (1969), Elementary Structures of Kinship. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 233ff, hereafter abbreviated ESK.

(21.) Redfield, J. M. (1982), "Notes on Greek Wedding," Arethusa 15: 185-186, hereafter abbreviated "NGW."

(22.) Bergren, A. L. (1983), "Language and the Female in Early Greek Thought," Arethusa 16: 76; hereafter abbreviated "L&F."

(23.) Shame is what rules the behavior of both men and women. Males are afraid of shaming their companions and ancestors by cowardice in battle, while women rule their behavior by anticipating what other women might think. For further information about "shame-culture," see Dodds, E. R. (1957), The Greeks and the Irrational. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, hereafter abbreviated G&I.

(24.) About Penelope's character, there are some interesting works, for example, Foley, H. P. (2007), "Penelope as Moral Agent," and Felson-Rubin, N. (2007), "Penelope's Perspective: Character from Plot," both published in Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations. Homer's The Odyssey. Updated edition. New York: Chelsea House; and Clayton, B. (2004), A Penelopean Poetics. Reweaving the Feminine in Homer's Odyssey. Oxford: Lexington Books.

(25.) Zeitling, F. I. (1996), Playing the Other. Gender and Society in Classical Greek Literature. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 29; hereafter abbreviated PTO.

(26.) Benveniste, E. (1973), Indo-European Language and Society, trans. Elizabeth Palmer. Coral Gables, FL: The University of Miami Press, 277; hereafter abbreviated IE.

(27.) Despite not paying much attention to this sentence, M. R. Lefkowitz does mention it when she maintains that this sentence shows that one of the reasons for Penelope's wait for Odysseus is a "matter of reputation," in her article (1983), "Wives and Husbands," Greece and Rome 30: 33; hereafter abbreviated "WH."

(28.) For further information about this issue, see for example: Lattimore, R. (1969), "Nausikaa's Suitors," Illinois Studies in Language and Literature 58: 88-102; Gross, N. P. (1976), "Nausicaa: a Feminine Threat," The Classical World 69: 311-317; Reece, S. (1993), The Stranger's Welcome: Oral Theory and Aesthetics of the Homeric Hospitality Scene. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

(29.) E. R. Dodds, G&I pp. 28ff.

(30.) See also Russo, J., and B. Simon (1968), "Homeric Psychology and the Oral Epic Tradition," Journal of the History of Ideas 29(4): 483-498.

(31.) For further information about the role of women within marriage in Aristotle, see Redfield, J. M. (2003), The Locrian Maidens. Love and Death in Greek Italy. Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 56, hereafter abbreviated LM.

(32.) English translation by Ernest Barker, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1948.

(33.) In the Iliad, the word appears only five times: the term is referring to divine scenes in two occasions, see Il. 5.429 & Il. 24.62. The noun also appears in one of the scenes depicted in Achilles' shield (Il. 18.490). There are only two occasions where the term [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; is linked to the human world, see Il. 13.381-382 & Il. 19.299. Only Il. 13.381-382 suggests that this term means something different from the wedding as a party. In that episode Idomeneus seems to be speaking about marriage's arrangements, where both sides could make an agreement ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). On the other hand, in the Odyssey we find it in twenty-nine occasions: twenty out of twenty-nine times where [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] appears, it refers to a possible wedding of Penelope and one of the suitors (see Od. 1.249 & 277; Od. 2.97, 196 & 205; Od. 3.224; Od. 15.524; Od. 16.126; Od. 17.476; Od. 18.272; Od. 19.137, 142 & 157; Od. 20.307 & 341; Od. 21.250; Od. 22.50; Od. 23.135; Od. 24.126 & 132). The other occasions where the term appears are at Od. 1.226; Od. 4.3 & 7; Od. 6.27, 66 & 288; Od. 11.415; Od. 15.126; Od. 20.74. Nowhere does the word have a different interpretation from the wedding reception.

(34.) However, there is no reference to this verb in either poem with this meaning. In the Homeric poems, the verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] appears in some occasions with the meaning of "to give a woman in marriage." The active agents who give the women to a man could be the father, as we see in Il. 6.192, Il. 11.226 & Od. 2.54, the father and the mother (in Il. 19.291), a god (Il. 14.268), and, in the case of remarrying of a widow, the oldest son (in Od. 1.292 & Od. 2.223).

(35.) Cf, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: Il. 9.388 & 391, Il. 14.122, Od. 2.207, Od. 4.208, Od. 15.522, etc., and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: Il. 13.379, Il. 14.268, Il. 16.178, Od. 2.336, Od. 6.63, Od. 15.21, Od. 16.386, etc.

(36.) On [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] see Il. 9. 336, where Agamemnon is holding a woman who Achilles thinks of as a legal wife (Achilles says that Agamemnon: "keeps the bride of my heart," "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].") It is also interesting Il. 9.399 ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]") since it stresses both the courting process and the more sexual idea of a bedpartner ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]).

(37.) Equally, the verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], to court," "to propose to somebody," is found referring only to men who want to marry a woman (cf Od. 4.684 & Od. 18.277).

(38.) Hartog, F. (1988), The Mirror of Herodotus: The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History, trans. Janet Lloyd. Berkeley & Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 242.

(39.) According to Butler, the subject is not one but two. On the one hand, he/she suffers the effect of the language, which turns him/her into a patient. On the other hand, when the subject he/she becomes an actor, he/she is able to perform the reality with his/her statements, judgments, opinions, etc. For further information about the performativity of language, see Butler, J. (1997), Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. New York: Routledge.

(40.) Preface by Nagy: "In a small-scale society myth tends to be viewed as the encoding of that society's view of truth," LH: xiv. Conversely, today myth meaning is quite the opposite. According to Martin, muthos is the speech-act of poetry itself. Myth implies ritual in the very performance of myth.

(41.) A stronger reading of this was made by the linguistic Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf. For further information see Lakoff, G., & M. Johnson (1980), Metaphors We Live By. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

(42.) Snell, B. (1960), The Discovery of the Mind: the Greek Origins of European Thought. New York: Harper, and Fraenkel, H. (1951), Dichtung und Philosophie des Fruhen Griechentums. New York: American Philological Association claimed that absence of a word equals absence of a concept. This debate over whorfism was also studied by B. Williams (1993), in Shame and Necessity. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, who refuted Snell's theses.

(43.) Lacey, W. K. (1966), "Homeric Hedna and Penelope's Kurios," The Journal of Hellenic Studies 86: 62; hereafter abbreviated "HH."

(44.) For further information about the marriage in the poems, see: Finley, M. I. (1955), "Marriage, Sale and Gift in the Homeric World" in Revue Internationale des Droits de l'Antiquite iii 2; hereafter abbreviated "MSG": 167-194; W. K. Lacey, "HH": 55-68; Leduc, C. (1991), "?Como darla en matrimonio? La novia en Grecia, siglos IX-IV a. C," in Historia de las mujeres en Occidente I, Spanish trans. Marco Aurelio Galmarini. Buenos Aires: Taurus, 252-270; Fraga Iribarne, A. (1998), De Criseida a Penelope. Un largo camino hacia el patriarcado clasico. Madrid: Horas y Horas, especially 33-35; hereafter abbreviated CP; Garcia Sanchez, M. (1999), Las mujeres de Homero. Valencia: Universitat de Valencia, 51-74. About the wedding in Ancient Greece, see Nilsson, M. (1960), "Wedding Rites in Ancient Greece" in Opuscula Selecta 3: 243-250; Redfield, J. M., "NGW," 181-201.

(45.) See, for instance, Od. 11.117; Od. 11.282; Il. 16.178-180; Il. 16.190-191; Il. 22.466-472. Even in gods' world appears this sort of marriage. Remember, for example, the episode of Aphrodite's adultery; Hefestus demands the refund of the all the bridewealth ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Od. 8.319) of Zeus.

(46.) The quantity and quality of the hedna play an important role in the choice of a proper husband, as is shown in Penelope's words in Od. 19.528-529 when she considers whether to wait for Odysseus or to "go away at last with the best of all those Achaians/who court me here in the palace, with endless gifts to win me? ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])." As Lacey has pointed out: "they (the hedna) expressed the giver's quality, and this in turn carried the assumption that to be outdone in [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], as in gifts, would incur a slur on a man's rank" ("HH," 55).

(47.) As Vidal Naquet points out, this expression may come from Aristotle's comment in Pol. 2. 5. 12, 1268b 40 when he says: "The usages of old times were exceedingly simple and uncivilized: Greeks went about armed, and bought their brides from each other" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].). English trans. Ernest Baker. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1948. Vidal-Naquet, P. (1979), "Economia y sociedad en la Grecia Antigua: La obra de Moses I. Finley," in Clases y luchas de clases en la Grecia Antigua. Madrid: Akal, 39. On the other hand, Finley doubts whether Aristotle alluded to Homer. "The context of the half-sentence in the Politics, which does not mention Homer, is that of the archaic, but post-Homeric, law codes" ("MSG," 178).

(48.) Il. 7.465-475; Il. 18.289-291 & Od. 15.461-463. Finley understands this trade society as rudimentary and fairly limited, since there have been only a few commercial rules in a society where transactions were made between strangers, whose encounters were sporadic.

(49.) The exchange worked as followed: beforehand, people haggled about the "price" of the goods, there cannot be any kind of compromise, as one of the sides would leave for its community or for another harbor in order to continue with the swaps. Finley "MSG," 172-177.

(50.) For further information about the role of the exchange in Archaic Economies, see Mauss, M. (1990), The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, trans. W. D. Halls. New York: Routledge, and Levi-Strauss, ESK, 63-68, who says: "The inclusion of women in the number of reciprocal prestations from group to group and from tribe to tribe is such a general custom that a whole volume would not be sufficient to enumerate the instances of it" (63).

(51.) Finley, M. I. (1965), The World of Odysseus. The Viking Press: New York, 62; hereafter abbreviated TWO. Besides, as Finley points out ("MSG," 172), "the marriages in the Iliad and the Odyssey were between outsiders (...). This fact is to be explained by the circumstances that the characters all moved in the highest circles, in which marriage was an important instrumentality for the establishment of ties of power among chieftains and kings."

(52.) Vernant, J. P. (1980), Myth and Society in Ancient Greece, trans. Janet Lloyd. Sussex: Harvester Press; Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press; hereafter abbreviated M&S.

(53.) In other mentions of this marriage pattern, due to the presence of the wife's brother(s), the new husband is excluded from the inheritance, playing a role of subordinate of his father in law. In Il. 9.142ff Agamemnon says that if Achilles accepts his proposition, he will be treated as if he were his son. Agamemnon, who already has a son, Orestes, offers Achilles (in exchange for the return to the fight of the latter) any of his three daughters in marriage [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], without having to give hedna, Il. 9.146. Instead of giving the hedna, Agamemnon provides his daughter with several gifts and goods (Il. 9.138-149); among them the king offers Achilles' the ruling of seven citadels within Argos (Il. 9.149-156). It is worth remembering that Achilles is an only child, namely, the only one heir. In addition, Agamemnon adds to the marriage bid seven cities close to Pylos. If Achilles had accepted the offer, he would have become a secondary prince, subordinated to Agamemnon, the main authority. But Agamemnon also offers the possibility of bringing the chosen daughter with Achilles to Phthia, without having to integrate Agamemnon's oikos (Il. 9.145-146). For further information about Achilles' subordination to Agamemnon, see Alden, M. (2012), "The Despised Migrant (Il. 9.648 = 16.59)," in Homeric Contexts. Neoanalysis and the Interpretation of Oral Poetry, ed., F. Montanari & C. T. Rengakos. Berlin & Boston, MA: De Gruyter, 125.

(54.) Bellerophon's story is placed in a past time relative to that of Iliad's plot. Fraga-Iribarne (CP, 35-37) links this marriage-pattern to older strata of the poem. On the other hand, as Lacey pointed out ("HH," 59), this kind of marriage is also found in Tydeus' and Othryoneus' cases (Il. 14.119-125 & Il. 13.363-382, respectively), and despite the fact that both Bellerophon and Tydeus belong to an earlier generation, it is not the situation of Othryoneus who is a warrior of the Trojan side.

(55.) Another similar example is that of the Trojan hero Othryoneus and the Priam's daughter Kassandra (Il. 13.365-369): the hero asked Priam for his daughter's hand [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (without hedna), but in exchange for it he had promised to expel Achaeans from Troy, to which Priam accepted. We know that this marriage never happened, but if they had gotten married, Othryoneus would not have been the heir of Troy, since Priam already had male offspring (about Kassandra as a resister of marriage, see Redfield, LM, 138-139). In fact, when Homer describes Priam's palace, he says that his married daughters live there with their husbands (Il. 6.251), namely, all of them are integrated into their father-in-law's oikos. The same situation would have happened to Odysseus, if they had accepted the hand of Nausikaa, as the latter has some brothers.

(56.) See Il. 6.394 & Il. 22.88 in reference to Andromache, and Od. 24.294 to Penelope. Thus the formula may not be fitting with the reality, but a simple epic ornament. There are some episodes where this situation is mentioned. For instance, Laothoe's father dowered her with lots of gold and bronze, even though she lives in her husband's palace where she moved with her dower (Il. 22.50-52). Similar is the case of Penelope, who is referred as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("richly dowered," Od. 24.294) but she lives in Odysseus' oikos. Not only is it said that Penelope is "richly dowered," but also, as Finley ("MSG," 178) and Lacey ("HH," 56) have put it, it is mentioned twice that she is given hedna to bring to the house of her husband-to-be. The answer to this apparent contradiction given by Finley, and followed by Lacey, is that this is due to the very Homeric tradition of gift and counter-gift, and "they reflect (the gift) a genuine piece of social custom, and that brides did in fact not come to their husbands empty-handed" ("HH," ref 10). On the other hand, Homer tells that Hector gave hedna to Andromache's father (Il. 22.473), but the latter dowered her too (Il. 6.394 & 22.88), and she moved to her father-in-law's oikos. Finley ("MSG," 186) also maintains that in these kinds of societies where gift-giving had such importance "the same word (for gift) could be used regardless of the direction in which the gifts traveled." Namely, it did not matter if the gifts were from the husband-to-be to the bride's father or from the latter to the former, Homer could have used the same word in every example. However, as Lacey has pointed out ("HH," 56), there are no cases of future husbands who give hedna but integrate into their wife's oikos.

(57.) Madrid, M. (1999), La misoginia en Grecia. Madrid: Catedra. The original text in Spanish: "las relaciones entre los esposos se fundan en el respeto mutuo y la concordia" (43).

(58.) It is worth remembering the piece of advice that Agamemnon gave Odysseus in the Underworld about how to treat his wife: "So by this, do not be too easy even with your wife,/nor gve her an entire account of all you are sure of/Tell her part of it, but let the rest be hidden in silence." ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Od. 11.441-443). Later, he continues: "When you bring your ship in to your own dear country, do it/secretly, not in open. There is no trusting in women" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Od. 11.455-456).

(59.) I am aware of the versions where the fidelity of Penelope is questioned. Nonetheless, I do think that the bed trick in Book 23 of the Odyssey could be seen as a clear proof not only of Odysseus' identity, but also of Penelope's fidelity. For a further analysis of this trick see Zeitlin PTO, 25ff.

(60.) It seems that Arthur does not take into account, for example, what Agamemnon himself says about the power of negative statements about women (Od. 24.192-202): no matter how good Penelope is, she can't climb out of the shadow of Klytemnestra's ill-repute.

(61.) Rose maintains that the ideologies behind the poems are different. The ideology behind the Odyssey has to do with the birth of trade and new settlements, while that of the Iliad is twofold: on the one hand, there is the ideology of the meritocracy system, represented by Achilles. On the other, it states a new ideology of inherited power represented by Agamemnon-meaning that status determines appropriation of wealth and distribution of booty. Anyway, I think that Rose would agree with Arthur's reading of the two contrasting heroic codes shown in the Iliad. For further information, see Rose, P. W. (2012), Class in Archaic Greece. New York: Cambridge University Press, 93-165; hereafter abbreviated CAG. For Arthur, "OGA," 9-11.

(62.) For further information about Rose's outlook of females in the poems, see (1992), Sons of the Gods, Children of Earth. Ideology and Literary Form in Ancient Greece. Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press (especially 85ff.) hereafter abbreviated SOG. He maintains that the Odyssey shows "an intensification of the traditional ambivalence toward women" (SOG, 133-134), and, in general, more misogynistic features than the Iliad.

(63.) Martin has interpreted this episode as a reflection of Homeric irony: Telemachus' speech seems to imply an authoritative character. However, that is contradictory to Telemachus' character in other scenes. According to Martin, "a traditional audience familiar with this speaking mode would hear irony in Telemachus' words. He thinks he can handle the situation on Ithaka, but he still has a lot to learn," in (1993), "Telemachus and the Last Hero Song," Colby Quarterly 29(3): 237.

(64.) A further analysis of weaving by Homeric women is made by Bergren, "L&F," 71-75.

(65.) Walcot, P. (1984), "Greek Attitudes toward Women: The Mythological Evidence," Greece & Rome 31: 39; hereafter abbreviated "GAW."

(66.) An extended analysis of this issue in modern Western societies can be found in Weitz, R., & S. Kwan (2010), The Politics of Women's Bodies: Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press.

(67.) A complete analysis of the reasons for male domination over female sexuality is made by Wohl in "SS." A broader study of the male control of female sexuality is made by Smuts, B. (1992), in "Male Aggression against Women. An Evolutionary Perspective," Human Nature 3: 1-44.

(68.) Male fears of female sexuality have always been a topos in the history of mankind. In Ancient Greece we find, for example, the myth of Tieresias, who, having been both a man and a woman, declared women have ten times as much pleasure in sex as males. Already in the twenty century, Fidel Castro invited an East German sexologist, Monika Krause-Fuchs, to reform sex education in Cuba. When she started going into detail about women's pleasure, Cuban males began to panic (for further information about this, see Krause, M. (2002), Monika y la revolucion. Una mirada singular sobre la historia reciente de Cuba. San Cristobal de La Laguna: Centro de Cultura Popular Canaria.

(69.) Women's capacity to produce offspring is not the only key element in male fears, but males have been always trying to limit female sexuality: the practice of clitoridectomy has nothing to do with female capacity of producing children and everything to do with male fears of female sexuality (see, for example, Masters, W. H., & V. E. Johnsons (1966), Human Sexual Response. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Masters, W. H., & Johnsons, V. E. (1970), Human Sexual Inadequacy. Boston, MA: Little, Brown.

(70.) Karakantza, E. (2001), "The Sexual Servitude of Odysseus. An Interpretative Approach to Kirke and Kalypso Episodes in the Odyssey," in [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (FIEC), Athens, 468-481; hereafter abbreviated "SSO."

(71.) Hainsworth, J. B. (1988), A Commentary on Homer's Odyssey, vol. I (Books 1-8), eds. Heubeck, A., S. West, & J. B. Hainsworth. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 325 (comment Book 7.66ff).

(72.) This contradiction could be also explained due to a special utopian status of the queen, since the poet depicts the land of the Phaeacians with all sort of utopian features.

(73.) Wohl, V. J. (1993), "Standing by the Stathmos: The Creation of Sexual Ideology in the Odyssey," Arethusa 26: 30; hereafter abbreviated "SS."

(74.) For further information about that, see Martin, LH, 1-42.

(75.) An exception is, for example, when in Book 6 of the Iliad the poet shows us all the Trojan women going together to Athena's temple in order to ask for help from the goddess (Il. 6.287-305). Even though this is a gathering of free women, the women are ultimately obeying Hector's commands (Il. 6.268-279).

(76.) As in, for example, Od. 6.20-24 & Il. 3.175.

(77.) Pedrick, V. (1994), "Eurycleia and Eurynome as Penelope's Confidantes," in Epic and Epoch. Essays on the Interpretation and History of a Genre, eds. S. M. Oberhelman, V. Kelly, & R. J. Golsan. Lubbock, TX: Texas University Press, 97-116; hereafter abbreviated "EE."

(78.) The same opinion is shared by W. G. Thalman when he says that the exchange of gifts is a "primarily horizontal" mechanism of redistribution of goods among elites, (1998), The Swineherd and the Bow: Representations of Class in the Odyssey. Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press, 50; hereafter abbreviated RCO.

(79.) The fact of women having to wear a veil while in the presence of men is already a sign of the asymmetrical and patriarchal society we are speaking of. Naerebout distinguished six basic patterns to identify the asymmetry in male-female relationships, and wearing a veil is one of them. Naerebout, F. G. (1987), "Male-Female Relationships in the Homeric Epics" in Sexual Asymmetry. Studies in Ancient Society, ed. J. Block & P. Mason, 116. Even though Homer did not say anything about it, thanks to Euripides we know that women should not look directly at men. In Hecuba vv. 974-975, Hecuba says to the king Polimestor: "In any case, habit and custom excuse me/forbidding that a woman look directly at a man" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]).

(80.) The same happens in Book 18, when she has to have an encounter with the suitors, she requests the company of her maid servants: "But tell Autonoe and Hippodameia/to come, so that they can stand at my side in the great hall./I will not go alone among men. I think that immodest" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Od. 18.182-184).

(81.) Vidal-Naquet, P. (1986), The Black Hunter: Forms of Thought and Forms of Society in the Greek World, trans. A. Szegedy-Maszak. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.

(82.) Henry, M. M. (2011), "The Traffic in Women: from Homer to Hipponax, from War to Commerce," in Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean, 800 BCE-200 CE, ed. A. Glazebrook & M. M. Henry. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 14-33.

(83.) In any case, we should not overlook Harris' study on male and female slavery in the poems. His analysis of the considerable amount of male slaves in Odysseus' household is very meaningful. See Harris, E. M. (2012), "Homer, Hesiod, and the "Origins" of Greek Slavery," in REA 114: 15; hereafter abbreviated "HHS."

(84.) See, Il . 11.104-107 & Il. 21.77-79.

(85.) The first case is Andromache's mother (Il. 6.425-427) and the second is the well-known case of Chryseis; her father, Crises, priest of the god Apollo, tried to rescue her in the beginning of Book 1 of the Iliad, bringing a large ransom in exchange for his daughter (Il. 1.11ff.). Agamemnon refused to do this, despite the fact that every Achaean agreed in assembly to give the young girl back to her father (Il. 1.21-22). Eventually, due to Apollo's intervention, Agamemnon had to return her to her father and, besides, he was no longer able to accept the ransom. (Il. 1.98-99 & 440ff).

(86.) For further information about slavery in Ancient Greece, in general, and the society depicted in Homeric poems, in particular, see: Finley, M. I., TWO, especially 49-51, 54-56; Garlan, Y. (1988), Slavery in Ancient Greece, trans. Janet Lloyd. Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press; Finley, M. I. (1998), Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener; Thalmann, W. G., RCO, especially part 1; Gaca, K. L. (2010), "The Andropodizing of War Captives in Greek Historical Memory," in Transactions of the American Philological Association 140: 117-161, hereafter abbreviated "AWC"; Harris, M., "HHS" for a complete bibliography about this topic.

(87.) For example, the cases of Briseis and Chryseis, who were among Achilles and Agamemnon's plunder after both men sacked the women's communities.

(88.) K. L. Gaca interprets the simile in a new way. Concluding that what Homer is showing is a war scene; it depicts the anguish of a mother and a daughter running away from their male captors in (2008), "Reinterpreting the Homeric Simile of Iliad 16.7-11: The Girl and the Mother in Ancient Greek Warfare," American Journal of Philology 129(2): 146; hereafter abbreviated "RH."

(89.) See, for example, Nestor's words in Il. 2.354ff. when he says "let no man be urgent to take the way homeward/until after he has lain in bed with the wife of a Trojan" (Il. 2.354-355).

(90.) Traditionally, this term has meant "the mercantile transaction involved in trading or selling war captives as slaves or subjugates [... or] the enslaving or reducing to slavery" certain parts of the communities in war times, "RH," 122.

(91.) Cf. Od. 8.3; Od. 9.504; Od. 9.530; Od. 14.447; Od. 16.442; Od. 18.356; Od. 22.283; Od. 24.119; Il. 2.278; Il. 10.363. Odysseus is not the only one to whom this epithet is applied, it is also applied to Oileus (Il. 2.728), to Achilles (Il. 8.372; Il. 15.77; Il. 21.550; Il. 24.108) and to Otrynteus (Il. 20.384).

(92.) For example, Od. 9.39-61; Od. 14.228-234; Od. 14.262-265; Od. 23.356-358; Od. 24.111-113.

(93.) Which stands in contrast to the "relative autonomy" enjoyed by male slaves within Odysseus household.

(94.) As M. W. Edwards points out, the fact that Agamemnon emphasizes that he has not slept with Briseis serves to calm Achilles' jealousy, as the latter has mentioned several times his personal bond with the young lady (Il. 9.336-337, Il. 9.342-343). But on the other hand, it also had a role in ensuring that the property (Briseis)-that had been taken from him-is going to be returned without having been used or suffering any damage. See M. W. Edwards & G. S. Kirk (eds.) (1991), The Iliad: A Commentary, vol. V (Books 17-20). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 256-257.

(95.) This argument is confirmed by the words that Penelope says to Eurycleia in Od. 23.21-24, when the latter is going to wake Penelope up to notify her of Odysseus' arrival at home. Since Penelope does not believe her, she addresses the following words to the slave: "If any of those other women, who are here with me,/had come with a message like yours, and wakened me from my slumber,/I would have sent her back on her way to the hall in a hateful/fashion for doing it. It shall be your age that saves you."

(96.) For an interesting discussion of the dishonorable nature of death by hanging, see Loraux, N. (1995), The Experiences of Tiresias: The Feminine and the Greek Man, trans. by P. Wissing. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

(97.) It is worth remembering the agreement between Achilles and Priam in order to stop the fighting while the mourning for Hector lasts, "Nine days we would keep him in our palace and mourn him," says Priam to Achilles (Il. 24.664).

(98.) Finley analyzes how the distinction between a concubine and a wife was established. He concludes that it was a matter of the jurisdiction of the household. For further information about this issue, see "MSG," 190ff

(99.) Achilles says that he really loved Briseis and uses the term for a legal wife ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Il. 9.340) to describe her.

(100.) Furthermore, Achilles has already a new bedmate in Book 9 after declaring his seemingly total commitment to Briseis (Il. 9.663ff).

(101.) By contrast, Achilles says that he would prefer that his father had died or even his own son instead of Patroclus (Il. 19.322-327). Hector also says that he would prefer his parents' death to the enslavement of Andromache (Il. 6.450-454). In both examples it is clear which person is more important for the heroes.

(102.) Characterized by male control over female sexuality, female exclusion from public institutions, women used as objects of exchange for the sake of male alliances, and so on.

(103.) Bello Reguera, G. (2006), El valor de los otros. Mas alla d e la violencia intercultural. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 25: "la violencia excluyente no se presenta como violencia en estado puro, arbitraria y brutal, sino como violencia legitima y necesaria."

(104.) For further information about the alterity framework, see Bello Reguera, G. (2011), Emigracion y etica. Humanizar y deshumanizar. Madrid: Plaza y Valdes, especially 62-64.

(105.) Specifically, in Euripides' Hecuba, when Polymestor is speaking with Agamemnon, the latter says: "On behalf of all those dead who learned their hatred of women long ago, for those who hate them now, for those unborn who shall live to hate them yet, I now declare my firm conviction:/neither earth nor ocean produces a creature as savage and monstrous as woman" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), Hecuba, VV. 1178-1182). Just after, the coryphaeus criticize Polymestor's words, since it is not appropriate to generalize: "Do not presume Polymestor, whatever your provocation, to include all women in this sweeping curse without distinction" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Hecuba, vv. 1183-1184).

(106.) Objects and symbols of status in this "shame culture."

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BARBARA ALVAREZ RODRIGUEZ

balvarod@stanford.edu Stanford University

How to cite: Alvarez Rodriguez, Barbara (2017), "Alterity in Homer: A Reconceptualization of Female Marginalization," Journal of Research in Gender Studies 7(1): 83-122.

Received 3 December 2016 * Received in revised form 21 February 2017

Accepted 21 February 2017 * Available online 10 March 2017
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