Domestic architecture as rhetorical device: The gynaeconitis in Greek and Roman thought Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
  • McArdle, Kelly
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Classics
  • In this thesis, I explore the gap between persistent literary reference to the gynaeconitis, or “women’s quarters,” and its elusive presence in the archaeological record, seeking to understand why it survived as a conceptual space in Roman literature several centuries after it supposedly existed as a physical space in fifth and fourth-century Greek homes. I begin my study by considering the origins of the gynaeconitis as a literary motif and contemplating what classical Greek texts reveal about this space. Reflecting on this information in light of the remains of Greek homes, I then look to Roman primary source material to consider why the gynaeconitis took up a strong presence in Roman thought. I argue that Roman writers, although far-removed from fifth and fourth-century Greek homes, found the gynaeconitis most useful as a mutable and efficient symbol of male control and a conceptual locus of identity formation.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • O'Hara, James
  • Duncan, Alexander
  • Valladares, Herica
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2018

This work has no parents.