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Encyclopedia of women in the ancient world /

Main Author: Salisbury, Joyce E.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 2001
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Review by Choice Review

Salisbury's encyclopedia provides general readers with entries ranging from biographies of women and female mythological entities to general cultural and cross-cultural subjects dating from roughly 3000 BCE to 500 CE. Most entries feature Persian, Greek, and Roman women, but there are Germanic and Celtic representatives as well. All entries begin with a few paragraphs that place the subject in historical context and end with cross-references and suggested readings. Excellent maps, genealogical charts, and indexing make the work easy to use, while the prose style entices readers to delve into the content. Other multivolume works provide greater detail about the role women have played throughout history, but none encapsulates so well the lives of women in ancient times in one volume, nor do other works provide a Web site (Sophia, ) that supports and enhances the material. General and undergraduate readers. M. Brunsdale Illinois State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

This world as defined here is the ancient Mediterranean world, with Persia and a little of northern Europe and the British Isles added. The period covered is from prehistory to approximately A.D. 500. The cutoff date means that Theodora, who ruled the Byzantine world with Justinian in the mid-500s and is one of the best known "women of the ancient world," is not included. However, there are more than enough other interesting women to make the work useful. The approximately 230 A-Z entries range from a few paragraphs to several double-columned pages, with the average being about three columns. They cover individual women, whether historical (Aspasia, Boudicca, Hatshepsut, Livia), mythological (Artemis, Isis), or biblical (Eve, Ruth), and a number of cultural and social topics, including Contraception, Jewelry, Prostitution, and Work. There are entries devoted to various groups, including Jewish women, Persian women, and Roman women. Each entry includes see also references and suggestions for further reading. Some articles are illustrated with photographs of statues, coins, or frescoes. The volume also contains maps and genealogical charts. A list of "Entries by Category" complements the index by grouping entries under cultural group or region. One error was noted. In the entry Danae, Acrisius is referred to as Perseus' father, when he was in fact the hero's grandfather. Variant spellings, especially from non-Roman alphabets (e.g., Rebekah instead of Rebecca), may cause confusion. This volume should be helpful to high-school students, undergraduates, and general readers. Other titles, such as Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Greek and Roman Women (Facts On File, 2000), cover some of the same ground, but Encyclopedia of Women in the Ancient World is broader in scope.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.