Review by Choice Review
These essays from a 2002 international conference offer new socially relevant insights into familiar works of antiquity. An art historian probes meanings and ambiguities of color and gender in clothing worn by Justinian and Theodora in the oft-reproduced mosaics of San Vitale Church, Ravenna. A flounced skirt and breast-exposing bodice on Crete's "snake goddess," pictured in many history texts, is better understood as resulting from an archaeologist's analysis of intricately draped versus tailored clothes depicted on Minoan artifacts and sites. Literature students learn how Homer and Hesiod used clothing to represent social roles and status in the world of Helen, Hector, Ulysses, and Penelope. Theater costumers can benefit from knowing how Cecil B. DeMille utilized archaeological evidence and fantasy for dressing biblical characters in imaginatively designed clothes with popular appeal for 1950s audiences. A classicist asks if Greek and Roman women wore a bra? If so, was it similar or different from modern brassieres in design, function, and social relevance? These 15 interesting, innovative essays by scholars of antiquity from Great Britain, the US, Scotland, Sicily, and Israel offer challenging directions for continued research using precision studies of garment construction, fibers and fabrics, and, especially, their meanings in social contexts. Footnotes and extensive bibliography. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. B. B. Chico Regis University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.