Title

Marriage, Identity, the Tale of Mestra in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women

Abstract

Fragment 43a of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women tells the lively tale of Mestra, a female shape-shifter who supports her father through serial marriages. I argue that this narrative demonstrates a typical mythic pattern, in which female shape-shifting is both a method of avoiding marriage and emblematic of an unmarried woman's unstable social position. I argue further that this version of Mestra's story in particular represents an attempt to mediate a question that was becoming increasingly important in sixth-century Athens, namely: to which household does a bride belong, her father's or her husband's?

Publisher

Johns Hopkins University Press

Publication Date

9-1-2004

Publication Title

American Journal of Philology

Department

Classics

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1353/ajp.2004.0030

Keywords

Hesiod, Catalogue of women, Marriage--Mythology, Metamorphosis--Mythology, Mythology, Greek, Athens (Greece)--Social life and customs, Marriage law--Greece--Athens--History

Language

English

Format

text

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