Pandora’s Jar : Women in the Greek Myths
Author: Natalie Haynes
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The Greek myths are among the world’s most important cultural building blocks and they have been retold many times, but rarely do they focus on the remarkable women at the heart of these ancient stories. Now, in Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Pandora and her jar (the box came later) as the starting point, she puts the women of the Greek myths on equal footing with the menfolk.
Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Aeschylus. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories. And when they do, those women are often painted as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil.
But Pandora – the first woman, who according to legend unloosed chaos upon the world – was not a villain, and even Medea and Phaedra have more nuanced stories than generations of retellings might indicate. After millennia of stories telling of gods and men, be they Zeus or Odysseus, the voices that sing from these pages are those of Hera, Athena and Artemis, and of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Eurydice and Penelope.
‘A treasure box of classical delights. Never has ancient misogyny been presented with so much wit and style’ – historian Amanda Foreman
‘Funny, sharp explications of what these sometimes not-very-nice women were up to!’ – Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale