Festivals, Feasts, and Gender Relations in Ancient China and Greece

Festivals, Feasts, and Gender Relations in Ancient China and Greece

Yiqun Zhou

Language: English

Pages: 373

ISBN: 0521197627

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Ancient China and Greece are two classical civilizations that have exerted far-reaching influence in numerous areas of human experience and are often invoked as the paradigms in East-West comparison. This book examines gender relations in the two ancient societies as reflected in convivial contexts such as family banquets, public festivals, and religious feasts. Two distinct patterns of interpersonal affinity and conflict emerge from the Chinese and Greek sources that show men and women organizing themselves and interacting with each other in social occasions intended for collective pursuit of pleasure. Through an analysis of the two different patterns, Yiqun Zhou illuminates the different sociopolitical mechanisms, value systems, and fabrics of human bonds in the two classical traditions. Her book will be important for readers who are interested in the comparative study of societies, gender studies, women's history, and the legacy of civilizations.















Mother–son, Father–son, mothfather– er–daughter, daughter, brothers, sisters, brother– uncle–nephew, sister, etc. mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, sisters-in-law, etc. ExtraFriends, associates, Male lovers, NA familial neighbors, fellow female lovers citizens, etc. Familial Husband–wife Courtesans and patrons The categories of extrafamilial homosocial and extrafamilial homosexual relationships, however, and the connection between the two, call for clarification. While a sexual component is

accomplishment adds fame to his city; this acclaim is matched by “wild shouts” at the celebration. The “shouts” apparently refer to the lines that immediately follow, pronounced by Aristokleidas’ celebrating friends: “Perfection appears in mid-trial; / where one is meant for pre-eminence, child prevails over child, man among men / and elder is first with the old (Nem . 3.70–73; tr. Burnett 2005: 140). These assertions “suggest that a glimpse of ultimate excellence comes only during contest –

soon descend. The preparations continue into stanza 3. Various meats are grilled and broiled, and the food offerings are laid out. The sacrifice 16 17 18 Rawson (1999b: 22). Qin Zhaofen (2003: 16). The “Hymns” division (Odes 266–305) contains many pieces that may have been intended as direct addresses to the ancestors during sacrifices. Feasting is more elaborately described in the relevant songs in the Major and Minor Odes. Yao Jiheng (b. 1647), ST 11.335–336; Fang Yurun, SY 11.431; Maspero

important point remains in assessing the nature of this instance of communal festivity. We know from the rest of the poem that the farmers work on the estate of a lord, who is addressed as “the Descendant [of the Ancestors].” This title indicates that the celebrants belong to a patrilineal group and that the lord is the lineage head. It is from his perspective that they view the good harvest, and he stands to receive the blessings for which they pray to the gods. With this in mind, we can

king sends and eventually prevail over him. The play makes extensive use of the imagery of physical battles. See Benson (1995) and Dodds (1951: 270–280) for discussions of the maenads in Greek mythology, literature, and art. Public Festivals and Domestic Rites 183 lovers and freedom fighters, to defeat the female aggressors (lines 631– 634). It seems that the violation of gender norms is as abhorrent and unbearable as tyranny is, and that this is a most appropriate occasion for the Athenian

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