A gendered analysis of social and religious values in 5th century BCE illuminates the Athenian
decline from democracy to bully empire, through pursuit of a faux virility. Using a feminist
hermeneutics of suspicion, the study contrasts two playwrights bookending the empire:
Aeschylus, who elevated the sky pantheon Olympians and demoted both actual Athenian
women and the Furies—deities linked to maternal ties and nature, and Sophocles, who granted
Oedipus, his maternal incest purified, an apotheosis in the Furies’ grove. The latter work,
presented at the Athenian tragic festival some 50 years after the first, advocated restoration
of respect for female flesh and deity. This redemptive narrative placed the life of Athens—
democracy and empire—in the wider context of Nature. Present-day parallels are drawn.
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Schavrien, J. (2010). Schavrien, J. (2010). War and nature in classical Athens and today: Demoting and restoring the underground goddesses. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 29(2), 153–179.. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 29 (2). Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.ciis.edu/ijts-transpersonalstudies/vol29/iss2/14