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ANAHITA  July 1997

ANAHITA July 1997

Subject:

Re: references, and water and fire

From:

Lisa A Auanger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 4 Jul 1997 00:15:27 CDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (52 lines)

Another mention of changes of gender can be found in Pliny's
*Natural History*, book 7.36.  Pliny reports that
while Publius Licinius Crassus and Gaius Cassius Longinus were
consuls, a girl changed into a boy at Casinum, in the presence of
her parents, apparently.  He also reports that Licinius Mucianus
saw a man who had been transformed from a woman (growing a beard, etc.)
at Argos, that the man even married, and that something similar
happened to a boy at Smyrna.  Pliny even claims to have
seen the transformation of someone into a man in Africa, on
the man's wedding day.

Surely this must be metaphorical and rhetorical? :)

On the women/spirituality/fire matter--In Roman coinage several
female divinities were shown with fire: Ceres, Vesta, Diana, Juno, Luna, and
others.  It was sometimes used in deification coinage for the
women of imperial clans.  Although this use was not gender specific, it is
notable that in the well known image of Sabina's (wife of Hadrian)
apotheosis, the divinity carrying woman and torch is female, but
on the base of the column of Antoninus Pius, the apparently torchless
figure carrying the couple, Antoninus and Faustina, is male. The role of
restoration and preservation is something that should be considered, of course.

What I find fascinating about the latter relief is the pair of
eagles: is one female, the other male?  Pliny tells another story of
one eagle coming to Livia upon betrothal to Augustus (15.136), and
elsewhere rdiscusses the habits of pairs of eagles (10.14 and 156).
(Having been frightened by a pair of large birds circling over me while I
was bicycling, I'm collecting lore that I not be frightened again...
they're just a couple of friendly birds, right? :)  And they know
humans are not bird food, especially vegetarians? :)  )  Does anyone
know of studies of `gendered animal behavior' and inerpretations thereof
which pertain to or are focussed on ancient Greek and Roman materials?

Lisa Auanger
Ph.D., Art History and Archaeology (commencement 8-1-97)
University of Missouri at Columbia

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