2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Functions of Women: The Contradiction of Life and Epic
Stephanie E. Fritz
Dr. Kathryn Brammall and Prof. Martha L. Rose, Faculty Mentors

Through the ages of history, women are often regarded as less important in affairs of their society then men. In the Roman society and the world of Carthage that Vergil writes about in The Aeneid, women lacked political control and a public voice in general, yet in the epic, Dido becomes the Queen of a city she founded independent of males. In ancient Mesopotamia, the life of the average woman was likewise restricted to the private sphere and yet the epic of Gilgamesh reflects an alternate image. Without the efforts of Shamhat in this epic, the city of Uruk would probably have fallen under their leader. In both cultures, women are insignificant, yet given massive importance in epic. In contrast, the Norse portray women as powerful and influential in their epics, but this reflects social and political reality closely. Why were women more powerful in Norse culture than their predecessors?

Keywords: women, epic, Carthage, Mesopotamia , Norse, Dido, Shamhat

History Senior Seminar

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 409-3
Location: VH 1236
Time: 3:00

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