2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Divine Uteri: Sexual Control over Men for the Roman Greater Good
Stephanie E. Fritz
Prof. Martha L. Rose and Dr. Kathryn Brammall, Faculty Mentors

Dido, founder and Queen of Carthage, is central to the Roman version of the Carthaginian foundation tale. A pawn of the goddesses, her feminine sway and sexual prowess led to the fall of Carthage and rise of Rome. Deeper appreciation of divinely granted sexual power results from comparing ancient tales. Both Dido in Virgil's Aeneid and Shamhat, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, were granted the ability to tame the men around them with their legendary sexual flair, and in doing so, to shape the destiny of their realms. Although separated by two thousand years and products of very different ancient cultures, the basic tale of gendered power remained the same: both women influenced their respective societies through their sexual allure. Both epics demonstrated the use and abuse of female sexuality. In Dido's case, the result was her own conflagration, a retrospective prediction of the conflagration of Carthage in 146 BCE.

Keywords: Dido, Shamhat, Carthage, Mesopotamia

Topic(s):Carthage Did Not Die - Phi Alpha Theta History

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 204-2
Location: MG 1090
Time: 9:45

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