Marpessa detta Choira e Ares Gynaikothoinas
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Pausanias' account which links the epiklesis Gynaikothoinas, assigned to Ares in Tegea, with a Tegean victory over the Spartans, obtained thanks to the essential contribution of the women lead by Marpessa, called Choira, is clearly of aetiological nature. What is represented here is a situation of inversion, the female element having exceptionally taken possession of a war god (Ares), specific functions (war and celebration of sacrifice) and also a site (the agora) usually reserved for males. Recentinterpretations are inclined to explain Ares as a god of fecundity, or suggest for women a role they never played in warfare. Far more plausible and convincing, however, is the idea that Pausanias' account implies a reversal of the ordinary, in which Ares still maintains his characteristics of a war god.
Papers from the third international seminar on Ancient Arcadia, held at the Norwegian Institute at Athens, 7-10 May 2002
PublisherThe Norwegian Institute at Athens
SeriesPapers of the Norwegian Institute at Athens