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At the heart of this study is the violent crime committed in ancient Greek society against women and by women. These themes, intensely debated and increasingly the focus of current research, have grown in importance within the wider study of gender and sexuality in the ancient world. The authors examine the portrayal of violence across a range of sources to develop a picture of gender and crime in ancient Greek law, literature, myth and society.
The volume breaks new ground because it adopts an evolutionary biological approach to the subject, in particular by examining the research of psychologists Margo Wilson and Martin Daly, who in their studies of contemporary sexual crime mooted that sexual jealousy is at the root of the majority of violent acts including murder. Deacy and McHardy explore how this modern study can be brought to bear on Classical scholarship around the same themes in antiquity. They also provide a methodological approach that combines 'grand' theory with an exploration of cultural contexts and historical development, considering the critiques from recent decades of the universalist premises that grew out of second wave feminism.
Exploring such theoretical issues in the first two chapters, each subsequent, thematic, chapter will examine evidence from a range of sources and conclude with a case study.