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Dr Janett Morgan 


My research focuses on the role of sex, religion and human mobility in creating and expressing identity by Greek communities in the archaic and classical periods.

 

Elite mobility and identity

I am currently writing a monograph for the Edinburgh Studies in Ancient Iran series published by Edinburgh University Press. My contribution, entitled Greek Representations of the Achaemenids and their Empire: Persia through the Looking Glass, will be published in May 2013. It examines the different ways that Greeks acquired and represented knowledge of the ‘east’ and the Achaemenid Empire in the Archaic and Classical periods. I investigate the role of elite mobility in forging and maintaining contact across geographical boundaries in Greece and between Greek and communities in the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East. I further consider the role of contact in the creation of elite identities in Greece and the impact of political changes, such as the rise of the polis, on those identities in different Greek communities. My book examines the contexts in which Greeks met Persians, the journeys undertaken into Persia, the view of Persia seen by Greek travellers and how this view was carried back and disseminated in the communities of Greece. I re-examine and evaluate the evidence for contact with Achaemenid Persia in Macedonia, Ionia, Sparta and Athens and explore the different views of Persia that resulted from contact, taking into account the historical, political, social and archaeological factors that inspired and manipulated these different representations.

 

At home with the gods: household religion in classical Greece

In The Classical Greek House (Exeter and Bristol, 2010) I queried modern approaches to investigating ancient Greek domesticity, suggesting that we remain too reliant on models based on Athenian culture and on modern perceptions about houses. In At home with the gods: household religion in classical Greece I develop this research further by showing that a contextual study of household religion not only reveals significant regional variations in material evidence and practices between Greek communities but can also shed light on the different social, gender and political ideologies that underpin the structure of classical Greek cities.

 

‘Wild Sex: Erotic Agency and the Barbarian Woman’

Following expressions of interest from publishers at the CA conference, my fellow panellists and I decided to produce an edited volume, based on our ‘Wild Sex’ panel and are currently approaching contributors and putting together a proposal. The panel looked at the role of eroticism and sexuality in the construction of identities for Barbarian women. My paper, ‘Women in common’ or common women? Herodotus and the sexuality of barbarian women’, explored the role of sex in structuring ancient nomadic societies and re-interpreted Athenian relationships between men and women in light of this.