Marginalised Populations in the Ancient Greek World

The Bioarchaeology of the Other

Carrie L. Sulosky Weaver

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Explores literary, visual, material and biological evidence of marginality in the ancient Greek world
  • Provides the first comprehensive and contextual treatment of the biological evidence for marginality in the ancient Greek world
  • Argues that intersectionality was the driving factor behind social marginalisation in the Late Archaic/Classical Greek world
  • Considers social marginalisation from the vantage point of mortuary evidence

Studies of the ancient Greek world have typically focused on the life histories of elite males as the group that has made the most distinct mark on ancient Greek literature, art and material culture. As a result, the voices of foreigners, the physically impaired, the impoverished and the generally disenfranchised have been silent, which has substantially complicated the creation of a historical narrative of these marginalised groups.

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List of Figures Abbreviations and SpellingsAcknowledgements

Introduction: Hidden Lives

1. Definitions and Reception of the Marginalised in Art and Literature

2. Disability

3. Socioeconomic Status

4. Ancestry and Ethnicity

Conclusion: Marginality at the Intersections


The book does an excellent job in terms of its primary aim: to familiarize in a comprehensible way non-specialist readers with the nature of osteo-archaeological evidence and the techniques employed by specialists, the interpretations that can be deduced from the evidence and the methodological pitfalls, and the existing osteo-archaeological corpora that have been analysed so far. The author makes evident how much ancient historians can learn from this body of evidence; at the same time, it also illustrates the extent to which interpretations will need to develop further: how exactly should we interpret the surprising evidence that skeletons from the Laurion mines seem to share the same diet with those of Athens? Clearly, there is much to be learnt, and co-operation between historians and bioarchaeologists will enhance the value of the evidence.
Kostas Vlassopoulos, University of Crete, Greece & Rome

Sulosky Weaver presents a compelling and lively interpretation of the marginalized people in ancient Greece—their young, old, sick, rich, poor, and infirm—based on her extraordinary context-based investigation of their skeletal remains. The book is a must read for anyone interested in this remarkable setting and its people.

Clark Spencer Larsen, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Ohio State University
Carrie L. Sulosky Weaver is a researcher associated with the Department of Classics at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the co-editor (with R. M. Gondek) of The Ancient Art of Transformation: Case Studies from Mediterranean Contexts (Oxbow Books, 2019) and the author of The Bioarchaeology of Classical Kamarina: Life and Death in Greek Sicily (University Press of Florida, 2015).

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