An Interview with Professor Jeremy Rutter

Jeremy Rutter is a professor of Classical Archaeology at Dartmouth College. He is a Chairman of the Classics Department at Dartmouth and is well published in the area of the Classics.

These questions and answers were taken from an interview recorded with Professor Jeremy Rutter on November 10,1995 at Dartmouth College. The answers are paraphrased from his responses.

Table of Contents

Q: What was the role of women in the men's games?

A: In the men's games that were held in honor of Zeus, only certain women were allowed to watch. The only married woman was the Priestess of Demeter and the rest were young unmarried women. These unattached women were allowed to watch because there was a connection between watching the games and finding a husband. The women were to watch the beautiful bodies and talk with their brothers or father about the one man each wants as their mate.

Q: Did women ever participate as athletes?

A: Women did participate in the games that were held in honor of the Goddess Hera. They ran the race known as the Heraia. However, not in the complete nude but rather in a short skirt that hit above the knee and in a tunic that left one breast exposed.

The premiere women athletes came from Sparta. Spartans believed that fit and healthy woman that exercised regularly would have fit and healthy children. The belief held by the Spartans is radically different than those held by the Athenians who believe women should be covered up and not seen.

Q: What were the rewards of being a victor?

(176K) A: The fame that would have been attached to their names, after their victory, was what really motivated these people. And these various things, like the victory parade, and the front row seat, and the statue and so on and so forth, were ways of guaranteeing that that fame would be not just momentary but everlasting and would continue forever, even after their death"