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date: 27 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the nexus between childhood gender and the variables of age and social status in fifth-century BCE Athens. Employing the evidence of ancient Greek literature and of Athenian funerary archeology and iconography, it demonstrates that from a gender-neutral infant stage the engendering of boys and girls subsequently proceeded along markedly different trajectories and at markedly different rates. In the case of the Athenian girl, the foundations of social puberty were laid many years before biological puberty, thus facilitating her socialization along a linear route that involved the progressive intensification of female identity. By contrast, the engendering of the Athenian boy was a lengthier and more complex affair that saw the development of social puberty largely follow biological puberty. This resulted in an extended adolescent phase during which male and female gendered identities coexisted within the male’s person, this mutability of gender being significant in his full maturation as a future Athenian citizen.

Keywords: gender, age, social status, childhood, Athens, iconography, funerary archeology, socialization

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