"Though not a textbook per se, this work will be of immense help for the scholar who has heretofore simply catalogued information about gender, as it engages theoretical approaches."
-Religious Studies Review
Representations of sexual difference (whether visual or textual) have become an area of much theoretical concern and investigation in recent feminist scholarship. Yet although a wide range of relevant evidence survives from the ancient Near East, it has been exceptional for those studying women in the ancient world to stray outside the traditional bounds of Greece and Rome. Women of Babylon is a much-needed historical/art historical study that investigates the concepts of femininity which prevailed in Assyro-Babylonian society. Zainab Bahrani's detailed analysis of how the culture of ancient Mesopotamia defined sexuality and gender roles both in, and through, representation is enhanced by a rich selection of visual material extending from 6500 BC - 1891 AD. Professor Bahrani also investigates the ways in which women of the ancient Near East have been perceived in classical scholarship up to the nineteenth century.
Thoroughly grounded in current theoretical and methodological debates, this study will also be welcomed for making the neglected Near Eastern record on women and gender available to a new, wider audience, and for providing a valuable introduction to feminist criticism for students of ancient history and Near Eastern antiquity.