Mary Lefkowitz is Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Wellesley College. Her books include Not Out of Africa and Black Athena Revisited, which she edited with Guy Rogers. (June 1997)

Fruits of the Loom

When Pythagoras’ wife Theano was asked how she could ever become as renowned as her husband, she replied, quoting theIliad, “by plying the loom and sharing his bed.” In the Iliad these words are spoken by Chryseis, the young woman captive who became Agamemnon’s favorite concubine. The ancients, in short, …