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Cretan WomenPasiphae, Ariadne, and Phaedra in Latin Poetry$
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Rebecca Armstrong

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284030

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284030.001.0001

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Vice and Virtue

Vice and Virtue

(p.109) 3 Vice and Virtue
Cretan Women


Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the myths from another angle, starting from the stereotypes of vice attributed to Cretans in general and Cretan women in particular: the lies and the sexual intemperance. The scandalous stories of lust and deception understandably give rise to a bad press, and the first part of the chapter examines the ways in which the Latin representations of the Cretan women confirm this reputation. The chapter shows the possibility that the Cretan women can be seen in some senses as victims as well as perpetrators of vice, and attempts to redeem them further, to see if they can make any claim to some ancient concept of virtue despite their wicked deeds. Moving from virtue externally viewed to a woman's own sense of self-respect, it considers Ariadne's use of soliloquy, and the way in which the absence of an audience is in some ways positive, enabling a preservation of dignity.

Keywords:   Cretan women, myths, Ariadne, adultery, betrayal

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