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Gender roles and non-binary representation in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt

Wiley, Emily (2022) Gender roles and non-binary representation in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This thesis analyzes how artistic depictions of different genders are represented in Ancient Egyptian art as more binary under the influences of Ancient Greek and Roman rule. I demonstrate this development through the archaeological record of remaining sculptures and other human figurines, as well as literary sources and historical interpretation, which indicate a shift in artistic style and other societal norms. Furthermore, many of these samples are artifacts of the elite and wealthy upper classes who had the time and resources to commission such art. My focus is on the time period when Ptolemy I Soter started his Egyptian monarchal dynasty in 305 B.C.E., and after Rome seized Egypt as a colony in the Battle of Actium of 31 B.C.E. While sex is traditionally contrasted between the masculine and feminine, non-binary is a term that refers to a gender which does not identify with either male or female. Ancient Egypt itself had its own gendered art characteristics and history of androgynous sculptures and figures, usually in the representations of the gods and monarchs. However, with the cultural influences of the non-Egyptian monarchs, ruling figures and other depictions of gender identities display more hyper-feminine and hyper-masculine characteristics. Yet, androgynous artistic sculptures decrease during the Roman reign with the Greek sexualization of androgyny and different ideals towards depictions of women than the Romans. As the gender roles of the matronae and viri are more enforced within artistic depictions in Roman Egypt, the number of non-binary traits decreases in Roman Egyptian art because the ideal values change, allowing traditional Roman ideals of femininity and masculinity to take precedence over the actual appearance of the individual.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wiley, Emilyemw117@pitt.eduemw117
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWildberg, Christianchw168@pitt.educhw168
Committee MemberCoughlan, Taylortsc43@pitt.edutsc43
Committee MemberLee, Ellenellen.lee@pitt.eduellen.lee
Committee MemberPeters,
Date: 28 April 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 March 2022
Approval Date: 28 April 2022
Submission Date: 18 April 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 75
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Classics
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Classics, non-binary, gender, representation, Egypt, Ptolemaic, Roman Egypt
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2022 19:46
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2022 19:46

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  • Gender roles and non-binary representation in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. (deposited 28 Apr 2022 19:46) [Currently Displayed]


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