© 2017

Motherhood in Antiquity

  • Dana Cooper
  • Claire Phelan


  • Covers a wide geographic range from Byzantium to Mesoamerica to India

  • Utilizes a wide range of methodologies and analytical approaches

  • Includes contributions from experts in women's history


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Dana Cooper, Claire Phelan
    Pages 1-5
  3. Motherhood and Religion

  4. Motherhood and Politics

  5. Motherhood and Identity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 143-143
    2. Emily Teeter
      Pages 145-167
    3. Kathryn M. Hudson, John S. Henderson
      Pages 223-256
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 257-267

About this book


This edited collection examines concepts and realities of motherhood in the ancient world. The collection uses essays on the Roman Empire, Mesoamerica, the Philippines, Egypt, and India to emphasize the concept of motherhood as a worldwide phenomenon and experience. While covering a wide geographical range, the editors arranged the collection thematically to explore themes including the relationship between the mother, particularly ruling mothers, and children and the mother in real life and legend. Some essays explore related issues, such as adaptation and child custody after divorce in ancient Egypt and the mother in religious culture of late antiquity and the ancient Buddhist Indian world. The contributors utilize a variety of methodologies and approaches including textual analysis and archaeological analysis in addition to traditional historical methodology.


motherhood in war Bronze Age Egypt Greece Rome Byzantium

Editors and affiliations

  • Dana Cooper
    • 1
  • Claire Phelan
    • 2
  1. 1.Stephen F. Austin State UniversityNacogdochesUSA
  2. 2.University of Mary Hardin-BaylorBeltonUSA

About the editors

Dana Cooper is Professor of History at Stephen F. Austin State University, USA. 

Claire Phelan is an Associate Professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, USA. She regularly teaches courses on women's history and presents on issues relating to gender at professional conferences.

Bibliographic information


“This is a fascinating and much-needed contribution to the study of motherhood, with remarkable interdisciplinary and international appeal. The broad geographical scope of these essays, from Mesoamerica and Egypt to India, is an excellent corrective to the usual focus on European mothers. Motherhood in Antiquity is an important step towards viewing motherhood as a global phenomenon.” (Katarzyna Kosior, University of Southampton)