Open House | Weaver as a Hero with Susan T Edmunds

We were pleased to welcome Susan T. Edmunds for our Open House discussion, about weaving and the weaver as hero.

The following videos would be helpful in starting the conversation.

To prepare for this event you may like to read the following focus passages below.

The event was recorded, and you can watch this discussion in the frame below, or on our YouTube channel.

Hector to Andromache:
“But go to the house and busy yourself with your own tasks, the loom and the distaff, and tell your handmaids to ply their work: and war will be the  concern for men, all of those who live in Ilios, but especially for me.”
Iliad VI 490–493 (Loeb translation)

But Iris went as a messenger to white-armed Helen in the likeness of her husband’s sister, the wife of Antenor’s son, her that lord Helicaon, Antenor’s son, had to wife, Laodice, the fairest of the daughters of Priam. She found Helen in the hall, where she was weaving a great purple web of double fold [in double weave] on which she was embroidering [in which she was portraying] many battles of the horse-taming Trojans and the bronze-clad Achaeans, which for her sake they had endured at the hands of Ares.
Iliad III 121–128 (Loeb translation with corrections in square brackets)

…but she was weaving a tapestry in the innermost part of the lofty house, a purple tapestry of double fold [in double weave], and in it she was weaving flowers of varied hue.
Iliad XXII 440–441 (of Andromache) (Loeb translation with corrections in square brackets)

“And she contrived in her heart this guileful thing also: she set up in her halls a great web and fell to weaving–fine of thread was the web and very wide…”
Odyssey II 93–110 (of Penelope, Loeb translation)

…close after him sped noble Odysseus, close as is the weaving rod to the breast of a fair-belted woman when she deftly draws it in her hands, pulling the spool past the warp, and holds the rod near to her breast…
Iliad XXIII 759–763 (Loeb translation)

Kreusa  Look for a piece of weaving which I did while just a child.
Ion What sort of weaving? Young girls do a lot of weaving.
K. It is incomplete, like a sample from the pin-beater.
I. What figure does it have on it? I ask so you don’t take me in with this.
K. There is a Gorgon in the center threads of the material.
I. O Zeus, what destiny seeks me out like a hunter?
K. It is edged with snakes in the manner of the aegis.
I. Look! Here is the piece of weaving …
K. Ah, girlish work of my loom seen after so long.
Euripides, Ion 1417–1425

Members may like to continue the discussion on this Forum thread.

Mentioned in the discussion:

Susan T Edmunds’ article, Picturing Homeric Weaving, is available online (in Donum natalicium digitaliter confectum Gregorio Nagy)

Featured image

vase painting showing weavingTerracotta black-figure
Accession Number: 31.11.10 The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, NY