The Journal of Modern Greek Studies is published by Johns Hopkins University Press, on behalf of the Modern Greek Studies Association (MGSA) and reprinted here with permission.


Women have long been considered marginal in rural Greek society. In the mythic realm of Greek heroic song, however, women are empowered over the life-cycle of the wandering male hero. Through their connections with the natural world, their management of all rites of passage, and their timely verbal expressions of panos in ritual laments, women control the hero's seasonality and have the power to bring his life full circle. The hero spends his youth as a wandering ksenitemenos whose life is external and sterile, occupied with the exclusively male· panos of trials of manhood. Once the hero returns home, he is near death and begins the task of reintegrating into the world of women; it is through their voices that his heroic glory is made immortal.



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