Local historian Dr Kate McLardy is fascinated by the Thesmophoria and the Adonia: two women’s festivals that took place in the Hellenistic Period.

The Thesmophoria was an annual autumn festival in honour of the goddess Demeter, and was celebrated by married Athenian women citizens.

The Adonia was a festival more widely celebrated by women from all backgrounds and statuses, and was an annual event involving dancing and singing, the planting of quick-growing plants, and other rituals in honour of Adonis, the short-lived consort of Aphrodite.

On Thursday 14 June, Dr McLardy will present a lecture at the Greek Centre focusing on how these festivals can be reconstructed.

She considers both their evolution over time and place and, crucially, the impact that these festivals would have had on the women who celebrated them.

She utilises surviving literary as well as epigraphic, archaeological and iconographic evidence.

Dr McLardy stresses the importance of recognising that rituals such as the Thesmophoria and the Adonia were multifaceted and require broad study in order to comprehend how ancient women’s rituals really worked within their historical contexts.

Her research draws from a number of different disciplines in order to shed new light on these festivals by considering them from different perspectives.

Her theoretical model emphasises the experience of the ancient participants, and through the functions of the festivals she seeks to identify the effect such events had on ancient Greek women and their broader communities. The Greek History and Culture Seminars series is organised and hosted by the Greek Community of Melbourne, and provides the opportunity for everyone to experience the long and fascinating history of Greece and Greek culture in its various forms and stages.

All seminars are free and open to the general public.

* Dr Kate McLardy recently completed her PhD at Monash University. Although a Classicist, her MA was in Ancient History and she did honours in Egyptology as well as Classics which sparked her interest in interdisciplinary methods of examining the Classical evidence.

‘Women’s Festivals in the Hellenistic Period: An Interdisciplinary Approach’ will be presented on Thursday 14 June at the Greek Centre (168 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC) at 7.00 pm. Attendance is free. To find out more, visit greekcommunity.com.au