Strong Women

Myth and history of Classical antiquity refer to countless female figures who demonstrate great strength. The goddesses are at the top of the list. But the exhibition is not about goddesses, for they are by nature superhumanly strong. And we are only marginally interested in the countless women in ancient history who could be called "strong" in today's sense of the word: powerful queens, poetesses, influential wives or hetaerae. For the stories of their lives have been passed down only fragmentarily and are hard to retrace with any degree of credibility. Our "strong women" are derived from myth, not from historical reality. They are characterised by special traits that are sometimes not even very positive or by the fact that they led a life that was unusual for a woman. Myth heightens the "strength" of these women to the extreme and condenses their fates from individual personalities to universal archetypes.

The epitome of the "strong women" of ancient times are to this day the Amazons. Homer described them as being "like men". For the Amazons loved to fight, which is something that only men did. And they lived without men. The latter were only needed for reproduction purposes. Hence for the Greeks, the Amazons were dangerous, barbaric strangers.

The exhibition shows over 110 vases with images on this theme. It includes many items on loan from other European museums. Besides the vases there are several terracotta and bronze figures, a few works in marble and coins with depictions of strong women. A few replicas of the few statues and reliefs of "strong women" that remain today enrich the exhibition.