Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Women in Power: Classical Myths and Stories, from the Amazons to Cleopatra

Posted July 3, 2024 by Stephanie in can't-wait wednesday / 6 Comments

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read.




Women in Power: Classical Myths and Stories, from the Amazons to Cleopatra, edited by Stephanie McCarter
Expected publication: September 10, 2024 by Penguin Classics

Classical stories about women who wield power, from the Amazons to Dido to Cleopatra

A Penguin Classic

There is no other anthology that brings together similar stories of ancient women in power. These women threaten male power by stepping into the roles traditionally held by men. They command armies, exercise sexual autonomy and even dominance, speak in public, issue laws, and subject others (even masculine heroes and citizen men) to their control. All of these stories were written by men, and none of them can be read as affirmations or celebrations of women in power. They are instead misogynistic tales that aim to shore up masculine authority by exposing the consequences when women rather than men wield it.

The sexist attitudes voiced in these stories continue to justify women’s exclusion from power in our contemporary world. Yet despite the fear and suspicion the male authors direct toward these women, we can find much to admire in their tales, from the coordinated action of the women of Aristophanes’s Assemblywomen, to Dido’s questioning of the male value system that leads Aeneas to abandon her, to the righteous anger of Boudicca against sexual violence by men in power, to the successful resistance of Amanirenas against Rome’s colonial expansion. Read differently, these tales testify to the long history of women in power and help us forge new paths for female empowerment.


This book just screams my name! I love classical stories, especially about powerful women + it’s edited by Stephanie McCarter who’s a classics professor and translator that I’ve been following on social media for a while. I can’t wait to read it! 😍



Are you also looking forward to this book? What do you think of it?
Leave links to your Can’t-Wait Wednesday post so I can stop by!



6 responses to “Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Women in Power: Classical Myths and Stories, from the Amazons to Cleopatra

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