There is a general perception that almost all writing in antiquity was done by men. However, some important literature written by women during this period has survived, and many other women writers published work that has not been preserved. Women Writers of Ancient Greece and Rome is a comprehensive anthology of the surviving literary texts of women writers from the Greco-Roman world, offering new translations of the work of over fifty women. From Sappho, who lived in the seventh century BC, through to Eudocia and Egeria in the fifth century AD, the texts come from a wide range of sources: few works have survived intact, and many are known to us only through literary quotations, scraps of papyrus or even graffiti. Women's literature in the ancient world spanned the fields of poetry and prose. There is lyric, epic and Christian poetry, along with prose works in history, medicine, alchemy, oratory and philosophy. In addition to genuine works by women, antiquity witnessed the creation of pseudonymous texts which were attributed to famous people (including some women); examples of these are included in this collection.
Each author is introduced with a critical review of what we know about the writer, her work and the significance of her work, along with discussion of the texts which follow. The general introduction looks into the problem of the authenticity of some texts attributed to women and places literature by women into the wider literary and social contexts of the ancient Greco-Roman world.