Spantidaki S. 2016 Textile Production in Classical Athens. Oxford, Oxbow Books, Ancient Textiles Series 27.
Older than any other ancient craft, textile technology is an instance of cognitive archaeology that provides vital information about society. In ancient Greece, textiles were considered among the principal and most fundamental cultural expressions. Athena, the goddess of the city, of intelligence and of skill was also the patron goddess of weaving. She taught the craft of textile production to women thus making them conduits of civilisation. During Classical times, textile production was a fundamental part of the economy and was practiced also by men in both the domestic and artisanal spheres. The resulting technological sophistication is reflected on depictions of discrete or elaborate patterns, on the rich diversity of textile implements and on the variety in the quality of the extant textiles.
Textile Production in Classical Athens comes to fill a scientific gap in Greek textile archaeology. For the first time, Stella Spantidaki provides the synthesis of the available evidence from textual, iconographic and archaeological sources on textile production in 5th and 4th century BC Athens from an interdisciplinary perspective that sets the frame for future research in the field. After an overview of the social context of the production, the book follows the technical stages of the chain of operation and ends with an annex containing a list of ancient Greek terms related to textile production, a catalogue of extant textiles from Classical Athens and preliminary research on ancient textile tools from Attica. Apart from textile specialists, this work will be of interest to ancient history scholars, historians of technology and students and will lead to a better understanding of ancient Greek textile production and Classical Athenian society.