Emma BridgesFeb 1, 2024
Ancient Greek Myth and Modern Experience
Oxford University Press 2023
Epic poetry and tragic drama provide us with some of the richest ancient Greek depictions of women who are married to soldiers. In tales of the Trojan War, as told by Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, we encounter these mythical warriors' wives: Penelope, isolated but resourceful as she awaits the return of Odysseus after his lengthy absence; the war widow Andromache, enslaved and displaced from her homeland after the fall of Troy; the unfaithful and murderous Clytemnestra; and Tecmessa, a war captive who witnesses her partner's breakdown and suicide in the aftermath of battle.
Warriors' Wives: Ancient Greek Myth and Modern Experience (Oxford University Press, 2023) by Dr. Emma Bridges compares the experiences of these mythical characters with those of contemporary military spouses. Dr. Bridges traces aspects of the lives of warriors' wives—mythical and real, ancient and modern—from the moment of farewell, through periods of separation and reunion, to the often traumatic aftermath of war, to consider the emotional, psychological, and social impacts of life as a military spouse. By unearthing a wealth of contemporary evidence for the lives of the often silenced and unacknowledged partners of those who serve in the military, and by examining this alongside the ancient stories of warriors' wives, Warriors' Wives sheds fresh light on the experience of being married to the military.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.