Melōsa and her prize: the victory of a woman in Ancient Greece

Ian Plant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The earliest example of the Ancient Greek word for a victor's prize, nikatērion, comes in a verse inscription from the sixth century bce on an Attic kylix (wine cup) from Taras. It records the victory of Melōsa in a competition with other young women. This article draws out the significance of her victory and redefines our understanding of who she was. Previous interpretations which define Melōsa by her relationship to men are rejected. Instead, it is argued that Melōsa's verse defines her place within a female world. This inscription is significant in the pursuit of feminist historical recovery, revealing aspects of female–female social relationships outside the confines of the traditional male–female paradigm.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalGender and History
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Aug 2022


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