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Traditionally, classes and textbooks on Western history have had little to say about the lives of women in Western civilization. This lack of attention was largely due to the fact that women were officially excluded from politics and the military in such formative civilizations as Classical Greece and Rome, as well as being excluded from official positions within the early Christian Church. In fact, when women did draw the attention of historians in the Classical and Medieval eras, it was usually because these women were transgressing accepted norms in these male-dominated, hierarchical societies. However, as we now know, women contributed to these early societies in very important ways, not just as wives and mothers but, occasionally, as political leaders and even military figures. In this class, we’ll examine the political, social, and cultural forces that shaped women’s lives, and we’ll examine the lives of a few of the remarkable women who challenged these forces, both successfully and unsuccessfully.