Journal article

VERCINGETORIX MEETS MINERVA: GENDER, POLITICS AND CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY IN THE LETTERS OF LEON GAMBETTA AND LEONIE LEON

Susan K Foley

French History | OXFORD UNIV PRESS | Published : 2012

Abstract

This article explores the significance of appeals to classical antiquity in the correspondence between Léon Gambetta (a founder of the Third Republic) and his lover, Léonie Léon. The culture of classical antiquity was highly revered in nineteenth-century Europe, and its ancient republics inspired French republicans. Gambetta found in classical history and mythology examples of political partnerships between men and women that energized his relationship with Léon. But the legacy of antiquity also validated the republican vision of the couple, enshrining gender complementarity as a timeless cultural norm. While classical precedents enabled Gambetta to envisage women acting politically at a tim..

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