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The Craft of Zeus

The Craft of Zeus

Myths of Weaving and Fabric

John Scheid, Jesper Svenbro

Translated by Carol Volk

ISBN 9780674005785

Publication date: 05/16/2001

The fundamental gesture of weaving in The Craft of Zeus is the interlacing of warp and woof described by Plato in The Statesman—an interweaving signifying the union of opposites. From rituals symbolizing—even fabricating—the cohesion of society to those proposed by oracles as a means of propitiating fortune; from the erotic and marital significance of weaving and the woven robe to the use of weaving as a figure for language and the fabric of the text, this lively and lucid book defines the logic of one of the central concepts in Greek and Roman thought—a concept that has persisted, woof and warp crossing again and again, as the fabric of human history has unfolded.


  • [An] elegant exploration… This is a constantly challenging and entertaining little book… [It] sheds new light on old texts and explores important areas of ancient mentalities in ways which enliven and stimulate.

    —Nick Fisher, Times Literary Supplement


  • John Scheid is Director of Study at the École Pratique des Hautes Études at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris.
  • Jesper Svenbro is a Fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Paris.

Book Details

  • 240 pages
  • 5-1/4 x 8 inches
  • Harvard University Press