This essay explores the function of women in tragic recognition and its implications for understanding the genre and ancient Greek conceptions of gender more generally. It begins with the premise that recognition is a reciprocal process that confers social identity on the participants and affirms the importance of kin ties. Women are critical to discovery because of their knowledge of the material markers of male identity, whether physical scars or objects wrought or managed by them. Through their supervision of these tokens, particularly textiles, they are represented as maintaining and transmitting the knowledge of the past, indispensable to the recovery and preservation of male identity within the oikos.

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