The Identity of the Wool-Workers in the Attic Manumissions
In the second half of the 4th century, the names of manumitted men and women and their occupations were inscribed on stones and displayed, presumably on the Athenian Acropolis. More than four-fifths of those identified as female are designated as “wool-workers” (ταλασιουργοί), and scholars have debated whether these women were domestic slaves, or professional slaves who were able to purchase their own freedom. Drawing upon iconographic, literary, and archaeological evidence, the author revisits the “spinning έταίρα” debate, arguing that the ταλασιουργοί were primarily prostitutes and that the designation ταλασιουργός was used essentially to avoid the stigma associated with their trade.
Wrenhaven, Kelly L. "The Identity of the Wool-Workers in the Attic Manumissions” Hesperia 78.3 (2009): 367-386