Depictions of the mythical queen Clytemnestra in Classical Greek tragedy consistently utilized her character as a means to vilify the maternal figure. The failed defense of her motherhood brought conceptions of biological parentage to the forefront, sustaining a societal belief in patriarchal hegemony by discounting a mother’s role in reproduction. This rejection was not a novel occurrence, however; contemporary literature featured numerous manifestations of gender ideology, including applications of the apian metaphor. Philosophers and poets harnessed the didactic power of the beehive to espouse patriarchal and often misogynistic beliefs that routinely—though not always—debased the female role, reducing her intrinsic value to her function as a vessel for a male’s offspring. It is this very ideology that permeated Greek considerations of the mother, whether in discussions of Clytemnestra, the queen bee, or a physical patient requiring reproductive care. Ancient gynecological writings not only served as authoritative texts well into the early modern period, but their spirits also continue to shape the present. Contemporary medicine does not deny a woman’s role and genetic contribution in reproduction as the ancient Greeks once did, yet the notion that her functionality and value rests in her ability to conceive and bear children has emerged through a new medium: legislative acts restricting women’s reproductive autonomy. Indeed, critical analyses of the texts themselves reveal remnants of the same patriarchal ideologies that produced characterizations of Clytemnestra and the fertile bee. The conviction that the maternal body belongs to another may rely on new arguments today—the presumption of fetal rights so embraced by modern legislators as opposed to the rights of a husband or political state—but it cannot escape its heritage. Similarly, the conflation of mental and gynecological health pervading ancient understandings of the female survives not only through concepts like hysteria, but also through the consistent repudiation of maternal mental health in modernity. Whether sustaining an adoption market or providing able bodies to sacrifice in war, the maternal body thus continues to find itself commodified by those seeking to usurp the only power exclusive to women alone: motherhood.