The most significant fact on women of ancient Greece, primarily fourth century B.C. and earlier, is that there aren 't many facts at all. There is a limited amount of information known, and women were rarely written about or spoken of. For example, in Carl J. Richard’s “Greeks & Romans Bearing Gifts”, very little is written about women and their role in society, although the entirety of the book is focused on ancient Greeks. “The Athenians excluded women…” (Richard 77) is an understatement.
There is a wide array of evidence and objectivity on the role of women in Sarah B. Pomeroy’s “Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves”, written in 1975. Pomeroy introduces the book with classical mythology, in which there are many goddesses who differ drastically from their mortal counterparts. The goddesses were not stilted by any familial obligations, even if married, and exercised various freedoms. These goddesses were merely an archetypal image men had of women, who in no way mirrored the mortal women in that society.
According to Hesiod in the Theogony, the earth goddess Ge produced children, some who were monsters and some who were hated by their father (Pomeroy 2). Ge persuaded one of her sons to castrate their father, and this act was repeated in the later generations. It was Zeus, the establisher of justice and la...
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Pomeroy writes, “It is almost easier to describe the activities of men and then simply say women did not do most of these things”. (Pomeroy 79) This can perfectly sum up the status of women in ancient Greece. For many centuries, women led lives we don’t know much about today. But as much as we don’t know about them, through many articles and books there is a clear pattern of women in obscurity. Whether it is text written about men, or art depicting the male form, it is obvious that women were the forgotten gender. It can be assumed that they were not important enough to be written about or spoken of, or even depicted in art. “The women who are known to us are those who influenced matters of interest to men,” (Pomeroy 228). In laymans terms, if the man did not find some sort of interest in the woman, the woman did not exist. The woman was forgotten.
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