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What Is The Role Of Women In Herodotus

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In Ancient Greece, women had little to no freedom in their lives. For instance, they had no role in politics, leaving that completely to men, were expected to stay indoors for the majority of their lives doing household work because they were under the control of a male relative, usually being their father or husband, and they were not allowed to study medicine. These standards were set by great writers such as Aristotle who wrote of women being inferior to men. He believed women were more emotional, which is why they would be useless in politics, and they were more deceptive and mischievous. Because only men were doctors, many women were dying during childbirth due to the fact that they felt uncomfortable about having a man handle their pregnancy.…show more content…
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Aristotle describes the subordination of women to men, speaking of how women must be controlled by men. Later on in his book he mentions how the control of men was in their command and in women their obedience. These concepts were adapted into the lifestyle of Athenian lifestyle, increasingly discriminating women in many ways. They had no role in politics; they were simply supposed to be an object to be seen and not heard. This sort of idea is further exemplified in The Histories by Herodotus. This is a primary text source. The historian Herodotus has many examples of how women were treated in society, published around 440 B.C.E. One story regarding Candaules and his vision of his wife as an object is a prominent case of how women were regarded as property:
“Now it happened that this Candaules was in love with his own wife; and
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This fancy had strange consequences. There was in his bodyguard a man whom he specially favoured, Gyges, the son of Dascylus. All affairs of greatest moment were entrusted by Candaules to this person, and to him he was wont to extol the surpassing beauty of his wife” (The Histories, book 1)
Here, Herodotus accounts the story of Candaules’s fond passion for his wife’s beauty, thinking her the “fairest women in the whole world” and he wants to show off his wife to his trusted bodyguard. Herodotus explains how Candaules has respect for the beauty of his wife, but does not respect any of her wishes or desires upon showing herself to a stranger bodyguard. Slowly, however, gender roles began to change. In Ancient Greece, a woman named Agnodice stood for what she believed in – equal opportunity for men and women in the field of medicine. Author Nancy Swanson mentioned the story of Agnodice in her secondary novel, written in 2004 regarding women scientists:
Agnodice, born around 300 B.C.E, dressed as a man in order to attend a medical school in Alexandria. She returned to Athens and, still under the guise of masculinity, began practicing medicine […] Because of
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