The Relationship Between Husband And Wife Formed The Core Structure Of Greek Society

The Relationship Between Husband And Wife Formed The Core Structure Of Greek Society

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In Ancient Athens, marriage and the relationship between husband and wife formed the core structure of Greek society. In both Xenophon 's Oeconomicus and Lysias ' On the Murder of Eratosthenes, there is a profound emphasis on the separation of women from men and their role in maintaining an orderly household. Both also establish unambiguous and separate spheres of responsibilities for men and women. However, there exists a clear difference between equality of the relationships and communication between the spouses. While the couple in Oeconomicus engage in an egalitarian, pleasant, and understanding relationship, Euphiletus and his wife 's relationship is opaque, treacherous, and marked by hostility and sparse communication. In both households, slavery also plays a key function. Although there exist firm and deep relationships between slaves and women in the two households, the nature of conduct between women and slaves differs in the households. The marriages in Ancient Greece are significantly different from contemporary American marriages primarily in the roles of the sexes, but also concerning the level of communication between spouses.
The chief similarity notable in both passages is the descriptions of the roles of men and women and the separate spheres they exist in. In Oeconomicus, Ischomachus describes how God naturally created women and men in order to fulfill two different roles - separated into the indoor and outdoor realm. According to Ischomachus, because "Man 's body and soul He furnished with a greater capacity for enduring heat and cold, wayfaring and military marches...", men are better fit to perform tasks in the outdoor realm. Because women lack these abilities and because "He had implanted in the woman and...


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...riage in order for it to succeed.
Ultimately, the marriages in Xenophon 's Oeconomicus and Lysias ' On the Murder of Eratosthenes are similar in their demonstration of the separation of women and men based on responsibilities and social stratification. However, the two marriages differ in the spouses ' ability to communicate with one another, with Ischomachus and his wife representing the more successful of the two marriages. The role of slavery is readily apparent in both marriages and households, yet, slavery plays a positive role in the marriage in Oeconomicus and a negative role in On the Murder of Eratosthenes. As a final point, while marriage in contemporary American society requires communication as much as an Athenian marriage, today 's marriages are a stark evolution - both in equality and in gender roles - of Athenian marriages of the Ancient Greek world.

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