Athenian Women

  • Length: 801 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

ATHENIAN WOMEN
It is ridiculous to assume that the Athenian women of Ancient Greece were respected and revered by men. These women were not held in high regard. Men controlled all aspects of their lives, beginning with their fathers and continuing with their husbands once they married. Most girls were married in their very early teens to men that were usually much older (Xenophon’s Oeconomicus), sometimes as much as twice the age of their wives. The age difference was considered a moot point since women at that time often did not survive the rigors of repeated childbirth and died young. It was also generally believed that marrying a very young girl enabled the husbands to train her and mold her into a proper Athenian wife.
Athenian women had almost no influence or power in Greek society and were not highly regarded until they could produce a male child (Socrates). The common belief at that time (in most Western societies) was that women were necessary to produce children. Women existed for the sake of procreation, to bear sons in order to continue the family name (Aristotle states that the man supplies the substance, the soul, i.e. the form for children, the woman provides only the nourishment), (Source: Generation of Animals). In Athenian society, extramarital affairs by husbands with women (and men) was the norm, and it indeed contributed to the image of a man’s prosperity if he had a mistress. Did the males in this society consider their wives praiseworthy? In my opinion the answer is no, since a wife who was the husband’s property and could be disciplined if she did not conform to the Athenian standards of wife. Athenian wives were judged in society by their frugality, ability to raise sons, and their devotion and faithfulness to their husbands, (e.g., Penelope and Odysseus). A married woman caught in adultery would have been forced to abandon her home and children for the disgrace it would bring the family name, (Hunt, pg. 70). Men in ancient Athens (as in just about every Western civilization) had altered views of women. They saw women as being weak and dependent (Xenophon Oeconomicus), and because of the socioeconomic structure of the time, they were.
Women in this society could, to some degree, assert power and influence in the home. The everyday life of the “ideal” Greek woman included child bearing and rearing, cleaning, both weaving cloth and making clothes, cooking and supervising slaves and other domestic tasks, (Xenophon, On Household Management).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Athenian Women." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Jun 2018
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=54198>.
Title Length Color Rating  
The Lives of Athenian Women Essay - Women in classical Athens could not have had an extremely enjoyable experience, if we rely on literary sources concerning the roles of women within the Greek polis. The so-called Athenian democracy only benefited a fraction of the entire population. At least half of this population was female, yet women seem to have had very little influence and few official civic rights. `The position of women...is a subject which has provoked much controversy.' (Lacey: 1968, 151). Studies concerning the lives of women in classical Athens have sparked much controversy because, despite the apparent fascination with femininity manifested in art and drama, we have no evidence voicing the opinions of the actu...   [tags: Ancient History] 1879 words
(5.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Athenian Women Essay - ATHENIAN WOMEN It is ridiculous to assume that the Athenian women of Ancient Greece were respected and revered by men. These women were not held in high regard. Men controlled all aspects of their lives, beginning with their fathers and continuing with their husbands once they married. Most girls were married in their very early teens to men that were usually much older (Xenophon’s Oeconomicus), sometimes as much as twice the age of their wives. The age difference was considered a moot point since women at that time often did not survive the rigors of repeated childbirth and died young....   [tags: essays research papers] 801 words
(2.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Athenian Women - Athenian Women Athenian society was very dynamic in many areas while it was strict in regard to the treatment of women. Although Athenian women were protected by the state and did not know a different way of living, they were very stifled and restricted. The only exception was slaves, and heteria, prostitutes, and this was due to the fact that they had no male guardians. Since these women were on there own they had to take care of themselves, and therefore were independent. In a more recent and modern way of viewing the role of a woman, independence and freedom to do as one likes is one of the most important aspects of living....   [tags: Papers] 1396 words
(4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Athenian Women’s Acquisition of Power through Relationships with Men Essay - Athenian Women’s Acquisition of Power through Relationships with Men Greek society held the belief that women had little common sense or logic; they had the natural tendency to move toward chaos and destruction. Women were thought to have the ability to destroy a man’s honor through their actions. Because of this, women were given no influence in the government of the polis or in their lives; they had no power. Instead, they were kept inside where they could be closely monitored by their husbands, fathers, lovers or protectors....   [tags: Greek Women Females Power Papers]
:: 1 Works Cited
1783 words
(5.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Hellenistic Homemaker Essay - The Hellenistic Homemaker In both Xenophon’s Oeconomicus and Lysias’ defense of Euphiletus’ murder of Eratosthenes, insight into the purpose and function of Athenian marriage may be gained by examination of the speeches of two citizens about their wives and their homes. Through both texts, it becomes apparent that the citizen’s value of his wife is based upon his wife’s ability as an “oikonomikos” or “skilled household manager” (Strauss, 3). It is through filling this role as her husband’s housekeeper that an Athenian woman experienced a loss of personal freedom and found herself trapped within a marriage in which she had little contact or much in common with her husband....   [tags: Marriage Athenian Women Papers]
:: 4 Works Cited
2010 words
(5.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
How Effective was Athenian Democracy? Essay - Plan of Investigation Between the years of 508 BCE and 322 CE, Greece flourished under democracy. However, some question if the flourishing of Athens is due to the democracy that was in place as opposed to other factors relevant in building a successful community. This investigation will examine the effectiveness of Athenian democracy in Greek society. Relevance of Athenian democracy can be seen in foundation of many democracies found worldwide. In this investigation the right to vote, protection of minorities, use of social class, the structure of democracy and how Greek democracy has influenced the world will be addressed....   [tags: right to vote, minorities] 1945 words
(5.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Athenian and American Systems of Government Essay example - Athens of ancient Greece had perhaps the most advanced system of government of the ancient world. The system of Athens was called a Democracy. That is, every citizen voted on everything. People have claimed that the United States is also a Democracy. This is not true. The government of the United States is a Constitutional Republic (Every). United States citizens vote for representatives, who then vote on the laws. They themselves are limited by a constitution. Democracy is a flawed government system....   [tags: essays research papers fc]
:: 3 Works Cited
1594 words
(4.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Authenticity of the Athenian Democracy Essay - The Athenian political system of the 4th century was somewhat democratic to certain extents in various aspects. The word democracy derived from the Latin words, `demos' which means people and `kratos' which means rule. According to Aristotle, democracy would mean freedom and that the sovereignty was in the hands of the majority (Sinclair 1988: 21). However, the term `democracy' cannot be aptly defined as it conveys different messages to different people. For instance, most of the Athenians thought very highly of their constitution and believed it to be truly democratic while some may argue otherwise (Jones 1957: 42, 99)....   [tags: Politics] 1123 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Athenian definition of democracy Essay - Discuss the Athenian definition of democracy. Is the city state the only kind of state in which true democracy can exist. What happens to democracy when it is applied to a society with a large dispersed population. What are other examples of democratic societies besides Athens. Compare and contrast Athenian democracy with American democracy. Is the United States a democracy in the classical sense of the word. The ancient Greek word "demokratia" was ambiguous. It met literally "people power"....   [tags: essays research papers fc]
:: 3 Works Cited
1224 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Daily Athenian life Essay - “Famed for its literature, poetry, drama, theatre, schools, buildings, government, and intellectual superiority you have no doubt that your polis, Athens, is clearly the shining star of all Greek city-states.”(Daily life in ancient Greece) Athens was a mighty city-state of Greece. Even though it was a very intellectual and powerful city-state, it did not mean that it was necessarily a good city. Athens was the cause of the Peloponnesian War....   [tags: essays research papers fc]
:: 2 Works Cited
456 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches




Those in wealthier families had slaves, but she was also responsible for the training and supervision of the slaves. Women were not allowed to own property or inherit wealth (Hunt, pg. 98); this was controlled by fathers, husbands, or a close male relative. Men tended to behave more like fathers toward women. Thus, if a woman got married she passed from the authority of one man (her father) into that of another (her husband), (Plato 427-347 BC). Greek women were sheltered from the eyes of other men. They had limited access to society and the activities that took place there. These women had no political voice, although they were allowed to participate in weddings, funerals and religious festivals, (Hunt, pg. 69).
Written and archaeological evidence suggests that women played a significant role in the religious life of Ancient Greece. Although the women of ancient Greece were not considered politically important, they played a very large role as religious icons, (Hunt, pg. 64). The Goddesses were as important as the Gods, and usually ruled over living things, including grains and vegetables from the Earth, hunting, and even beauty. Much ancient pottery contained depictions of ancient Goddesses, which contrasts with the denigration of common women (i.e., prostitutes, dancing girls) on other pottery. Stories by the Greek author Homer tell us a great deal about how men viewed these deities. Goddesses were much more idealized than real women were. Women are depicted as animals, (Semonides of Amorgos, The Types of Women); Semonides also states that women represent evil and the forces of chaos. Women were viewed as highly sexual beings that could not control their sexual urges (as opposed to the men, it didn’t seem to occur to anyone to blame them, much like Islamic fundamentalist countries today) and therefore had to be restricted for their own benefit.
From a modern viewpoint, it seems patently unfair that women were considered useful only to perform certain functions such as giving birth, working at home and taking care of children and then not have the right to speak out for oneself. Having no personal means of support, being the chattel of the men supporting them, and being denied the opportunity for education directly contributed to the image of women as being inferior beings.

Other Sources:
www.stoa.org/diotoma
http://womenshistory.about.com (Plato & Aristotle)


Return to 123HelpMe.com