What roles did women have in ancient greek society?

Pages: 6 (1268 mots) Publié le: 23 mars 2011
Chapter 4: Summary Question: What roles did women have in ancient Greek society?
In the patriarchal ancient Greek society characterized by men dominance, with the exception of Sparta, the role and status devoted to women were minimal, compared to men’s. This is based on the fact that from Hercules to Alexander the Great, men from ancient Greece are well known today, but there are no such greatnames among the female characters. Why so?
According to the famous Greek dramatist Menander (342-291B.C.), the ancient Greek woman was not expected to have an education, like read, write, and debate. From him, was this quote: “Teaching a woman to read and write? What a terrible thing to do! [It’s] like feeding a vile snake on more poison.” In fact, Menander’s thought itself proceeded from thegeneral philosopher’s view in that period. The website <http://www.ancient-greece.us/women.html> brings out: “Athenian philosophers, except Plato, held that women had a very poor mind but a strong emotional realm. They could harm themselves and other people, therefore they should be protected from themselves and, if it’s possible, incapacitated. That’s why each woman had her own guardian –usually he was a father, brother, husband or other relative of her.” So, the Athenian woman was viewed as inferior to man, and confined to the boundary of a home, under the protection of her father, or her husband.
In such conditions, it was not a surprise if they were not famous in literature, politics, philosophy, and other hot topics in their time. In all those topics, they were barelyinexistent. They had very few rights in the society, and were subdued to men. In this case, the very only roles they played in that society were the ones in social life.
Three main classes of women can be distinguished in the Ancient Greece society: the wives class, the concubines’, and the hetaerae’s. The boundary of wives class is their husbands’ home. Once given in marriage to the man chose by thefather, the woman was expected to be confined to this boundary. From the website cited, the two primary functions for a married woman of the 4th century, were child-bearer and housewife. The bearing children role was more crucial because slaves could be used to fulfill the domestic duties such as cooking, making clothes for the family, cleaning, or taking care of the children. Of course, in casethat there were no slaves, for instance, in case of a poor lady, those duties had to be accomplished by the wife. In addition to running a household (the men spend all their days outside the house) and bearing and supervising children, married women seemed to carry also some religious roles and roles in connection with funeral’s practices.
The two other classes of Ancient Greek women, theconcubines and the hetaerae were two classes of prostitutes aimed to satisfy all forms of men’s sexual exploitation, although the latter “were often foreign and skilled at music, dancing, singing and intellectual conversation, and were also obviously trained and skilled in the art of pleasing men,” thought brought by the website. Those two classes had absolutely no rights, but contrary to the wivesclass, could move freely in society. They did not have a restricted life.
The very exception of this general view on Ancient Greek women is the women of Sparta. Fundamentally, they had a complete different view of gender role: in fact, the gender was denied. Thus, boys and girls received equal education, could both fulfill their own potentiality, and carry in the society almost same roles and samerights, which was not the case in Athena.

Chapter 5: Summary Question: How do Plato and Aristotle differ on the immortality of human soul?
Plato and his former student were famous for their contributions to the human thought and knowledge in their time and today. Even though if on the topic of the immortality of human soul, they have some similarity views as the existence of soul in...
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