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Women of Greece

Autor:   •  March 16, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,432 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,557 Views

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Women have long been treated as things to be controlled and owned. It was no different in Ancient Greece. Greece was divided by two colossal powers that constantly battled for supremacy and pride. But neither Athens nor Sparta were sophisticated enough to see the value of the female gender. Women's role was that of a lesser individual, a property and without certain citizen's rights. But through the haze of oppression shined women that demanded to be noticed and so have made themselves permanent in historical texts.

All women in Athens were to be looked after as if they were capable of mischief at any moment. Because of this they had a kyrios, which is a sort of guardian or master. He was her husband but if she was unmarried then her closest male relative would take the role, this typically meant that the father had to take care of her longer. The kyrios had a huge amount of control over the woman. Athenian men pictured women as the weaker being in all aspects of life, whether it is physical or intellectual. They also believed themselves to be more moral and socially adept than their female counterparts. They deprived women of rights and considered them weak-willed, sneaky and dishonest. It was not completely negative though. They also thought of women as the givers of life, a very respected and significant role. Men would tell their wives their duties before venturing out on their own. These duties sometimes included supervising the servants in the household, managing the money to pay bills, making clothes if needed, and tending to the ill servants for treatment. The poorer women of Athens would have to look after the house, care for the children, clean, cook, and sometimes help their husbands to his duties.

But even in the political world women were excluded from important matters. Women were not allowed in the Athenian democratic assembly. Athenian women had the status of citizens and were able to pass this privilege to their children but their citizenship deprived them of voting, this cut the voter pool by 50%. They could no even own property with their citizenship. Athenian women's property consisted only in their immediate possessions, such as clothes, jewelry and possibly a slave. The kyrios was in charge of the rest of the woman's possessions until her male heirs inherited them. The property was to be passed on by a will and divided evenly among the sons. Women were not normally allowed to inherit. Women were not allowed to enter into contracts or buy anything that was deemed to expensive. Other than certain property that she may keep women were denied the rights of a citizen. They were non-existent in political life because they were excluded from such important things. Married women were even banned from attending the Olympics with a punishment of death.

On the other hand, some women did live a more liberated life. Virgins were allowed at the Olympic games and even competed in their own version


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