Lives of Women in Archaic Essay

  • Length: 8 pages
  • Sources: 6
  • Subject: Sports - Women
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #74821392

Excerpt from Essay :

Some Ancient Greeks even went as far as to think that women started to have deeper voices consequent to the moment when they lost their virginity (King 28).

Euripides also acts as one of the principal Ancient Greek scholars who damaged the role of women in his society, given that his writings relate to the role of women as individuals who are generally persecuted by the masses. Women were practically promoted as being responsible for society's problems as characters like Hippolytus put across their opinion concerning females and actually insisted that gods inflicted great damage on humanity through introducing women (Euripides 18).

Ancient Greeks seem to express no interest in acknowledging the role of women as housewives and mothers and focus on presenting them as useless individuals who spend most of their time consuming and generally having a negative influence on the public. Hipponax perfectly (although he somewhat exaggerates) describes how the Greeks thought in regard to their women: "Two happy days a woman brings a man: the first, when he marries her; the second, when he bears her to the grave" (Hipponax).

Not only were men in charge of women's lives, but they also had the power of deciding when a woman would experience the most important moments in her life. While marriage was considered to be an essential moment in a woman's life, she had no power over this event. Instead of perceiving the day of their wedding as a wonderful moment, women were most probably scared of this event as they looked at it as being a simple transfer of authority from the authoritarian figure in their family to their husbands. In some cases, "women were seen as objects for they were "given" in marriage by the father to the bridegroom" (Women of Ancient Greece).

To a certain degree, one can practically consider that fathers or brothers simply gave their daughters or sisters away as if they were part of trade businesses. Marriage itself was referred to by using the term ekdosis, which means loan and makes it possible for people to understand that the Ancient Greeks actually saw the concept of marriage as being not very different from a trade performed between two individuals -- the woman's future husband and the authoritarian male figure (father or brother) in the woman's family (Women of Ancient Greece).

By being denied access to education, by being generally unable to come in possession of material wealth, and by being persecuted by a male-dominated society, women in Ancient Greece found it difficult and almost impossible to improve their condition. As a result they were left with little to no chances to express how they really felt about themselves and made it impossible for people today to be acquainted with their personalities. Most Ancient Greek laws that were imposed with the purpose of improving marriage were meant to provide men with even more power over women, as this was one of the most important concepts at the time. The idea of democracy needed to address only fields that needed reform, with the role of women apparently having to remain the same.

It is not surprising that the world knows little concerning the sentiments of Ancient Greek women, considering that they were denied access to education and that they were generally unable to speak freely. People in Ancient Greece seemed reluctant to provide women with equal rights as they considered them to be psychologically inferior to men. Furthermore, women were considered responsible for many of the problems experienced by their society and were thus persecuted with the purpose of having them actively involved in promoting their position as inferior individuals.

Works cited:

Aristotle, "Politics," Echo Library, 2006

Demosthenes, "Against Neaera," Retrieved January 17, 2012, from the Perseus Digital Library Website: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0080%3Aspeech%3D59%3Asection%3D3

Euripides, "Hippolytus," Hayes Barton Press.

King, Helen, "Hippocrates' Woman: Reading the Female Body in Ancient Greece," London: Routledge, 1998

Pomeroy, Sarah B. "Ancient Greece: a political, social, and cultural history," Oxford University Press, 1999.

"Ancient History Sourcebook:

The Lot of the Hellenic Woman, c. 700-300 BCE," Retrieved January 17, 2012, from the Fordham University Website: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/700greekwomen.asp

"WHAT ATHENIAN MEN SAID ABOUT WOMEN," Retrieved January 17, 2012, from the Women in the Ancient World Website: http://www.womenintheancientworld.com/whatathenianmensaid.htm

"Women of Ancient Greece," Retrieved January 17, 2012, from the Page University Website: http://webpage.pace.edu/nreagin/F2004WS267/AnnaCho/finalHISTORY.html

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