The Athenian society during the 5 th Century BC had a population of approximately 300, 000 people living in the metropolis of Ancient Greece. Only a small minority of these residents were actually classed as citizens though, as a result of Pericles’s 451 BC decree Athenian citizens were males who were at least 18 years of age, and had 2 legitimately married Athenian parents. The roles and duties of both Athenian citizens and women were both exceedingly different from one another and to how we would know them today. The Ancient Athenians had very distinct morals and values that would underlay their opinions on the class and status of those living within their society. Athenian women were legally classed as citizens, but without them the ancient society would not have been as fluent as it was. A women’s place to be was in the confinements of her home where she would work in order to please her husband, she was denied any role in the political, economical and public matters within Athens.
Athenian women unlike men had to time at all for leisure, every hour of their day was taken up with household chores, or bearing their legitimate children. If a woman wasn’t working with her children she would be supervising the slaves or else weaving, spinning, making clothes of making the house respectable for her husband. Many of the duties and daily roles of Athenian women can be seen on old Attic vases, pottery items, statues and grave relief’s, these all show images of the women working in their home with slaves or children. An extract from Homers Iliad distinctly shows the position of women in this society. This extract is what a young wife is told by her middle aged husband, it reads: “Go back to our home and carry on with your housework, with the loom and with the broom, and make sure your house maidens get on with their duties” Another extract from a play written by Xenophon reads: ” Your job is to stay inside and help to direct the servants who are to be sent out on errands and those who will do the work inside” The only time a woman had the chance to leave her house during the day was to briefly fetch water from the public fountain, here she had a chance to associate with other women doing the same. This was one of the rare times woman were able to associate with one another apart from religious festivals and cult activities.
A womans role is primarily that of a wife and a mother do you agree? The big debate about a womans role, and place in the society has been going on for a long time, and is still continuing. Women have been fighting to be able to stand on the same podium as men for over decades of years. However, I do agree with the given statement that the primary role of women in the society is to be a wife and a ...
Occasionally amongst her daily duties she may have to prepare for funerary services. It was a woman’s duty to prepare the body by washing and anointing it, so that it could be displayed to relatives and family. Poor wives who’s husbands had a fairly low income had much more freedom that those of a higher status. These wives were unable to afford slaves, so the wives had to do all the errands that slaves would have. To ensure that the household has some income the wives would have to get out and work, they could either run a small store, or act as a wet-nurse or a mid wife, while these ladies were working outside of the house they were able to mix with other ladies of their class.
The head male of every household was called the kurios and he was in charge of The head male of every household was called a kurios and he was in charge of all the women living in his house. It was he decided which man be would hand his daughter and her dowry over to. It was essential for women to marry, those who didn’t were considered to be sad cases, and they were looked at as incomplete. Marriage in this time was very different to what we know it as today. Love was not usually involved, marriage was an act of convenience, a contract, and the woman was part of the business agreement. One of the chief values and responsibilities was for Athenian women to bear healthy children, those who didn’t have children were considered to be unhealthy members of the society.
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Being pregnant was one time in a woman’s life where her husband would respect her, and she would not be expected to do as much hard work, and it was considered unwise for a husband to beat his wife at this delicate stage of her life. Some women in the society took on other roles than being good wives, these ladies were known as courtesans or heterai’s. These were paid females who provided entertainment and interesting conversations For men. They were mostly from migrant backgrounds and men found them much more entertaining than their wives. They were very educated women who were renowned for their intelligence and their political reasoning.
Many philosophers referred to them as a “mistress of eloquence.” One of the most famous Heterai’s was Aspasia from Miletus, aka Pericles mistress. Women were considered inferior and a potential source of trouble within the society. If a society went into decline the predicament would in some way be traced back to women. However, without women Athens would not have been as strong and successful as it was.
Due to all the work done by women, men had time to think and to work on the development of a democratic society, and the smooth and efficient running of the Polis. The citizens on the other hand led exceedingly different lives to the women, as Aristotle said, “The husband, as the superior partner, receives the greater share.” The citizens, who were all the men over the age of 18 who had 2 legally married Athenian parents, were free to do as they pleased. Their daily routine would always begin with business, which followed an early breakfast of wine dipped bread, which was prepared for them by their wives or daughters. 40 times a year all the citizens would meet on the pyne at Dawn for the ecclesia.
It was expected that all men would attend, and would strongly voice their opinion to initiate the legislation. The days when Assembly wasn’t on, the men had the chance to take part in jury duty. Each year 6000 jurors were selected by lot, and the day when a trial was being held, the men who wished to sit in that day would present them self at dawn, and with the assistance of a kleroterion the jury for the day would be decided. Several men would also be one of the boule that would be in continuous session under a prytanny system. The afternoon was always a time of leisure.
Throughout history, there have been many different aspects that have been looked at in all culture ways. Many researcher's have studied the history and the lifestyle of the different societies and particular cultural norms. This information is gathered from media, weather be it through internet, newspaper, television or simply history books as educational informers. Although these are the most ...
The men would usually gather in the gymnasia that were large parks where the males could exercise, bathe, socialise or listen to musicians. Thanks to the women and slaves men had a lot of time to relax in the gymnasia. They would also consume much of their day in the Agora where they would socialise, and discuss business. At the end of the day the men would always return home to a cooked dinner made by their wives. Education played a very essential element in the life of a citizen. It was important that men were able to argue, debate and express their own views in an eloquently and persuasive manner for when they were in assembly.
From a young age boys studied gymnastics which trained them physically so that they would have the ability to defend their city. They also studied mathematics, rhetoric, music and literacy, which evolved around the recital of the poetry of Homer. Some of the well-known teachers who taught the upper class men these skills were Anaxagoras and Damon. 1/5 of all Athenian citizens took on jobs as judges, public officials and council members. It was the citizens job to share in the running of the state, without their duties and the voicing of their opinions the development and the functioning of the democratic civilization wouldn’t have been as prosperous as it was, It was the citizens responsibility to originate the laws and values that the whole Athenian society would abide by. Through the study of primary and secondary sources, it is possible to identify the roles and duties of the civilians living during the 5 th Century BC.
The men and women of the society had extremely dissimilar roles, and their daily duties were almost completely opposite to one another. However without the women, the citizens wouldn’t have had time for business, and the development of a democracy. The men on the other hand gave the women a purpose in their life, an everyday goal of pleasing and serving their husbands.