Greece Essay

This essay has a total of 1585 words and 7 pages.


greece





Women: Their Rise Over Time

Dating back to ancient times, the role of women has never reached true equality with men.
We can trace this inequality back to as early as the great Athenian society, where life as
we know it today started taking form. On the other side of the inequality, throughout the
ancient history of the world, the roles and positions that women have had have improved
over time. We can see this tracing time from Athens, to Sparta, the Roman Republic,
it’s Empire and the rise of Christianity. Although some of theses societies lived
parallel in time, each one shows a difference in the way they treat women. Each one did
not treat women the same, but the end result compared to the beginning is positive for
women.

According to Xenophon’s “Household Management” in Athenian society the
women were looked at as possessions. The Athenian woman would be given to the man by their
parents. It was like a business deal and the bride to be had no say in it at all. She was
typically much younger than the man. Often times, half their age if the man had a previous
wife but was now divorced. To a man, a skilled woman was a valuable tool. The major skills
of the woman included cooking, sewing and weaving. The wife simply stayed at home and took
care of the house duties. She watched over anything that came in and out of the house. If
a woman could tend to the household chores and master sewing or weaving she would be
considered valuable. It was her responsibility to manage the house while the men were at
work or at war. Once the woman became the property of the man he had the opportunity to
control her in any way he liked. She would be kept under

strict restraint so that she would see as little, hear as little and ask as few questions
as possible. The relationship between the husband and wife saw little romance, it
appeared like more of a business relationship than anything else. The woman should feel
lucky to have the man as a husband. They consulted together on the potential birth of a
child and their main goal was to produce good offspring. All of the power lied within the
hands of the husband. (Xenephon)

In the exerpt from “Antigone”, Creon the king represented human law and
Haemon, his son represented divine law. Creon was the new King of Thebes and was a strict
ruler of the state. On the other hand, Haemon, his son was influenced more by the divine
law of gods. They clashed because of their difference in views of women. They disagreed
with each other in the treatment of women. Antigone was grieving for her dead brother who
broke the law by accidentally marrying his mother and Creon had no sympathy for her what
so ever. As punishment, Antigone’s brother was left unburied so that his corpse
would be further ruined by the weather and animals. If the body was mangled, then it could
not be worshipped. Antigone didn’t want to leave his side because she felt that she
owed allegiance to her family instead of the state. So she tried to bury him in the dirt
which made Creon angry. Creon was looked at as a bully by the rest of the community but he
refused to be beaten by a woman because he could never be weaker than woman kind. He
refused to give in to a woman because he believed that women were inferior to men and
therefor not be listened to. Haemon felt deep sympathy for Antigone and argued against his
father’s opinion. Haemon did not believe that Antigone was sick with disease like
his father believed. In the end, Antigone committed suicide. Haemon saw this and he took
his own life too. As soon as Creon heard of this happening, he is left in despair. Creon
also admitted that his fate had brought him down and his life was permanently warped
because he tried to rule above the gods. This showed that while Haemon respected Antigone,
the King did not, so there were no laws giving women rights or political power.
(Sophocles)

In Sparta, women for the most part had equality to men. Women were promoted to take good
care of their bodies. According to Lycurgus, founder of the Spartan constitution, women
were ordered to take part in sporting events. These sporting events included wrestling,
running, throwing, and dart casting. This was vital to the success to the Spartans
society. This was so important so that they might conceive a strong, healthy child. It was
common for a woman to have multiple children with more than one man in hopes to produce
healthy offspring. While men were off to war most of the time women assumed the
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