Gender in the Ancient World
Warrior from Riace
Ancient Greek society, their beliefs, ideologies, experiences and societal norms can only be realized by studying the artifacts that have managed to survive through out the centuries of abuses from war, conquest and Mother Nature. A great majority of the surviving artifacts found have been works of art, many of which are sculptures. These sculptures reveal clues to how the day-to-day lives in Ancient Greece were determined by status in society and of gender. Sculptors captured the intransigent gender roles of Ancient Greece society, while also furnishing a propaganda tool through statuary that greatly influenced the evolution of male dominance and the enforcement of rigid gender roles of Ancient Greek culture. A fairly recently found bronze sculpture, Warrior from Riace (ca. 450 BCE), is a prime example. This sculpture represents the powerful male norm. While it portrays the concepts of what is considered desirable in the current period, it also portrays the dominance of the strong male over those considered to be less ideal, such as women, children and weaker men.
In Ancient Greece, men spent the majority of their time away from their homes and families. Men were the power, the driving force in society. Men ran the Greek government, as well as manufacturing and trade. Men would also spend time in the fields, either overseeing or working the crops, hunting, construction and sailing. Men enjoyed athletics, sporting events and the Olympic games, which wives and daughters were not allowed to attend. In his lecture at Purdue University, Professor Nicholas Rauh states, “As the dominant element in society Greek males imposed their will on all beneath them.” He went on to explain that Greek men, specifically the warrior class imposed their will onto women, children, even other men, by strength, force and both hetero and homo sexual intimidation and aggression. During this period in Greece, artists were...
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