Life as a woman in Athens
A historic view point by Cecil Fuson.
Being a woman in Ancient Athens was not what the movies and Plays led me to believe. The Athenian Democracy was a democracy of the minority. Every man, no matter their class had equal say in the ruling of the government. But Women, Slaves and Foreigners had zero civil rights and no influence on how things were done. Because the Athenian’s were a very exclusive society, they rarely allowed outsiders share in the privileges the citizens had. As Such, Female Children were raised to serve. To produce new citizens for the polis. It was not uncommon for a young woman’s freedom to be restricted during their reproductive years. Or even to be married off to a family member. Doing so ensured that the financial resources were kept within the family. That leaves a very dark image of life for a woman in Athens. However this was not the way it was for all women. There were the Mistress of upper class. They were trained in the general arts. Thus allowing them to participate in debates and other acts that most women were cut off from. However life was not all peaches and cream for the mistress. They paid for their freedom. They gave up all possibility of having kids as well as of ever having a normal home life. Some believe that the Hetaera as they were called were borderline prostitutes. There was a big difference between the poor and wealthy families. Women from poor families, while not able to take part of normal society. They could go to work the fields they could go to work in the market... They could be on an equal level with poor men. Women of the upper and middle class had a very different situation. The empty life of the Greek woman of the upper or middle class, deprived of interest or gratifications, was not even repaid by the knowledge that her relationship with her husband was exclusive. This was not necessarily because he had a relationship with another man, though that happened often...
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