The Exclusion of Women from Political Systems in Ancient Rome and Athens
Ancient Rome and ancient Athens in Greece were two thriving civilizations that dominated the Mediterranean area. The way in which both of these civilizations structured their government, allowed for them to become prospering civilizations in the ancient world. Athens and Rome had different approaches to how to govern their civilizations, yet both civilizations extended power to their citizens by allowing them to participate in the governance of their society. However, the term ‘citizen’ did not include women. Women were entirely excluded from the political system in both civilizations. In Athens and Rome, equality between men and women was almost unknown. Men felt women were incapable of being able to participate in politics. Even though, ancient Rome and Athens had unique approaches to try to spread power by broadening the participation of citizens in their government, both civilizations were alike in excluding women from the political system, and viewing them as subordinate to men.
The Greek population was made up of many independent states, which were known as poleis. Each polis had their own identity and form of government, which is the reason the Greeks could be known as the Athenians or the Spartans. The Athenian’s political system was based on the belief of democracy. The meaning of democracy comes from the Greek word, demos, a word meaning neighborhood or affinity group. An Athenian leader Pericles stated, “We practice a politics that does not emulate the customs of our neighbors . . . Because we are governed for the many and not for the few, we go by the name of democracy.” Athenian democracy was built on the foundation that not one person governed, but all citizens of Athens voted about laws and policies. The Athenians valued their democratic system because it was structured in a way that not one individual or group could gain power. Therefore, the power was...
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