Women in Ancient Egypt and Greece

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Women in Ancient Egypt and Greece
By Morgan L. Harvey

Throughout history women have faced many struggles in gaining equality with men. Freedoms and boundaries have been dependent upon the time period, rulers, religions and civilization. Ancient Greek women and Ancient Egyptian women were both equal to men as far as the law was concerned in certain areas; however, their equalities were different in the sense that Greek women were married out of necessity and viewed as property while Egyptian women were respected and loved by their husbands. Ancient Greek women and Ancient Egyptian women also both lived with limitations such as being thought of as domestic servants, yet these views solely depended on the time and polis.

In Ancient Greece women were seen as the property of men; though the extent of this view point varied drastically between different poleis (cities). Two of the major poleis in Greece with a notably different attitude toward women were Athens and Sparta. Athens had a very strict attitude toward women. Athenian women were not to be heard from and rarely seen. The women of Athens were viewed as inferior to men and their sole responsibilities were to produce offspring and care for the household (Herff n.d.). Women in Athens could not be citizens similarly to the slaves and outsiders of the community (McKay 2009). Spartan women on the other hand, though still viewed as lessor to men, had more rights. The women of Sparta enjoyed freedoms such as an education, the capability to partake in athletics, ownership of property, and the ability to make decisions without the consent of their husbands (Herff n.d.). These different attitudes toward women were of course related to the vast differences in their social structure and culture.

Athenian culture revolved around politics, philosophy, and the arts. The citizens (men) governed the polis and established a system of laws that applied to the people (McKay 2009). During the Archaic Age, Athens...
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