Women's Roles in Ancient Greece and Rome

Topics: Ancient Rome, Gender role, Marriage Pages: 4 (1141 words) Published: May 15, 2006
Women's Roles in Ancient Greece and Rome
Women have played important roles throughout history. They have been responsible for the rise and fall of nations, sustaining families, and have been the focal point of worship in ancient religions. Moving forward in history, women's roles have continually changed. Their status as matriarchs changed as the more advanced ancient civilizations rose. The patriarchal societies of ancient Greece and Rome viewed women differently from some societies of past eras. The study of the economic and political status of women, their rights, and their contributions to both these ancient societies reveals how views change throughout history.

In Ancient Greece and Rome, much off what we know about the lives of women is recorded by men. Because of this, the public lives of women are more understood than the aspects of their private life. Did women loathe their roles in society in secret, or did they revel in their ability to be free of the expectations that burdened their male counterparts?

In Ancient Greece, women were considered inferior to men. They were believed to have strong emotions but weak minds, incapable of governing themselves. Because of this, women were appointed guardians to protect them from themselves and to protect others. This role, held by either the closest male relative or husband, is known as the kyrios. The kyrios controlled the life of the women, as they were unable to buy goods, own property of enter in to contracts on her own. Although a woman could not purchase items, they were allowed to own their own clothes, personal items and slaves. Property was obtained by inheritance, marriage of gifts.

Grecian women married at young ages for the purpose of producing children to continue the lineage or as a means of preserving their status in society. Only citizens were allowed to marry, and marriages were arranged according to wealth and status. From that point, the woman was expected to manage the household...
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