Women of Ancient Greece
In ancient Greece, women endured many difficulties and hardships. They struggled to exist. It wasn't just a struggle to be equal to men, but even to be seen was unheard of. Some women married, some had demeaning jobs, and others were slaves. Their role in society was essential, no matter how poorly they were treated. Females were given little voice, if any, in major decisions. Greek women had very limited freedom outside the home. Marriage was considered one of the most important decisions in a woman’s life, but she had no direct control over it. They were denied the freedom to choose whom to marry; therefore she “did not marry; she was given in marriage” (Sealy, p. 25). A woman, such as Medea, often dreaded the day of her wedding rather than looking forward to it as one of the happiest and meaningful affairs in her life. The singles life wasn't accepted for women. Marriage was arranged by the parents of the bride and groom. A financial contribution was made by the bride's father. Marriage was seen as an exchange and another opportunity for men to maintain the superior position. Marriage was seen as a “practical business arrangement, not a love match” (Demand, p. 11). Additionally, in marriage, the issue of property aroused much conflict, supporting inequality between male and female. Women married between the ages of 14-18 and were raised to obey their husbands. Weddings consisted of rituals, were not presided over by priests, and were completed in three parts; pre-wedding ceremonies, the wedding itself, and post wedding ceremonies. Wives weren't fully accepted by their husband's family until a child was conceived. If they had their husband's permission, they could attend weddings, funerals, some religious festivals, and visit female neighbors for brief periods of time. But without their husband's permission, they could do none of these things. They could not leave the house, not even go to a temple to honor their gods. In...
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Pomeroy, Sarah B. "Families in Classical and Hellenistic Greece." New
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Sealy, Raphael. "Women and Law in Classical Greece." North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press, 1990.
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