Athenian Women Essay

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Athenian Women Athenian society was very dynamic in many areas while it was strict in regard to the treatment of women. Although Athenian women were protected by the state and did not know a different way of living, they were very stifled and restricted. The only exception was slaves, and heteria, prostitutes, and this was due to the fact that they had no male guardians. Since these women were on there own they had to take care of themselves, and therefore were independent. In a more recent and modern way of viewing the role of a woman, independence and freedom to do as one likes is one of the most important aspects of living. In Athens the wives had none of this freedom and the prostitutes did. Who then really had a “better”…show more content…
But when we come to the age of maturity and awareness, we are thrust out and battered away, far from the gods of our forefathers and parents, some to good homes and some to abusive ones. And after one single joyful night live, we are compelled to praise this arrangement and consider ourselves lucky.” Sophocles, Fragment 583 from terus. A scorned wife spoke this in one of Sophocles’ lost plays. Sophocles has seized the essence of what it means to be a woman in Athens at this time. The marriage of an Athenian woman and man is hard to define exactly because there has not been an exact word translated that is equivalent to the word, “marriage.” The Athenians have words that translate as physical acts for a marriage for the sake of having a child, they also have words that translate as “cohabit” or “live together.” This leads to the conclusion that our traditional connotation of marriage as a bond is not the way it was in Athens. The reasons for a man and a woman to be joined in marriage were nor for love, as we would expect, it would be for profitable and more pragmatic reasons. Usually most beneficial to the male’s in the bride’s life. Since the women were not supposed to be unattended they are assumed to have accepted what was decided for them in terms of a husband. “…A husband normally addresses his wife as “woman.” The Greek word for woman, is
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