In all of the books that we have read since the beginning of this course most all of them contain the theme, in some fashion, of the degradation and abuse of women. The notion that women are treated unfairly and face cruel conditions is not a new idea and never has been, by looking through these works one can almost put a date to the starting point to the oppression of women. In texts such as The Iliad and Metamorphoses women are used as a means to the male satisfaction, in The Iliad Paris’s mother, Aphrodite gave Paris Helen as a reward. In Metamorphoses Apollo takes Daphne’s transformation and makes it his symbol. The Metamorphoses is a prime example of how in the tales of ancient Greek women having their lives ruined by men.
In ancient Greece, it was crucial that men proved their masculinity in order to uphold their worth and earn them a place in social establishments. An important aspect of human life is a man’s masculine identity and how it plays a role in society. However with this idea of masculinity came limitations that were not to be crossed. Ancient Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, both function to provide their own view on masculinity in society through the reverse sex similes. In the Iliad the crucial role of Achilles as a warrior and his association with maternal protection, as represented through it’s reverse sex maternal similes, ultimately proves problematic. This intrinsic part of man to fight on the battlefield to win timê and kleos is ultimately
Many people regard Homer’s epics as war stories—stories about men; those people often overlook the important roles that women play in the Odyssey. While there are not many female characters in the Odyssey, the few that there are, play pivotal roles in the story and one can gain a lot of insight by analyzing how those women are portrayed. Homer portrays the females in contradictory ways: the characters of Athena and Eurykleia are given strong, admirable roles while Melantho, the Sirens and Circe are depicted in a much more negative way. Penelope—the central female character—is given both negative and positive attributes.
The stories that as a whole make up the body of ancient Greek mythology have treatedthe complex subject of women in various ways. Although women are generally considered to beweak and subordinate to their husbands, there exist some examples of strong, even heroic womenin certain myths. Such “extraordinary” women include Deianeira, Phaedra, Medea, Penelope,and Clytemnestra, among others. This discussion of women will focus on the latter two,comparing and contrasting them and addressing the ways in which the former is often considereda “good” wife and the latter a “bad” wife. The comparison of Penelope and Clytemnestra willultimately show that, in certain ways, the line between “good” and “bad” wife is rather blurryand the distinction between husband-killing monster and devoted, faithful wife is not as clear-cutas one might expect.The major works in which Penelope and Clytemnestra appear are Homer’s Odyssey andAeschylus’ Oresteia, particularly the Agamemnon. One of the first things to notice about theseworks is that they were both written by men, for men. Given the ancient Greek context, this is arather obvious observation, but it deserves to be pointed out because it should be expected thatmen would have a biased view of women. Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days describe thecreation of Pandora, the first of “the race of women”, as a gift and punishment from the gods.While she is made to “look like a goddess immortal, / having the lovely, desirable shape of a
Amazon women did not marry due to the belief that being too kind to men may allow the chance for men to take over their society. Once the men were used by the women for mating, they would be killed. If a male was born in the group of Amazons, sometimes he would be able to live but only for reproduction and pleasure. On the other hand, when a girl was born, they would be pampered and treated as a proper-respected woman. She was also raised as a fierce fighter. The Amazons dressed themselves with leather clothing that only covered certain body parts. However on ceramic vessels, and they were dressed in long wavy dresses that reached their knees, instead of the skintight leather clothes. They were also attractive woman who lived barbaric lifestyles. They believed and worshipped the moon as well as the Circassia’s, and Amazon in the Circassia language means “ mother of the moon”. Even though, the Amazons were know for being wild women, the myth shows similarities between them and matriarchy, a society that is ruled and governed by women in today 's world.
Gender inequality has been a controversial topic for numerous religions and cultures throughout history. Women were commonly regarded as the subservient gender, an idea that was no different in Ancient Greece. Throughout Greek mythology, women were considered inferior and troublesome symbols, while men were known for courage, leadership, and strength. While there is no argument of the flagrant sexism that is illustrated in Greek mythology, it can also be claimed that women were given a situated position of freedom, necessity, and power as well. Many popular Greek plays and myths contain several complexes and well described female characters. These goddesses themselves, partook the role of victim, heroine, and villain as it illustrated the diversity of characters in which women were portrayed and seen in both Ancient Greek society and mythology, allowing us to question “Were the women of Ancient Greek mythology equally represented as free and superior?” The creation of the Greek mythological universe, the creation of multi-gendered goddesses or deities, and the free and superior personalities accredited to women in Ancient Greek mythology to answer the question that women were fairly represented as powerful in Ancient Greek mythology.
Throughout ancient human history, men and women held vastly different roles. Women were often given the duty of bearing and raising children, whereas men were expected to fight, provide an income, and protect the household. Women were seen as totally inferior to men and described by Euripedes as “a curse to mankind” and “a plague worse than fire or any viper.” However, this misogynistic view of women and designated role of inferiority was not apparent in every ancient civilization. The role of the female in ancient Greek history can best be explored and contrasted between two important civilizations: The Spartans and the Athenians. The Spartan women were incredibly advanced for their time, and the Athenian women were drastically far behind. Both the Spartan and Athenian women held roles at home and lived lives far removed from the men of their societies. However, their lives were much different. While the Spartan women were strong and educated, the Athenian women held a status almost equal to slavery. The Spartan women were far more advanced than Athenians in aspects of life including education, athleticism, and independence.
The biggest main idea of this article was that women are not remembered in history. As said by Ulrich, “Many people think women are less visible in history than men because their bodies impel them to nurture” (658). Although, women were
Greco-Roman mythology is rich in names, characters, and events. Dozens of gods, goddesses, and mortal women and men participate in a variety of activities that reflect or exemplify behaviors and power relations in Greek and Roman societies. A wealth of literature was written about the relationships between mortals and immortals in Greco-Roman mythology. Much was written and said about the place humans occupy in the complex mythical hierarchies. However, the role and place of women remain the topic of the hot literary debate. In Greco-Roman mythology, the image of woman is always
Goddess, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Classical Women of Antiquity, written by Sarah B. Pomery, focuses on the main categories of women in the literature and society of ancient Greece and Roman over a time period of fifteen hundred years. Pomery focuses on these roles and how they are significant in the development and structure of these great ancient civilizations. Her goal in writing this book was to expand upon her first book, entitled Goddesses as she discusses in the Preface of this book. She wanted to include the significance of all women’s roles beyond just that of Olympian women because the first thesis was so well received.
The title of Sarah B. Pomeroy's book on women in antiquity is a summary of the main categories of females in the literary imagination and the societies of ancient Greece and Rome, over a period of fifteen hundred years. Beginning with goddesses, Pomery retells some Greek myths, outlining the social functions of female Olympians – the goddesses are archetypical images of human females, as envisioned by males. Desirable characteristics among a number of females rather than their concentration in one being are appropriate to a patriarchal society. Demosthenes states in the fourth century B.C. this ideal among mortal men, "We have mistresses for our enjoyment, concubines to serve our person and wives for the bearing of legitimate children (Pomery 1995)." Pomery’s goal in writing this book was to detail and outline the true significance of women in all other their roles in antiquity.
Since the Neolithic Age, gender specific roles were put into place. Men held all the occupations that required constant intellectual power and muscles, while women did all the laissez-faire work that would not put their lives in jeopardy. Men were perceived to be better than woman in every aspect of life in the beginning ages of the world, and even today in the 21st Century. This long going battle of the sexes is seen all throughout history, and illustrated in many forms of literature. “The Myth of Atalanta” is an insightful tale that has been around since the ancient times of Greeks and Romans with a clear message of gender issues. The story illustrates the message through the character’s actions, significant events, and the use of symbolism.
Homer’s Iliad is undoubtedly focused on its male characters: Achilles, primarily, but also Hector and Agamemnon. Nevertheless, it seems that the most crucial characters in the epic are female. Homer uses the characters of Thetis, Andromache, and Helen as a basis for comparison to the male characters. Homer wants his audience to see and understand the folly of his male characters in choosing war over peace, aggression over kindness, and honor over family. While the behavior of these characters clearly speaks for itself, the contrasting attitudes and behaviors of the female characters proffer an alternative; in comparison, the reader can hardly fail to concur with Homer’s message that war, aggression,
If we analyse the legends of the Amazons told in Chapter 2 and considering the fact that Africans are attached to their glorious past, we can put forward that the inner-power in woman are strongly attached to these values which have been transmitted from generations to generations.