Athenian Women Essay Research Paper Athenian society — страница 2

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productive, but because it was the same as slaves work, it was not highly valued.” Wives were not thought of as being intellectual in any way. They were not allowed to leave the home, if an errand needed to be done, a slave woman would be sent. Water had to be fetched from a fountain and was considered a female chore, however this was among the jobs of a servant, “fetching water involved social mingling, gossip at the fountain, and possible flirtations.” This sort of thing would be considered unacceptable for a wife to handle. Women were not trusted and thought to be highly susceptible to sexual intimacy and flirtation. Since the men placed no real value beside domestic labor on the servant women it was fine for them to gossip and or flirt. What happened to them was

inconsequential. The wives were expected to produce citizens for their husbands, preferably male. This is similar to if something was needed at the market, a servant would be sent, however the servant would most likely be a male because a woman would be assumed incompetent for monetary dealings. Men in Athenian society had “the feeling that purchase or exchange was a financial transaction too complex for women, as well as the wish to protect women from the eyes of strangers and from intimate dealings with shopkeepers.” There were set views and expectations of how women were supposed to interact with others outside the home. The wives were not allowed to leave, while some female servants were permitted to do things that were determined to be trifling. Adultery in Athens had

strict ramifications in Athenian society. If a male was caught in the act of adultery with another man’s wife this constituted justifiable homicide. Along with war or accidental killing within an athletic contest, killing and adulterer was also legal. In a documented prosecution dealing with adultery, a man “who had killed another man he found in the act of adultery with his wife, the husband has the statute read to the jury as part of his defense that the killing was justified.” The woman who is involved in adultery must suffer the consequence of divorce. “The husband who takes his wife in adultery must divorce her.” Women were expected to be hidden from society that if a wife simply answered the door, she could suffer intense ridicule from the community. A woman had

to be extremely careful outside the home because, “…saying she addresses those who pass on the street, or that she answers the door by herself, or that she talks with men, are all roughly equivalent to saying ‘this house is simply a brothel.’” The scrutiny she would endure, as a result of doing something so nonchalant to modern society as opening her front door is very difficult for us to comprehend. The prostitutes and the state-owned brothels were an attractive part of Athens, usually run by slave women. ”Athenian Greeks developed a reputation among Romans and Western culture for having raised prostitution to a unique level of refinement.” Not all prostitutes were slaves; some prostitutes were slave women who bought their freedom. Women could get a loan from a

client and then pay it off with what she made as a free prostitute. Many free women in Athens would make their living this way, however they had to register and then be subjected to special taxes to keep their free prostitute title. The hetairai were the highest on the social scale of prostitutes, the word actually means, “companions to men”, which is ironic because they were not wives. Many of the hetairai were educated in many aspects such as the arts, had intellectual training, and most were very attractive. In many cases, these women became more entertaining companions to the men then their wives were. Pericles, the thirty-year political leader of Athens, fell in love with a hetairai, named Aspasia. “It is no accident that the most famous woman in fifth-century Athens

was the foreign-born Aspasia, who started as a hetairai and ended as a madam.” Aspasia became controversial in history because she made a tool to insult Pericles. She was accused by some as having heavy political influence over Pericles. Despite some negative accusations, Aspasia is described as, “a beautiful, independent, brilliantly witty young woman capable of holding her own in conversation with the best minds in Greece and of discussing and illuminating any kind of question with her husband.” The wives in Athens were reduced to the title “women” and rarely had recorded names as proof of Athenian citizenship. When sons were born, their names were recorded with their father’s and their grandfather’s name as documentation of their Athenian citizenship. The