Athenian Women Essay Research Paper Athenian society — страница 3

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daughters’/mothers’ names were insignificant. This was not the case for hetairai, they were widely known by their first name, although some of their names were their professional titles often created by themselves. However, male clients referred to them by their first names, a formality not typically extended to ones wife. Prostitutes are the only women in Athens who could control large sums of money. Even a select few were so successful they were able to make donations. If one was a hetairai, she was in the most lucrative business for most people, especially any woman. “hetairai became the life-long mistresses of wealthy citizens.” Herodotus wrote the first story about a woman, Rhodopis, who was credited with funding the building of a pyramid, and also made expensive

donations to Delphi. Aspasia, although favored by Pericles, was a subject of controversy for Athenian citizens. She was not a citizen herself but managed to win the preference of the political leader of all the Athenian Empire. Percales, “divorced his wife-a rich and noble lady-and took Asperse as his mistress.” The citizens of Athens did not approve of this event on the whole, and accused her of interfering with political affairs. This is a bold accusation because politics was something that women were not supposed to have anything to do with. Plato wrote a well known dialogue called Menexenus, in which he claimed that the funeral oration Pericles gave was actually written by Aspasia: yet another suspicion of her involvement in Athenian politics. A wife would not have had

such proclamations against her since she was not viewed as threatening. One could conclude this was due to her restricted position of passivity contrary to the more worldly and knowledgeable role of hetairai, especially one as well known as Aspasia was. “Although to a modern woman, the role of neither hetairai nor secluded housewife appears attractive, it is tempting for us to idealize the former and to pity the latter.” The Athenian wife did not have much room for independence, individuality, or amusement, where as prostitutes were in many cases their own keepers. “The hetairai had access to the intellectual life of Athens, which we nowadays treasure, and a popular courtesan who was not a slave had the freedom to be with whomever pleased her.” However one can only

speculate and it is unfair to attach today’s values to ancient affairs, but, but the basic question to be answered would be, “which was the preferable role-companion or wife?” Bibliography Just, p40. Ibid,p48. Keuls, p98. Ibid, p90. Pomeroy, p71. Ibid Ibid, p72. Ibid. Cohen, p101. Ibid, p110. Ibid, p148. Keuls, p194. Pomeroy, p89. Kagan, p182. Halperin, p111. Pomeroy, p92. Ibid Ibid Frost, p139.