The Golden Age Athens Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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for outdoor jobs and concerns.” (Spyridakis 206). This is the general attitude that Athenians held toward their wives. The Athenian wife was expected to marry and bring a dowry into her husband’s house. Although this dowry was attached to the woman, she was in no way allowed to control the lands and moneys she might bring to her husband.. Similarly, women were not allowed to vote or take any part in the Assembly, being seen as unfit for this privilege. The primary function of a citizen’s wife was to take care of domestic affairs and provide the citizen with an heir. Athenian wives were rarely seen outside of their houses, for respectable wives had at least one slave who would purchase needed items at market. Poorer Athenian women were seen at market because they lacked

slaves to run their errands. Women were considered intellectual non-entities and were treated as such in the Athenian Empire. Metics also had a low status in Athenian society. Metics were not allowed voting privileges in the Athenian democracy, but were compulsed to serve a specified time in the Athenian military and were taxed by the Athenians. Metics usually were lower-class tradesmen or craftsmen. Although some metics families eventually gained wealth, the vast majority of the metics remained second-class inhabitants of Athens, even though they performed some of the polis’ most activities, such as military service and trade. Slavery was also matter-of-fact in 5th century Athenian life. Slaves were the property of specific owners and subject to the wishes of their owners.

Like women and metics, slaves had no citizenship rights. It was possible for a slave to save enough money to buy his freedom, but a freed slave had only as much status as a metic. Aristotle defended slavery as necessary and a law of nature, saying in his Politics, “That some should rule and others should be ruled is not only necessary but expedient; indeed, from the very moment of birth some are set apart to obey and others to command.” (Spyridakis 62) and also stating that, “He is by nature a slave who is capable of belonging to another (and therefore does belong to another) and who has access to reason in that he senses it and understands it but does not possess it.” (Spyridakis 63). Many Athenians viewed slavery as necessary to society in order to give a citizen more

time to participate in government affairs and other matters that were viewed as more important than a slave’s work. Although some lower-class Athenians may have been forced to share labor with slaves, most Athenians did not participate in slave’s work. Male slaves did harder labor such as construction and agriculture. Female slaves ran their mistress’ errands and generally took care of domestic affairs under the watchful eye of their mistress. Slaves also acted as State scribes. In short, slaves did much of the work that allowed Athens to prosper in a period of “enlightenment.” In light of the unrecognized people who helped to build the foundations for the Athenian Empire, this “Golden Age” seem far less golden. However, many major accomplishments grew out of this

period as well. Before one can or cannot place a “Golden Age” label on 5th century Athens, one must consider other times when the ends of man’s accomplishments may not have justified the means. Athens could be compared to post- Revolutionary America, where a “democratic” government was only available to white male citizens. Yet Americans tend to view this time with much patriotism and pride. Likewise the Industri 1996. Spyridakis, Stylianos V. and Bradley P. Nystrom, eds., trans. Ancient Greece: Documantary Perspectives. Dubuque: Kendall-Hunt, 1985.