The Women of Greece: A Transition from Ancient Power to Classical Subservience
For the most part, women in today's society hold a position equal to that of a man;
however, this has not always been the case. Women?s conquest for political and social
freedom is a battle that has gone on for centuries. Perhaps the breaking point in women?s
liberation was the Women's Movement of the 1900's, which encouraged women all over
America to join in the fight for their right to vote. Because of this struggle for equality,
women are now able to vote, receive a standard of fairness in the workplace, hold
political positions, and play professional sports, as well as a wide array of other privileges
enjoyed by men. Unfortunately, these civil rights have not been made available to
women worldwide. In some cultures, especially those of the Middle East, women have
gained little if any rights at all since the societies of the past. In Greece, an almost
opposite effect can be seen in its history in which women in their country went from
being recognized as equals and above, to becoming a much weaker sex. This odd
transition of status of Greek women is evident through the art, mythology, and philosophy
of a much older Greece. Thus dominant role of women portrayed in Ancient Greek
mythology and artwork is in direct contrast to the more subservient role of women during
the classical era in Greece.
Ancient Greece, otherwise known as the Archaic period (650-450 B.C.), was a
time of great development for Greece. The first major developments in Greece were
cities or towns and their surrounding villages called city-states(Greece 366). Much
rivalry consisted between city-state residents which resulted in a great deal of patriotism
for one?s city-state. Some of the best known city-states are Athens and Sparta (Greece
During this time of growth, numerous tyrants came into control of the city-states.
These tyrants caused the people to become bitterly rebellious, which later ended in revolt
and the birth of the first known democratic government (Greece 372).
City-states were once again threatened by takeover in the 500?s B.C., when
Persian kings tried to overrun the city-states; however, the city-states revolted against the
Persian kings. These uprisings did nothing more than cause a war with Persia. The
Greeks, who were outnumbered, fought Persia and surprisingly won (Greece 372).
Another problem that Greece faced was the rivalry between the city-states of
Athens and Sparta. The cooperation between the two city-states in the Persian War was
short-lived. Athens and Sparta were constantly feuding for control of Greece (Greece
The Archaic period, though constantly growing, was one of a somewhat primitive
nature. Due to this, not much written philosophy has surfaced; however, creative thought
was very encouraged during...