A Day In The Life Of An Ancient Athenian

1305 words - 5 pages

Welcome to Athens, the marvel of Greece! The city which is the fountainhead of beauty, wisdom and knowledge. Even as your ship approaches the Athenian harbor Piraeus, you can see the marble monuments of the Acropolis and the shining golden edge of the spear, which belongs to the gigantic statue of the goddess Pallas Athene. This is one of the greatest works of the sculptor Phidias, and symbolizes both the power and justice of the "violet city" as it was called by his contemporaries.Athenian women had virtually no political rights of any kind and were controlled by men at nearly every stage of their lives. The most important duties for a city dwelling woman were to bear children preferably male and to run the household. Duties of a rural woman included some of the agricultural work: the harvesting of olives and fruit was their responsibility. Since men spent most of their time away from their houses, women dominated Athenian home life. The wife was in charge of raising the children, spinning, weaving and sewing the family's clothes. She supervised the daily running of the household. In a totally slave based economy, plentiful numbers of female slaves were available to cook, clean, and carry water from the fountain. Only in the poorest homes was the wife expected to carry out all these duties by herself. A male slave´s responsibilities were for the most part limited to being doorkeeper and tutor to the male children. Athenian women had very limited freedom outside the home. They could attend weddings, funerals, some religious festivals, and could visit female neighbors for brief periods of time. In their home, Athenian women were in charge! Their job was to run the house and to bear children. Most Athenian women did not do housework themselves. Most Athenian households had slaves. Female slaves cooked, cleaned, and worked in the fields. Male slaves watched the door, to make sure no one came in when the man of the house was away, except for female neighbors, and acted as tutors to the young male children.Wives and daughters were not allowed to watch the Olympic Games as the participants in the games did not wear clothes. Chariot racing was the only game women could win, and only then if they owned the horse. If that horse won, they received the prize. . Women spent much of their time in the courtyard of the house, the one place where they could regularly enjoy fresh air. Athenian cooking equipment was small and light and could easily be set up there. In sunny weather, women sat in the roofed over areas of the courtyard, for the ideal in female beauty was a pale complexion.Women´s clothes underwent relatively few changes in style. Greek clothing was very simple. Men and women wore linen in the summer and wool in the winter. The ancient Greeks could buy cloth and clothes in the agora, the marketplace, but that was expensive. Most families made their own clothes, which were simple tunics...

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