Women’s Roles In The Ancient Greece

1815 words - 8 pages

All throughout Greek history you hear all about the men of the Olympics. However, you don’t hear much about the women of the time. The sources that survived over the years were even written by men for men. Women on the other hand really weren’t apart of the story. The surviving structures such as temples, buildings and battlegrounds all speak of a man’s world. Surviving works of art feature women in various guises, but rarely give an insight into any other kind of world. The place of women in ancient Greece is summed up most acutely in the book Images of Women in Antiquity by saying “the greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about by men, whether in praise or blame” (Cameron and Kuhrt pg. 217) With hearing all about the men’s advancements and involvement in the Olympics it made me think: What was the women’s role in Ancient Greek society? Over the past fifty years the raid change in the roles of women in modern society made people want to go back and retake a look at women in the ancient societies. In order to understand women’s role in Greek society we will look at literature, religion, education and mirage.
Greek women in society had to endure many hardships. At least that’s what we can noticed through literature when they rarely discussed women in this time period. For example in the Odyssey, Penelope’s one and only role in the epic poem was to support Odysseus and remain loyal to him. She is at home and struggles to keep her family intact while Odysseus is away trying to return to his native land. The cultural role of women is being depicted as being supportive of man and nothing more. However, what women roles were in ancient Greece did long ago was by far more impressive than what men did. Unfortunately though, they were still placed at a level that was below man because he is depicted as being the root of the family. This fact not only holds true for The Odyssey but in the ancient Greek way of life, too. For example, women did not have such a meaningful role in Greek drama as the men did. The parts of women would be played by men in the majority of the plays. The reason this took place was because all of the playwrights were men. There were cases in which women were used in plays but they were used solely as models. Nonetheless, all of the types of women that lived in ancient Greece were depicted in all of the playwrights. The women in these plays were depicted by the role of a sinner, saint, poetess, coward, heroine, and many more. This was purposefully done in an attempt to make the audience relate to a certain character. In doing so, they could imagine that they were indeed a part of the play to some extent. As a result, these characters have significant religious meanings and serve as a form of inspiration to other women. This would mainly apply to those women who were in attendance. This would include women of all classes that simply wanted to watch a play.
Religion is one of the most important aspects of Greek culture....

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