Children in Athens
Posted on 25th December 2020
Giving birth in Ancient Athens could be dangerous for a woman and many women and babies did not survive. As the death rate was high in the first few days, babies were often not named until at least seven days old.
Women wanted to give birth to a son; sons were important in Athens where daughters were not. A son was responsible for looking after his parents in later life. Daughters, as less important were often abandoned at birth. It could be expensive to raise daughters, for when they reached marriageable age the father would have to supply a dowry (payment) to the potential husband to marry them.
Women had very little say in regard to a baby and ultimately it was the father’s decision If the baby was to be kept or not. Many baby girls, as not wanted, and some boys if classed as weak or disabled were therefore abandoned by the father and left outside in the hills to starve and die. Sometimes If found alive by others, they would be taken home, raised and used as slaves.
In some city-states including Athens babies were wrapped in cloths until approximately two years old. It was believed that this would produce strong healthy children with straight limbs.
Girls were raised and received their entire education from their mother; boys remained with their mother until aged seven, then moved into education.
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Greece
Share this post: