Women in Athens
Posted on 25th December 2020
The status of women in Ancient Greece varied across different city-states.
In Athens a woman remained under the guardianship of her father or male relative; the guardian then became her husband following marriage.
Women were never classed as full citizens in Athens as full citizenship was related to the ownership of property and political rights. Women were barred from conducting legal proceedings and could only obtain property as a gift, dowry or inheritance, therefore they never acquired full citizenship.
Athenian women were very closeted and rarely allowed outside of the home, spending much of their time within the outer courtyard of their house. On occasion when they did leave the house, they could only do so with the permission of their father, guardian or husband. Women spent much of their time with other females and had very limited contact with men, including their husbands.
Wealthy women often had separate female only quarters of the house and would not partake of meals with their husbands. They were not allowed contact with men unless they were part of their immediate family.
The men of the household would often hold male only parties; the women and children were not allowed to attend. Athenian women were also not allowed to attend the Olympic Games.
Women however did play an important role in Athens and were responsible for the running of the household. Wealthy women managed the home with many slaves to undertake the duties of the household; poorer women would complete these duties themselves, often working in the fields, shops or in trade. They would spin, weave and sew clothes, cook and maintain the household.
The main purpose of women was to bear strong, healthy children, preferably male.
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Greece
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