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History does not remember good girls

24 July 2009 / 10:07:06  GRReporter
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According to a recent survey, ancient Greeks did in fact despise women. We shouldn’t also forget that being the wife of an Athenian citizen in the classical times wasn’t much of a benefit. The wife of Athenians were rather restricted in their activities, were not allowed to be seen by other men, except for their closest relatives, and their participation in social events was limited to attending funerals.

The clothing of these wives was very simple, made out of linen or wool, and its main purpose was to protect women from other people’s eyes. Women’s behavior was subject of strict rules, most of which were written by Solon, who was homosexual.

A monthly intercourse “regime” of three times was considered sufficient and a demonstration of men’s goodwill towards their “lovely” wives. If the man was not serving military obligations, or was in the company of his friends, the law allowed him to visit prostitutes. Furthermore, men had their own women-slaves, primarily responsible for satisfying men’s sexual needs.

We could hence conclude that the life of Athenian women was not a pleasant one, as writer Sarah Pomeroy summarizes. Did they do anything interesting in their life? No one knows, simply because no one was concerned at the time. Sarah Pomeroy is a respected American writer, responsible for a number of scientific studies on the topic of women in the antiquity.   

As a matter of fact, there are no historic records of a matriarchic society, where the woman is respected most in the public, is praised more than the man, or is at least equally valued. Women have ruled in the past; they have ruled entire states, but never have women had the power over other women, not even in their own kingdom.

As Pomeroy reminds Greece and Rome have always been military societies, and what mattered for them was winning wars and strengthening the empire. Ever Plato – the ancient author who was mostly sympathetic to women’s fate, concludes that one gender has always been superior, with a few exceptions. On the other hand, Aristotle elucidates women’s flaws, starting with their passive role in continuing the human kind, and concluding with their limited abilities of intellectual thought. As one can see, ever since the classical ages women’s confinement in the premises of their own home has been established, and the hate against women has been systemized.

All the women that are historically memorable have influenced the society on matters related to men – hence the prostitutes and queens. In addition, the names of some poetesses are also written in history books, but the information we have on them is rather limited. The only woman that has deserved a biographical writing is Cleopatra. Even she however has been commemorated by hostile writers. Only her wickedness has protected her from the test of time. 

We shall not be surprised by such facts, as in Rome, the only reward a “nice” woman would get is a stereotypical praise. Nice women in Athens did not even deserve this kind of gesture, and their kindness was buried in oblivion.

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