CLASSICS 2K03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Hetaira, Childbirth, Xenophobia

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23 Jun 2016
Department
The Society of Greece and Rome
Classics 2K03
Professor Kyle McLeister
Lecture 2
June 22nd 2016
Slaves, Metics, and Barbarians
Citizenship
Different poleis defined citizenship differently, but it was
highly prized in all poleis
Citizenship was very exclusive (and requirements were often
tightened as time went on)
Slavery
Slaves played a role in nearly every aspect of Greek society
Slavery in Athens was similar to slavery in the other Greek
poleis, with one exception
Most slaves in Athens were not Greeks, and they certainly
weren’t Athenians
Debt-slavery and Solon
Sources of Slaves
The children of slaves were also slaves
Slaves could be captured in war
Slaves could be purchased from slave markets
Poverty may have driven some Thracians to sell their children
into slavery
What did slaves do?
Household slaves did work around the house
Slaves were engaged in a variety of occupations, including
knowledge-based ones such as medicine and teaching
State-owned slaves, including Scythian archers
The Conditions of Slavery
Slavery was brutal  beatings and other punishments were normal
Slaves were property, often referred to as tools like any other
Runaway slaves with branded with hot irons
Slave testimony in legal cases was only accepted if given under
torture
Barbarians
Non-Greeks were considered barbarians (because it sounded like
they were always saying “bar bar bar”)
Outsiders were not always viewed negatively (e.g. the Trojans)
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After the Persian wars, we see barbarians depicted as
uncivilized brutes, also slavish, effeminate, weaklings
Barbaric Actions
Circumcision
Drinking milk, beer, or unmixed wine
Metics
Resident foreigners
Metoikoi – “those who dwell among”
Faced considerable restrictions
Some poleis were more accepting of metics than others (Spartans
were particularly xenophobic)
The Greek Family
Dominated by the nuclear family: one man, one woman, with
children
Slaves often served as wet-nurses or nannies
Many Greeks were raised mostly by slaves
Some Greeks were very fond of the slaves who had raised them,
while others were not so sentimental
Many families would not have treated the slaves very kindly
Many slaves would be sold off after they had fulfilled their
purpose, such as a nanny when a child no longer needed the care
Slaves were a part of nearly every household
Famous Greek Families
Oedipus killed his father and married his mother
Medea killed her own children
House of Atreus Agamemmon is killed by his wife’s lover, and
then Agamemmon’s son kills his mother in revenge
Antigone punished for trying to bury her brother after he died
fighting her other brother
Childbirth
Childbirth was incredibly dangerous, and many women died while
giving birth
Medea: I would rather fight in battle three times than give
birth once
Women would have gone through childbirth several time throughout
their lives
Exposure
Common way to get rid of unwanted infants
Exposure was more common for girls than it was for boy
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