BIO220H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Fraternities And Sororities, Ancient Greek Architecture, Peristyle

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Published on 22 Apr 2013
School
UTSG
Department
Biology
Course
BIO220H1
CLA230 Lecture 18 Notes
The Greek House
- archaeology is especially useful for Bronze/Iron Age, but also continues to be
an important source of Greek history even into the Classical Period
- written sources place importance on aristocratic male activity and is often
event oriented
- historians also find economic history to be important, as well as slaves, non-
Greeks, women’s history
- written sources are not always completely believable
- many examples – such as the history of the Greek countryside – geological,
paleo-botanical, archaeological evidence
- question whether ancient Greek environment is similar to that of today
- example of the Greek house – literacy and archeological evidence and
reconcile them through comparison
- two kinds of evidence – literary and archaeological evidence
- literary evidence
interest in gendered space in literature – control, access
what literature tells about culture and ways of thinking
eye-witness – produced my individuals who lived in ancient Greek
houses
contemporary to described accounts
tends to come from very privileged class – therefore biased or one-
sided – rich, aristocratic males
incomplete/vague
most texts not interested in explaining the ancient Greek house –
ideological texts
often take the form of speeches from law courts or philosophy
no need to explain the house to other Greeks therefore it is often very
vague
overwhelmingly Athenian – very Athenocetric version of events and
biased
- archaeological evidence
development of the house
general and specific examples
issue of gendered space – comparison
not prone to the sort of biases inherent in literary sources
shows houses from all levels of society
most houses not from Athens
more direct evidence
record must be interpreted however – sometimes difficult
incomplete evidence
when excavating – not always much artifact material to decipher what
the rooms were used for
difficult to piece together patchy evidence
Household Structure
- texts about how houses ought to be – how to be built and organized
- Oikonomikos, attributed to Aristotle but not likely written by him, mentions
qualities to be desired in a house
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- quote: “For well-being and health, again, the homestead should be airy in
summer, and sunny in winter...A homestead possessing these qualities would
be longer than it is deep; and its main front would face the south.”
- oikonomia – “household management”
- oikos – “house”
- abstracted word of oikonomia becomes the modern word ‘economy’
- main front facing south – most amount of sunlight – especially important in
winter
- an ideal – likely not truly a reality
- interesting mention by Lysias – speech counter, Against Eratosthenes
- writer for the courts – Lysias
- context – wife cheated on her husband – man came home to find them
together and killed the adulterer
- legal to kill – justified homicide – has to be spur-of-the-moment
- speech is an attempt to prove that it is not planned but indeed a crime of
passion
- quote: “I happened to be familiar with the house, and knew that it had doors
front and back...I took to flight, while they were keeping guard over the
courtyard door: there were three doors for me to pass through, and they all
chanced to be open.”
- defendant spends much time in the countryside
- wife has an upper floor with a ladder
- wife and husband switch spaces which allows her to cheat on him
- switching of locations – some take this to be a typical Athenian house –
women above, men below
Gendered Space
- idea of gendered space is mentioned in this fashion – also by Lysias, On the
Killing of Eratosthenes
- quote: “...my dwelling is on two floors, the upper being equal in space to the
lower, with the women's quarters above and the men's below. When the child
was born to us, its mother suckled it; and in order that, each time that it had
to be washed, she might avoid the risk of descending by the stairs, I used to
live above, and the women below.”
- another speech by Lysias – two men get in a fight about a boy – Against
Simon
- defendant – speaks about the boy at his house
- description of women’s home-life – secluded in quarters – extreme
- quote: “Hearing that the boy was at my house, he came there at night in a
drunken state, broke down the doors, and entered the women's rooms: within
were my sister and my nieces, whose lives have been so well-ordered that
they are ashamed to be seen even by their kinsmen.”
- violation of the women’s personal space
- court case attributed to Demosthenes – Against Euergus and Mnesibulus
- quote: “The rest of the female slaves (they were in a tower room where they
live), when they heard the tumult, closed the door leading to the tower, so
the men did not get in there.”
- female slaves living in a tower – gendered space for non-free women –
extreme segregation
- Xenophon – philosophical text
- 4th century B.C. Athenian text on household management – Oikonomikos
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Document Summary

Archaeology is especially useful for bronze/iron age, but also continues to be an important source of greek history even into the classical period. Written sources place importance on aristocratic male activity and is often event oriented historians also find economic history to be important, as well as slaves, non- Written sources are not always completely believable. Oikonomikos, attributed to aristotle but not likely written by him, mentions texts about how houses ought to be how to be built and organized qualities to be desired in a house. Main front facing south most amount of sunlight especially important in. Wife has an upper floor with a ladder. Wife and husband switch spaces which allows her to cheat on him switching of locations some take this to be a typical athenian house women above, men below. Gendered space idea of gendered space is mentioned in this fashion also by lysias, on the.

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