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Lecture

CLA219H1 Lecture Notes - Epikleros, Metic, Dowry


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA219H1
Professor
Regina Höschele

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Lecture 6 (10/23/12):
Legal Status of Women
- Life expectancy of men in antiquity is about 45 years, women's average was 35
- Can't take these figures as solid fact because it is quite a hard thing to determine
- Infant mortality rate was very high, 30 - 40 percent died within the first year
- Modern reconstruction, there are no ancient sources for these figures
- 50 percent of children died before the age of 10
- in Rome the infant mortality rate was 25 percent and the child mortality rate was also
50 percent
- In Roman Egypt a woman would have to give birth to 5 - 6 children to maintain the
population
- It was not a crime to expose a child at birth, it is not known how many children were
exposed but it is not likely to be all that many
- Selling the child was another option for the family
- Exposure was far more likely for female children than male ones
- Aristotle once said there should be a law that prohibits the raising of disabled children
- Very high mortality rate for women of childbearing age
- Girls were often less well nourished than male children
- Female children were educated on how to run a household and household activities
- Illiteracy was much more common among females, though high class Roman women
were commonly educated
- Menstruation would have begun at 13 - 15, this is when a woman would be married off
- Men would have a longer education and not have been considered a legal adult until
later in life
- In Sparta the minimum age to marry was actually 18
- Women, almost across the board, were not legal adults, always under the guardianship
of a male family member
- Augustus made it so that Roman women who have 3 children had their own
guardianship, 4 children for freewomen
- Very defined separation of house and state in ancient Greece
- Xenophon creates a woman who is a reflection of what is considered a perfect wife
- The metaphor of the yoke is often used with marriage, both positive and negative
connotations
- In this case it is positive, have marriage to properly manage the house and bear
legitimate children
- Children were considered a form of old age insurance and they could run the estates
and take care of their parents when the parents were old
- Gender roles, women belonged in the indoors and men outside, this combined to
create the perfect household unit
- The indoor activities are not devalued, they are considered equally as essential to life
- Separate the natures by physical ability and courage
- Oikos: The house, is considered a miniature state, the city can only run if the
households within it are well run
- In Ancient Athens there is very strict sexual segregation, separate women's quarters to
the male section of the house
- These quarters were often in the back of the house and upstairs, as far away from
others as is possible to get
- The only women found at symposium would be courtesans and musicians, low life's
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