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CLA230H1 Lecture Notes - Aristotle, Hellenistic Period, Gynaeceum

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Dimitri Nakassis

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The Greek House
*relates to source criticism
*Archaeology is a source which is important source for Greek history for pre-history
*Sources generally reference male, aristocrats, politics or events. Archaeology gives
perspective of women, slaves etc...
*The Greek house gives both literary and archaeological evidence
*Literary Evidence
-What it tells us
-Issue:gendered space
*Archaeological Evidence
-Development of house, general and specific examples
Literary evidence
*Pros =
-Eye witness and contemporary accounts
-generally come from one privileged class (biased one sided)
-incomplete/vague - written for ancient greeks for other ancient greeks- no need to elab-
-text is overwhelmingly Athenian
-very anthenocentric version of events
Oikonomikos “household management” (Aristole) -attributed, but not actually him
“ 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”

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-get the most of the sunlight (especially in winter)
-obviously not all houses can face the south
**Legal Cases**
On the killing of Eratosthenes (Lysias)
“... 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, it’s moth-
er 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.
-Wife usually stays on the upper floor re:ladder - separate floors allow her to cheat on
her husband
-taken as description of a normal athenian house
Against Simon (Lysias)
“ 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
nieces, whos lives have been so well-ordered that they are ashamed to be seen even by
their kinsmen”
-women are secluded.
-so secluded they are ashamed to be seen by their male relatives
-this man violated their space
Against Euergus and Mnesibulus (Demosthenes) - attributed-not him
“ 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.”
-everyone is segregated men, women, slaves.
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