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Xenophon and Sappho

Course Code
Victoria Wohl

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CLA232 Men and Women Wednesday March 2nd 2011
Xenophon and Sappho
Gendered relationship between the inside and outside of the body translated also to
their places in society
Men spend most of their lives outside in the public sphere (politics, farming, etc.)
and so the ideal man would spend most of his time outside
In Xenophon we can see that men who spent much of their time inside (craftsmen)
were seen as suspicious
Because they were having to work hard indoors, they had no time outdoors
participating in politics (ideal)
So, the kalokagathos spend his time outdoors
The way he managed to spend all of his time outdoors was by having his wife spend
her time indoors
It would be impossible to live the idea life of a kalokagathos if you didnt have
someone staying home taking care of the indoor roles
Women werent only kept indoors, but in their own quarters of the house
The proper woman, then, stayed in womens quarters of the house
Women did go out for religious festivals, however
Even if a woman was out for a legitimate purpose (like religion) there was always
anxiety that she would be drawn to vices (seduced into an affair, bears another
mans child)
A virtuous woman wasnt seen by strange men
This division of space and ideal of women staying predominantly in the home was
probably just for the upper classes (lower class women would have had to leave the
home for chores, work, etc.)
It also didnt apply to women without honour
Themes that women cant be trusted, that they’re genetically different than men,
that they’re a different race than men, that they have different social spheres, and
that their interiors are different than their exteriors were all established in Hesiods
So, nomos transforms into physis
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CLA232 Men and Women Wednesday March 2nd 2011
Xenophon and Sappho
This gendered division of space was part of the reality of the Greek household oikos
Oikos: the household
On this estate, the man was king
Men married in Greece usually around 35 (after they’d done their military service
and learnt a profession, and often by this time theyd received their inheritance)
They generally married girls who were just past puberty (13-15)
oGirls this young were very impressionable (learn his ways)
oVirgin and pure
One of the consequences of this was that it was really the mans fault if the girl ends
up useless (since they’re the ones who have to teach her)
In this we can see the same anxiety about getting a bad wife (as we saw in Hesiod
and Semonides), but in this we see that it could actually be the mans fault that she
turns out to be a bad wife
Xenophons Oikonomikos
Teaches the nomos (laws, customs) of the oikos (household)
Xenophon takes this very pragmatic, day-to-day information and turns it into a
subject for philosophy
A philosophical dialogue between the philosopher Socrates and a rich gentleman
named Critoboulos
Critoboulos was generally considered a kalokagathos
Socrates had a habit of going around to people with a good reputuation in their fields
and show them that they dont actually know anything
In this dialogue, he goes to a kalokagathoi, with a reputation as a true gentleman,
and shows him that he doesnt actually know the true meaning of a kalokagathos
and doesnt know how to run his estate
Socrates reports indirectly the wisdom of the true kalokagathos, a man named
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