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Lecture 7


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Victoria Wohl

rd October 23 , 2012 Lecture 7: Daily Life and Legal Status of Women Daily Life of Women 1) BKGD statistics during antiquity a) The average age of males during antiquity was ~45. The average age for females was ~35. This was largely due to premature deaths during childbirth (child baring age was 15- 29). i) These figures are not absolute based on skeletal remains found in burial tombs. ii) No birth or death certificates/registrations. • These figures did have an impact on marriage. b) Infant mortality in Greece: 30-40% of infant would die within one year of birth and 50% would die before the age of 10. Infant mortality in Rome: 25% of infant would die within one year of birth and 50% would die before the age of 10. i) It was also not illegal to expose of the child if one could not take care of them or didn’t want them. • No precise detail about this but it was practiced. There is evidence that it was not uncommon - #249 in sourcebook (i) “If – good luck to you – you bear offspring, if it is a male, let it live; if it is a female, expose of it” • Girls were usually exposed. Males were desired for the purpose of heirs. 2) Daily Life of Women a) Girls were less nurtured than boys in general (in Athens, different in Sparta and Egypt). However if they did pass the age of 1 and, subsequently, their childhood (i.e., past the age of 10), they were taught skills for domestic life: i) Cooking, weaving, housekeeping ii) Trained to run the household 1 iii) Illiteracy was high amongst the females yet there were women who possessed the basic knowledge of reading and writing. In Rome, noble and aristocratic females were taught to read and write almost as well as the males in certain instances. b) Girls started menstruation between the ages of 13 to 15 i) Once started menstruation you are able to bear children therefore you are a woman ii) In Athens, girls typically married between the ages of 13 and 14. In Rome: Augustus passed a law that a girl had to be at least 12 years old to be married. In Sparta: a girl must be 18 years old to be able to marry • However, in both Athens and Sparta, women did not have citizenships - They required the protection of a male • Rome: Augustus passed a law that allowed women to become citizens only when: - If she had given birth to 3 children - If she was a free woman  she had to have given birth to 4 children c) #267 reading i) A discussion between Ischomachus and Socrates. Dealt with household management • Ischomachus tells Socrates how he teaches his wife how to manage his estate. Wife is pretty much a blank slate not knowing anything and wanting to please her husband vis-a-vis the “good” wife • 7.18 (pg 198)  distribution of chores - Created by the gods for partnership - Yoke: wooden binding between ox and chariot (i) Used to describe marriage (sometimes in the negative, but in this seen as a positive description) (ii) Why marriage: 1. Procreation 2. Legitimacy  Athenians citizens must be born from 2 legal Athenians. In other words, Athenians must only marry Athenians 3. Selfish reasons  someone to take care of you when you are old - Outdoor vs indoor chores 2 (i) Nature of the sexes is different = they are better suited for different tasks. Males would perform the outdoor chores while the women were in charge of the indoor (ii) Readings presents a balance, an equality of sorts between comparison of outdoor to indoor chores i.e., balance between male and female in marriage (iii) Oikos: household 1. The oikos can be seen as a mini polis  the polis can only function if the oikos is running smoothly • 7.33 – leader bee - In charge of all the components of running a households  weaving, nurturing the youth, in charge of the slaves • Conclusions about the text: more favourable and modern look towards women in general. 3) Ancient Worlds a) Athens i) Segregation of the sexes in the house • Separate quarters  men on ground floor, women usually on the top floor - If a symposium took place women were not allowed (courtesans were present however) - The richer you were, the more confined you were. The slaves would do most of the works that which women would do (shopping, gathering food, etc.) they would only go out for religious festivals and funerals - Communications might have only been limited to next of kin, mother, neighbours, etc. But especially not with strangers (i) This is based on what we know, no actual facts - Widows could remarry (i) Usually seen during childbearing age men would usually marry in their 30s to women around 13/14. Therefore, high percentage of remarrying did occur (ii) Univira: one-husband woman; woman married only once 3 1. This was usually the case in Rome b) Rome i) Pater familias: male who is the head of a household • The father of the family had full power over the child until his dying day. This was even if the children were adults and they themselves had children • In Greece (Athens)  Kyrios: guardian of the females  it would be the father and then the husband ii) In Rome: the father may keep power over the female child or give it to the husband upon marriage. Notice how everything is the hands of the fathers • A dowry was usually present when getting married - Dowry: money or property to the female on her wedding day (for financial security). If divorce  the dowry would go back to the father c) Sparta i) Warrior nation! • Athletics was a major theme within their daily routines (preparing for war) • A boy would be raised by his mother until age 7. Then in barracks until the age of 30 (all males were present in the barracks). {They were taught survival skills and other skills necessary to be a great soldier. Although students were taught to read and write, those skills were not very important to the ancient Spartans. Only warfare mattered.} - Spartan males married at ~ 25 years old. But they were still in the barracks  did not spend the first 5 years of their marriage with their wives • A girl also went to school at age 6 or 7. They lived, slept and trained in their sisterhood's barracks. Not much is known about the female barracks but similar philosophy of producing strong citizens. {The Spartans believed that strong young women would
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