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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 - Women in Marriage and Divorce

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Regina Höschele

CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Oct 23, 2012 Lecture 6 - Women in Marriage and Divorce Statistics inAntiquity • In Greece: • Average age of death for men was 45 • Men 35 • Athird of all babies would be dead in a single year • In Rome: • Half of all babies would die before their first year • Not illegal to kill your baby - you could expose it • Leave in wilderness • Or somewhere someone would find it • Often girls exposed over boys, because boys are prized over girls as they are heirs. Females just cost money • To feed, bring up, provide dowry • Aristotle says there should be a law forbidding the bringing up of disabled children • High mortality between child-bearing age Growing up as a Girl in Ancient Greece • Quite often girls were less well-nourished than boys • Perhaps the reason they died more often as children because they didn’t get the same food as boys • Not the same for Egypt or Sparta • If you are healthy and make it through childhood you are educated in domestic skills • Wool-working, cooking, how to run a household, all depends on a social class • Upper classes would have huge household whereas poorer families the woman may have to work outside the house Normally illiteracy much wider spread among females • • In Roman aristocracy their girls might also be educated in writing, reading and philosophy, but perhaps not on the same level as boys Women in Greece • Menstruation begins between 13-15 • Later, probably because malnourished • Once you have your first period you are a woman - whereas it takes longer and more com- plicated to become a man • Augustus writes a law that the minimum age for a bride should be 12 In Sparta it was recommended that the girls be at least 18 • • Never a legal adult • Always under the guardianship of a male • Some exceptions:Augustus granted freedom of guardianship who had born three children If you were a freed woman you would have had to give birth to four to reach that status • • In Greece we have strict separation between the oikios and the polis • Xenophon’s oikenomicus • Socrates is most famous greek philosopher but he never wrote anything himself CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Oct 23, 2012 Lecture 6 - Women in Marriage and Divorce • In this text socrates tells of his encounter with Ischomacus who tells socrates how he trained his young wife to manage his estate • It’s good that she’s so young because she’s still naive and he can shape her and introduce her to her duties as a wife • When talking about distribution of chores between male and female and how the gods have created them in such a way that they are complimentary to one another • Yolk often used to describe marriage - has both negative and positive connotation • What is at stake is the legitimacy of children - you must be married • In athens you must be married to an athenian • Need help in old age so must procreate • Man is made better able to endure outside duties; women indoors • Justifies division of labour by physical appropriateness via the gods creation • The guy is courageous, the woman is more worried which is good because she is concerned with household things • Oikois is a miniature state (polis) - therefore the woman has a very important function • Woman should think of herself as a leaderbee (queen bee?) Ancient athens has a very strict sexual segregation • • Can assume that there was a separate woman’s quarters (perhaps upstairs) • If there was a symposium the wife was not to participate it • Often there was only one entrance and it was near the male quarters and the female area far away from that • In such events they would have lower-life females present (i.e., prone) • Roman females had somewhat more liberties thanAthenian ones • The higher up in society the more confined you were, so for upper class occasions they’d only go out for religious duties She should not interact with male strangers • • In lower class families women have to contribute • Wool workers, washer women, etc • Having a profession was frowned upon • Widows could remarry, especially when of child-bearing age • Such an age difference between male and females, so this could happen • Marriage was an economic contract • Univira - a woman who was only married once; not a cultural expectation or in the interest of the state • Rome has a different social situation • Paterfamilias - head of household, father of the family. Father had full power over his chil- dren until his death. Even if the children were adults and married and had own children they’d still be under the authority of the paterfamilias, who could punish them in any way possible Kyros - greek concept of guardian over female • • Father in early life, then husband • Given from father to the husband, and her responsibility switches to husbands household • In Rome the female can still be under authority of her father • Concept of paterfamilias and his authority is something you do not find in Greece CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Oct 23, 2012 Lecture 6 - Women in Marriage and Divorce • If a married man has sex with freed women or slaves is not adultery • Doesn’t threaten legitimacy of his heirs If you are a female slave your body belongs to your master • • Adowry ensure’s a females financial security • In case of divorce the dowry would be returned to the father • In all cases here covering Greece she means ClassicalAthens Female’s in Sparta • Warrior nation • Aboy would be raised by it’s mom until age 7 - pretty common anywhere in ancient world • Left home then trained in barrack’s - this went on until you were 30, but you’d marry in mid- 20’s • So for the first 5 years or so of marriage you didn’t live with wife • Girls can be seen doing physical exercise - running and wrestling; things we think of as male activities. Possibly done in the nude, just like guys did, and with male viewers • Less of an incentive to keep the women veiled and indoors Women would also perform in choirs • • The idea of wife-sharing: • If your wife bore you several children you could lend her to other males (if she consented?) • The
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