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Department
Classics
Course
CLA219H1
Professor
Regina Höschele
Semester
Fall

Description
Childhood for Girls in Ancient Greece It was not illegal to kill your baby Often if a poorer-off family had a girl, they would expose it (leave it out in the wilderness) This would happen as boys were prized over girls as the males inherit and females just cost money To feed, bring up, provide dowry On the occasion that you werent killed in infancy, girls were less well-nourished than boys, perhaps given less food than their male counterparts whilst growing up If you are healthy, and make it through childhood, you are educated in domestic skills Wool-working, cooking, how to run a household Essentially the skills taught depend on your social class Should you be Upper class the household would be huge and your responsibilities would be to manage it In poorer families the women may have to work outside the house (in such roles as mid- wife, for example) Normally illiteracy is much wider spread among females Childhood for Girls in Ancient Rome However in Roman aristocracy girls might also be educated in writing, reading and philosophy, but perhaps not on the same level as boys Womanhood in Greece Menstruation begins between 13-15 This is later than modern times and is probably due to malnourishment Once you have your first period you are a woman It is a longer and more complicated process for males to be recognized as men Usually as soon as you had your first period you were married off, as it could be dangerous should you remain a virgin Whereas in Sparta, the recommend age for girls to be married at was 18 As a woman you are always under the guardianship of a male Woman would be under the guardianship of a kyros This would be father or kin in early life, and then husband She would be given from father to the husband, and her responsibility switches to husbands household Awoman could never be a polites (an athenian citizen who was a member of the polis) as they were only males, but she would be an aste which allowed her citizenship without any po- litical rights Womanhood in Rome Augustus writes a law that the minimum age for a bride should be 12 Women were always under the guardianship of a male, with some exceptions: Augustus granted freedom of guardianship to whose women who had born three children If you were a freed woman you had to give birth to four to reach that status In Rome the female does not necessarily have to be under the control of her husband - she can still be under authority of her father The Oikos (The household) In Greece we have a strict separation between the oikos and the polis The roles of men and women as reflected in oikos and polis are explored in Xenophons oike- nomicus In Xenophons dialogue Sacretes explains a conversation with Ischomachus in which he learned the proper training of a wife Ischomchus explained to his wife that the role assigned to women by society is natural, since it was ordained by the gods, and that it works to the advantage of both sexes His training of her serves his own purpose, not hers. He is not concerned with his wifes particular needs as a female, but rather he wants her to behave as little like a conventional woman as possible Socrates seeks out Ischomachus and asks why he is not indoors, and he gives the reason that his wife is fully capable of running household affairs now Womens role is indoors, not a mans, so it would be inappropriate for him to stay in- doors now that she can run the household To start his young wife was already manageable and domesticated enough to participate in a discussion Explains that he took her to wife as if they have children it would be an advantage to the both of them His wife acts the part of a willing servant saying what can I contribute? The only valuable thing I learned from my mother was to behave properly It is the responsibility of wife and husband to see that their good behavior causes ludicrous profits The gods established a yoke that is most effective in a male-female partnership The yoke exists as the race of living things will be continued by the begetting of children, and then human beings proved themselves with care in their old age by means of this yoke It is important then that that when provisions are brought into the house they are properly managed Men work outdoors and women indoors The gods made the mans body and soul better able to endure the cold and heat and military service, so that he assigned to him the outdoor work The women have a body less able to endure hardships and so they are assigned indoor work With this in mind women are instinctively better at nurturing children Women have more affection for infants than men Women have a fearful soul, therefore better at guarding what comes in to the house Men have less fear as they guard the household, and defends it with his courage The sexes are not equally well-equipped The law intends you take advantage of what the god assigned your sex It is more disgraceful for the man to remain indoors than to take care of work outdoors If anyone does something contrary to the nature the god gave him, it is quite possible that his disorderliness will not escape notice of the gods and that he will pay the penalty for ig- noring his proper work or doing a womans work Ischomachus believes that the leader bee has the same sort of work as a wife The leader bee stays within the hive where she does not allow the bees to be lazy, but sends outside those bees who ought to work outside, and knows what each of them bring in the house and receives it, keeps it until it is needed. When the time comes she sees that each bee gets their share. Supervises the weaving of wax so that it is well and efficient, and takes care of young until they come of age to be sent out with leader of the new hive Compares this to household tasks He also says that she must take care of the sick slaves, which he assumes she will not be happy about Contrarily, she says that she is happy with this as the slaves will be more inclined to her should she take care of them Ischomachus is then pleased by this She then says that she thinks the leader bee is more his role, and that what she does is in- consequential in comparison to what he does outdoors He says that his bringing of stuff in would be inconsequential if there were no one to keep it safe once it got there Her other pleasant responsibilities include teaching wool-working to the ignorant, and in so doing creates someone of twice the value to her.And similar situation with someone ig- norant of house keeping. She can favor those of use and punish those who are of none The greatest pleasure if she proves to be better than her husband and makes him her slave, and that she neednt fear advancing age or that such would bring a lower status for her in the household, but that she will be confident that as she grows older she will become a bet- ter partner for her husband and guardian for the house and children and have a proportion- ately higher status in household Personal excellence does not come from beauty but increases on account of virtue When she fails to bring him something he blames himself as he didnt properly instruct her He then goes on to describe importance of order in the house and human life Aproper woman would prefer to care for the welfare of the house than to neglect Socrates says she has a mans intelligence One time he sees that his wife has makeup on and heels and he tells her take it off as it is false and deceitful and counterfeit She then never put makeup on again and always presented herself as suitably dressed Advises her not to sit about but to stand over her workers like a master would and to take part occasionally This would make her healthier Her looks when competing with a slave girl are more sexually stimulating as she is cleaner and better dressed Especially since she gratifies her husband willingly where a slave is forced The oikos is a miniature state (polis) and therefore the woman has a very important function as the reflection of her husband Woman should think of herself as a leaderbee
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