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Notes on Readings for Sept 18, 2012

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Regina Höschele

CLA219: Women inAntiquity Texts 54, 56-58, 61, 69, 166 Invective ‘Miserable sorrows for men’ 54. Pandora. Boetia, early 7th cent. BC (Hesiod, Works and Days 42-105. G) Pandora is given as punishment to man’s representative Epimetheus (“Afterthinker”) for his • brother Prometheus' (“Forethinker”) crimes against Zeus • Read as a school text throughout antiquity • Zeus hid fire from men because he was mad at Prometheus’deception • Prometheus steals back fire and hides it from Zeus • As a result he devised miserable sorrows for men: an evil which they can all enjoy in their hearts but is evil at its root • Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mix earth and water and give it a human’s voice and strength, to make it resemble a goddess with the fair form of a virgin. He then orderedAthena to teach her to work and weave,Aphrodite to shed grace on her head and cruel passion and worries, and Hermes to pit in her a bitch’s mind and a thieving heart • Atrap from which there is no escape • Hermes sends her to Epimetheus. Prometheus told him to never accept a gift from Zeus but to send it right back so that it would not prove an evil for morals, but instead he accepted • Before this punishment the races of men had lived without evils and harsh labour and disease Women then lifted the lid from the jar (pandora’s box) and scattered these evils • • Only hope stayed inside and did not fly out 56. The nature of women. Boetia, early 7th cent. BC (Hesiod, Theogony 590- 612. G) Women as a pain to mortal men (not to immortal?) • • Women are greedy (“cannot put up with harsh poverty, but only with plenty”) • Women as drones fed by worker bees on the scrapings of others tireless efforts • Another evil on top of that of women: the man who escaped marriage gores to an old age without someone to tend to him. When he dies distant relatives divide his livelihood • For the man who marries a good and intelligent wife for him evil balances good in his lifetime; but the man who gets a wicked wife lives in misery and his evil has no cure 57. The female mind. Amorous, 6th cent. BC (Semonides, On Women. Tr. H. Lloyd-Jones. G) Context for poem is lost but its use of animals and inanimate objects suggests it was likeAesop’s • fables: a social satire • Good behavior is defined in terms of service to a woman’s husband, not by intrinsic value to so- ciety as a whole, or by a woman’s worth to other women or herself • Females mind being made separate by the gods Comparing types of women to animals • • The sow: • The house is in disorder and messy. She is unwashed and her clothing unlaundered. She is fat • The vixen: She who knows everything on whom nothing is lost. Her attitude is constantly changing • • The bitch: CLA219: Women inAntiquity Texts 54, 56-58, 61, 69, 166 • Her mother’s daughter who wants to hear everything and know everything. She gets into things she ought not and is always “yapping” even if there is no one to yap to! She cannot be stopped by mans threats or temper or abuse, not with kind words. The woman moulded out of earth by the Olympians: • • Astunted, stupid and cold woman who only understands eating • The woman made from the sea: • Two characters (two-faced?). One day she is happy and smiling and a stranger in her hus- band’s house would praise her as the epitome of womanhood. On another day she is unbear- able to look at or come near to; she raves that you not come near her and she is ungentle and contrary to enemies and friends alike. • She is as the sea: one day harmless and without tremor, the other wild and thundering. Like the water she has a changeful nature • The ass: • She is abused but puts up with everything and does her work to satisfaction. But she “munch- es in the back room all night and all day” (Glutton?) and accepts any lover • The ferret: • Miserable, wretched, undesirable, unlovable and displeasing. She’s a bit of a nympho but any man she takes to bed is made sick. She thieves of her neighbors and eats unburnt sacrifices (sacrilegious/blasphemous?) • The proud and beautiful mare: • Pushes work onto others. “Makes her husband acquainted with Necessity” (I need this?). Vain and lovely, a plague to the man she belongs to unless he is some tyrant or king who can take pride in such objects (In other words an expensive and high-maintenance woman) The monkey: • • Hideous, laughed at. Clever, knowing every trick, does not mind being laughed at but does nothing good and instead mulls over how she can get the best revenge • The bee: • The man who has this woman is fortunate. On her alone blame does not settle. She causes his wealth to increase and grows old alongside her husband whom she loves and is loved in re- turn. She is the mother of a handsome and reputable family who stands out among all wom- en. She has godlike beauty and takes no pleasure in sitting among women and gossiping. Women like her are the best and most sensible (considering they’re a curse and all) • Women are the worst plague If they seem to have some use to their husband it is to him that they especially prove a plague. • • Husbands are never constantly happy and poverty is on his doorstep • The moment he wants to be happy his wife will finds a way to argue or fight • The woman who seems most respectable is he one who becomes most guilty of the worst sins and his neighbors get pleasure in seeing how he is mistaken • Each man will find praise in his own wife and insult another man’s woman without realizing that each man shares the same fate 58. The best days in a woman’s life. Ephesus, 6th cent. BC (Hipponax, Fr. 68 West. G.) Meaning that women can only seek happiness at the only two great moments in their life • • The only good things that can happen to a woman are marriage and death CLA219: Women inAntiquity Texts 54, 56-58, 61, 69, 166 • Marriage - if not married and succumb to being an old maid you are shamed.Your whole aim in life is to be a perfect wife and run the oikos (house) in reflection of your husband (polis). • Death - perhaps as release from suffering? Often in childbirth - giving a legitimate heir is one of the only r
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