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How Did the Life of Ancient Greek or Roman Woman Differ from the Life of a Woman in the West Today?

  • Date Submitted: 01/21/2012 03:58 AM
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Classical Civilisation thepiggrinder
How did the life of ancient Greek or Roman woman differ from the life of a woman in the west today?
Women in the modern western culture of today enjoy many more rights than those of ancient Greek and Roman women.
Woman in the modern culture of the west today have an unrestricted amount of freedom (often supported by law such as diversity and equality legislation) Women in the west today have greater choice in number of areas including:
• Marriage
• Divorce
• Whether to have children or not
• Education
• Health issues
Women are much more independent and have a greater degree of equality in modern day society. For ancient Greek and Roman women it would have been entirely the opposite.
Only from limited sources do we know how the women of ancient Greece and Rome were perceived. Examples found in Pottery such as Lekythos and cylices give us an insight into their lives; much of this pottery depicted women weaving, folding finished pieces of cloth and spinning wool, implying that woman were very much expected to make the clothes for   their family and focused on household duties.
Tombstones and epitaphs of women also provide evidence of women’s roles as being limited showing that their roles extended no further than just making the family’s clothes or household duties. Husbands often expressed the importance of women on their tombstones and woman were often described as “domom servait” or “lanam pecit” roughly translating to “keep the house” and “spun the wool”
In Rome women were not citizens of Rome. Only adult free men were citizens. The ancient Roman and Greece men believed that a woman had to be under a guardianship. That guardianship could be a father or a husband. But they believed a woman was unable to direct her own activities.
Quote from Cicero (Roman writer/historian):
"Our ancestors, in their wisdom, considered that all women, because of their innate weakness, should be under the control of guardians."...

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