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The Sources from Xenophon and Isaeus show very similar male attitudes towards Athenian women. How far do you agree?

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Introduction

´╗┐The Sources from Xenophon and Isaeus show very similar male attitudes towards Athenian women. How far do you agree? I agree to a certain extent that Xenophon and Isaeus show similar attitudes towards women. In the source 'How to train a wife' written by Xenophon he details a conversation between Socrates and Ischomacus which he tried to learn from Ischomachus how he managed to have such leisure from managing his estate. Ischomachus explains that he leaves the management up to his wife, and describes to Socrates how he has trained her. Ischomacus uses different topics to support his arguments. Religion is the main source for the argument explaining that the roles assigned to women by society is part of the will of the Gods implying that it is a natural part of life. Also he uses using a physical argument that women are more suited to their roles because of how they are physically different. ...read more.

Middle

Perhaps in this source the woman is more respected. The son makes points about the marriage of his mother to his father highlighting that his father wouldn't have taken her as his wife unless she was a legitimate Athenian women. He adds that if she weren't legitimate his father would not have given such a grand wedding feast or banquet and would have concealed the affair. The son tries to portray his mother as a very highly respected woman by explaining that the wives of the demesmen had chosen her to conduct the Thesmophoria and had put her in charge of sacred objects. This suggests that a women who conducted the Thesmophoria and was involved in such an important event was seen as a very admired and respectful Athenian women. This is contrary to Xenophon's source where the women is seen as more of a housewife unlike Isaeus' source where the women is depicted as an important religious symbol. ...read more.

Conclusion

This view is more than likely to be shared by most Athenian men. However it seems likely through other sources that Ischomacus was deceived about his wife's innocence. This reveals male anxiety over female sexuality showing the male attitudes towards Athenian women were more than just housewifes but through their behaviour and appearance reflected the status and reputation of the husband and his family. To conclude Athenian women (though treated as inferior and under authority of men) were very important to male society. However it seems likely through other sources that he was deceived about his wife's innocence. This reveals male anxiety over female sexuality showing the male attitudes towards Athenian women were not that they were just housewifes, mothers or keepers of the home but posessions of their husbands who through their behaviour and appearance reflected the status and reputation of the husband and family. To conclude Athenian women (though treated as inferior and under authority of men) were very important and played a major role in Athenian society. ...read more.

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