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Do you agree that a citizen's wife in Athens had a miserable life?

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Introduction

Do you agree that a citizen's wife in Athens had a miserable life? For Against They were hidden away from other men Being kept from other men gave protection They had no opportunity to socialise Some activities allowed women to meet other women (religious activities, family events) They had no choice in marriage They were not constantly in contact with their husband and were more in less in charge of the oikos in his absence The dowry belonged to the husband Always had protection from dowry They were a sort of possession/They had no career They always had something to do No political power e.g. no rites to appear in court They could be aloof from political Activities Not valued by husband They had no financial activities They were stuck in the house all day They did have the freedom of the courtyard They had the same routine every day They saw what they had to do as their duty Many of their tasks took a long time Slaves could do the worst jobs They weren't allowed to take part in the symposium They knew no other life so they would see it as normal for women They only ever dealt with slaves and children They were more highly respected if they had a son All their tasks were long and laborious Some women were educated at home In Athens the wives of citizens led a very different life than the wives of today lead. ...read more.

Middle

The dowry was something that the husband got from the wife's family to help pay for her expenses. However, if a man divorced their wife they would have to pay back the entire dowry no matter how much of it they had spent. Therefore the marriage was generally insured for life. The only problem was that the dowry was the possession of the husband but because the wives never had any financial activities this wasn't really a problem. Women didn't appear to have a proper life. They were treated by the man and seen as a possession and they had no value. They had no career and all they ever did was handle the oikos. Their job in the oikos was very important though and they never had any time to be bored. In the oikos they had a number of important tasks to do such as cooking bread and meals. She could either do this herself or organise a slave(s) to do it for her. Another important job was making clothes for the whole family by spinning and weaving. Again she could either do this by organising slaves or do it all herself. She could also join in with the slaves in this task if she wished too. One job that took a fair amount of organisational skills was sorting out what food needed to be stored and which they would keep out and eat during the month. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, this being said, even if they didn't like their husband they wouldn't actually have to spend that much time with them being as how the man was usually out of the house. They were also in charge of the house in his absence so this was in some ways a good thing. During the life of an ancient Athenian woman they had no political dealings as they were not allowed to vote and had no say in how the polis was run. They also were not allowed to appear in court which was slightly unfair because a testimony could be given against them without them knowing and they would be unable to defend themselves. The fact that they were not allowed to vote wasn't too much of a problem for two reasons. The first being that they never left the house so what happened outside of the oikos wasn't too much of a problem or a concern for them. The other was that that way they didn't have to find out any information from their husbands on the candidates which could have been biased depending on what the husband thought himself. All in all I do not agree that women had a miserable life mainly because they knew no other life so they would see theirs as normal. Also they knew that all Athenian women had the same life as them. I do agree however that some of their tasks may have been long and laborious and therefore made some moments of their life miserable. Sarah Gupta 10PTN 10.1.1 BRD 1 ...read more.

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