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A Critical Analysis of Womens Social Realities in Ancient Greece - Essay Example

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In classical Greece, social realities of women were highly influenced and infused with male monopolies. Social views and attitudes to women’s physicality, rights and status are often similar to those of a male dominated society, though some were surprisingly modern…
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A Critical Analysis of Womens Social Realities in Ancient Greece
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Download file to see previous pages In a number of cases in Greek medical science, law, social status, etc, women were considered as inferior and subservient to their male counterparts. Greek society was accustomed to view women as addendum to the males. A close analysis of the Greek medical treatises by some anonymous Greek scholars including Hippocrates1 shows that though Greek medical science has made a significant effort to look deep into the scientific rationales to explain women’s physical realities, the tendency to view women as addendum to their male counterparts has always prevailed over these medical interpretations. But in other sectors such as economy, politics, religion, law, etc there were strictly demarcated dichotomies between men’s and women’s role. But the Spartan women would enjoy more civil, social and economic rights than the Greek women did. Scholars argue that as a military polis, Sparta had been able to forsake the gender bias in its attitudes to women and allow its women to enjoy more freedom according to their military career and services to the state. As revealed in Hippocrates’ corpus, ancient Greek medical science was highly infused with male ideology and tendency to view women’s reality as “special cases”2. ...
gard, Sue Blundell says, “In the discussions of women’s reproductive system in particular, ideas about women’s physiology can be seen to reflect and reinforce ideas about their social and moral identity”.4 Greek views on female puberty, menstruation, sex, reproduction, conception, menopause, etc necessarily reflects women’s subjectivity to their male counterparts. Marriage as well as sexual intercourse was supposed to be a solution to a number of female problems of female physiology. Menstruation is one of these problems that were thought to be cured with sexual intercourse. In cases of menstrual hallucination and suicidal tendency of young girls, one of Hippocratic authors’ advice is as following: “My prescription is that when virgins have this trouble, they should marry as soon as possible. If they become pregnant, they will be cured”.5 Young girls who had reached puberty were thought to be uncontrollable and, therefore, to be miscreant in the society. In the case of sex and reproduction, a woman’s value had been assessed in terms of her ability to give a child. In a male-centered society, a woman without fertility was nothing but a barren land which gives nothing to its owner. Like most other male dominated societies of human civilization, classical Greek society used to view women as a property of the males. Therefore, Greek women could not inherit property and run business. According to Sue Blundell, “Athenian Women could not by law enter into any contact ‘beyond the value of one medimnos of barley’: a mdimnons was a measure of grain, [which is] sufficient to keep a family fed for five or six days”.6 Classical Greek women could acquire property in three ways: inheritance, dowry and gifts. Indeed, inheritance was a legal means which ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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