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how did females in Greek mythology reflect how men thought of women in real life in ancient greece

Comparing stories from greek myths to real life opinions from about women in Ancient Greece
by

lisa tang

on 4 June 2013

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Transcript of how did females in Greek mythology reflect how men thought of women in real life in ancient greece

How men thought... How did the females in Greek mythology reflect how men thought of women in real life in ancient Greece? Normal women Greek mythology Godessess contradictions Why were women secondary in Ancient Greece, but there were these all powerful goddesses who were respected? Final Answer... Men did not respect women in ancient Greece. Even women's large role producing the next generation was played down and most of it attributed to men.

- Aristotle once said that men were greater and far better in nature, and because of that they should rule and women should be the subjects of men's rule. It was women's nature to obey men. This was the general opinion of women at that time, and often caused men to disrespect women.

-Demosthenes a Greek statesman said “We keep hetaerae* for the sake of pleasure, female’s slaves for our daily care and wives to give us legitimate children and to be the guardians of our households.” He says that women are for pleasure, give children and housekeeping. Basically he labeled women.
(*hetaerae were something like mistresses or concubines, however they were educated unlike many women and the social companions of men. But like prostitutes they were not widely respected.

-Hyperides (A Greek politician) once stated, “A woman who travels outside her house should be old enough that people ask whose mother she is, not whose wife she is." This remark means that women were not encouraged (or not allowed) to go out of the house of the husbands/fathers. It was probably looked down on if they did go out of the house

-In his Funeral Speech Pericles (another Greek statemen) said, “A woman’s reputation is highest when men say little about her, whether it be good or evil.” Once again this shows the little regard men had for women.

-women were also commonly compared to snakes by men.
For example: Euripides thought that no cure can be found for a woman’s venom, which is even more poisonous than a snakes. Euripides also thought Men with common sense would never let gossiping a women visit their wives, and if she did there was sure to be trouble. Girls Special case in Sparta Normal housewives other -Most women knew how to fight
-Girls went to school
and they learned how to fight
-More freedom and rights
Women allowed outside more frequently
-However they were still second to men monsters Heroines/villians Pandora Atalanta Echo Medea greek myths What men thought Medusa Arachne Hera Athena Artemis Demeter Aphrodite - Priestesses were both richer and more powerful
than the average woman. Their opinions and advice were listened to and thought over by men. They were the the hand maidens of the Gods which gave them status in society.

- slaves were allowed to go outside as most slaves worked in fields. In ancient Greece if a woman had pale skin she was rich as she did not often go outside. If a woman's skin was tanned then she was lower class or slave.

-Hetaerae were a lot of things. They were mostly considered to be mistresses but they were educated and men sometimes listened to what the had to say Girls when born were sometimes put into clay jars and left out on the streets to die (this very rarely happened to boys). They were put into jars so that the parents could claim it was natural causes such as hunger and weather that killed them and not actually the parents.
When a woman gave birth to a girl she was often disgraced and ashamed. Men did not often acknowledge their daughters, for example, if asked how many children he had the man would only count his sons.
Girls were not as highly privileged as boys. Girls could not go to school and there only education would have been in housework such as cleaning and spinning wool.
When a girl reached around 14yrs old they were to get married. The groom in most cases would have been in his
thirties. A marriage between two people back
then was hardly for romantic reasons it was
most likely for money or power. A marriage
was a transaction between the father and groom
the bride was the object being traded. The girls in
Ancient Greece were treated like objects. Housewives were to cook, clean, do sew and weaving and look after the children.
A women’s job was to oversee the household duties. She often was in charge of commanding slaves. Most of what she did was domestic.
The main role of women was to produce a male that could carry on the household’s name, because so many women married young there was many deaths when the young mothers died giving birth.
Women were not allowed to participate in politics or other activities that were considered 'manly' stuff
Wives rarely went outside of the house. Wives and daughters did not do anything physically challenging for activities.
A mans nude body was seen as beautiful (hence all the statues) but a nude female was seen as disgraceful. Hera was the Queen of all Olympus and wife of
Zeus. She portrays the role of women very well as she is the goddess of women and marriage and family. However because she is the goddess of marriage she was not allowed to be unfaithful to Zeus.
Zeus was often unfaithful and had many other children (Heracles and Perseus) but not with Hera which made Hera often spiteful and jealous.
Hera also despite being the goddess of family once threw her son (Hephaestus god of fire and forges) off mount Olympus
because he was ugly and lame. However in other versions
of the story it is said that Zeus threw Hephaestus off
mount Olympus to get revenge on Hera.
Either way it can be infered from these myths that Zeus
didn't have a lot of respecct for Hera. Athena is the Goddess of Wisdom and crafts. She was said to have sprung out of Zeus's head, full grown and in
battle amour. She being the Goddess of Wisdom
is seen many times as Zeus's right hand war strategists. Athena is therefore also a goddess of war. Even though war was mainly
a thing of men Athena was still
respected as a war goddess.
She is the patron goddess of
Athens. Despite the fact that men were
the wisemen in Greek myths, the wisdom deity is a female Artemis is the goddess of hunting and the moon. She is often portrayed wearing a shorter tunic then other goddesses. She is sometimes shown carrying a bow and arrows. She is a maiden goddess meaning she has no children. She is also the patron of all young maidens.
Before going out to hunt many men would pray to the goddess Artemis to give them good luck.
She was also widely respected by
the Spartans as she was one of their
patron gods.
Artemis however is very different from
normal women. Normal Greek women
would never be allowed to hunt, let alone
go outside Demeter is the goddess of agriculture and crops and grain. She is also associated a lot with the seasons. Demeter to the Greeks was a central goddess as she had power over the weather.
Perhaps the most famous story surrounding Demeter would be Hades and Persephone. Hades (God of Dead) stole Persephone (Demeter's daughter) because of how much this angered her, Demeter ignored the Greeks (normal mortals) and they produced a bad year of crops.
Because of Demeter's role as a goddess of
earth she is sometimes as a goddess of
mothers as well. Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty. She was born from sea foam and is depicted many times rising from the ocean standing on a sea shell.
She is the only goddess to be
unfaithful to her husband. To
the Greeks she was a much more
darker figure as she could force
people to be in love with each
other for 'fun'.
The Greek poet Sappho often wrote poems on love dedicated to Aphrodite, like the 'Hymn of Aphrodite':Shimmering-throned immortal Aphrodite,Daughter of Zeus, Enchantress, I implore thee, Spare me, O queen, this agony and anguish,
This is a view of Aphrodite's dark side. Pandora was in Greek mythology the first female mortal to ever exist!
She was created by Hephaestus as a revenge on the titan Prometheus for giving fire to the mortals. She was given beauty by Aphrodite cunning from Hermes. Pandora was then taken down to earth and given a jar.
The gods warned Pandora not to open this jar (but they actually intended her to).
Pandora married Prometheus's brother. But soon her curiosity got the better of her and she opened the jar. From that Jar she released sickness and suffering. She was then punished with Prometheus by the gods Echo was an Oread who loved to talk. Because of this Zeus often used Echo as a distraction to his wife when he wanted to go court some other nature spirits. He would get Echo to incessantly chatter to Hera so she would not pay attention to her husband. When Hera found out she was furious. Even though it was Zeus's fault Hera punished Echo instead. From then on Echo could only repeat what other people's words.
Echo later fell tragically in love with Narcissus, but her love was rejected and Narcissus died.
It should be noted most Greek love stories included incest, seduction or rape Medea was a deceitful villain. She was the princess of Colchis. She helped Jason (greek hero) to steal the golden fleece. In return Jason had to marry her. However, after having children with Jason, he abandoned Medea and married someone else. Vengeful Medea killed her own children and Jason's new bride to get back at Jason.
She is looked down upon for her masculine traits Atalanta is one of the most famous Heroines of Greek mythology. She was the exact opposite of a typical Greek woman. She was a virgin and made a vow to Artemis to always be one.
When Atalanta was born her father (a king) didn't want her so she was abandoned on a mountain. She was then looked after by bears until some hunters found her. These hunters took her in and because of that she learned to fight and hunt as well as any man.
When she was discovered by the king (her father) he wanted her to marry someone. She said she would only if they could beat her in a race, if they lost they would be killed. Eventually due to a little trickery a man named Hippomenes won and married Atalanta. Medusa was a gorgon who was so ugly whenever someone looked at her she turned them to stone. Medusa is described differently as Greek myths changed. She was first portrayed with snake hair, tusks and sometimes wings. Later on she was just depicted as a normal woman but with snakes for hair. Medusa is a incredibly famous Greek Mythology monster.
Medusa was once an incredibly beautiful woman. So beautiful that she attracted the attention of Poseidon the sea god. He raped her in Athena's temple. Athena was enraged and punished Medusa by turning her into a gorgon.
Medusa was later killed by the Greek hero Perseus. Arachne was a young woman who challenged Athena in a weaving contest. Athena was outraged by the young girl’s arrogance and turned her into a monstrous spider. However in other versions Arachne lost in the weaving contest and hanged herself. Athena decided to give the girl a second life as a spider.
Either way, each story explains why spiders can produce webs according to the ancient Greeks. By Lisa Tang 9D
ILP-2013 Zeus didn'd think Hera was respectful enough to be faithful to her Men didn't think it was wrong to have multiple affairs and did not respect their wives Medusa and arachne are linked with poisonous animals (snakes and spiders) men often compared women to poisonous things such as snakes and lizards Pandora released all bad things into this world Men often considered women to be the annoying and a problem This question although not really that relevant interested me Goddess were respected more than the average woman. However they were not as respected as the Gods.
Accroding to some historians Greek culture may just have had one goddess as their deity, but invaders introduced Zeus and so religon changed. The one big goddess was broken down into smaller ones and males were put in a more surperior status.
Goddesses were also wise and important figures in war. Because of their status they were not as limited in the Greeks eyes.
As mentioned before a female's nude body was seen as not very good. However Aphrodite is constantly pictured nude to show her status, and to show she is not limited as mortal women are. While most parents didn't care about their daughters Demeter cared a lot for Persephone and looked for her as best she could.
However despite the fact goddesses were respected by the ancient Greeks in the myths they weren't as much.
For example, the gods did not respect goddesses. Hades stole Persephone against her will, disrespecting Demeter at the same time, and Zeus did not respect Hera enough to be faithful to her, etc. Atalanta was not given a choice on whether she could marry Young girls jobs were thought to just be married as soon as possible Atalanta was abandoned by her father because she was not a boy Girls were worse than boys, and many girls were abandoned at birth Persephone was forced to marry Hades Girls could not choose who they married Medusa, Echo and Pandora got punished for things they didn't do Women were secondary to men and always should be punished before men. Medea was looked down on her cunning traits as they were considered 'masculine'. She was also looked down on for her men thought women should not be disobedient and they should always be feminine and not deceitful. Masculenity in women was though to be disgraceful. In many ways Greek mythology reflected how men thought of women. However there were some parts in Greek mythology that didn't accuratly reflect how men thought of women at all. For example, Atalanta who was a complete mortal but didn't follow the rules set for women back then.
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