Athenian Women

In Athenian society, extramarital affairs by husbands with women (and men) was the norm, and it indeed contributed to the image of a man's prosperity if he had a mistress. Did the males in this society consider their wives praiseworthy In my opinion the answer is no, since a wife who was the husband's property and could be disciplined if she did not conform to the Athenian standards of wife. Athenian wives were judged in society by their frugality, ability to raise sons, and their devotion and faithfulness to their husbands, (e.g., Penelope and Odysseus). A married woman caught in adultery would have been forced to abandon her home and children for the disgrace it would bring the family name, (Hunt, pg. 70). Men in ancient Athens (as in just about every Western civilization) had altered views of women. They saw women as being weak and dependent (Xenophon Oeconomicus), and because of the socioeconomic structure of the time, they were.

Women in this society could, to some degree, assert power and influence in the home. The everyday life of the "idealaE Greek woman included child bearing and rearing, cleaning, both weaving cloth and making clothes, cooking and supervising slaves and other domestic



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