Women in ancient Greek were perceived to be less significant than men. Wives were supposed to be always under the stewardship of their husbands. The wives were at all costs supposed to strive to do things that solely please their husbands. The women were also viewed to be cold meaning that they were imperfect than men in terms of anatomy and as well as the degree of warmth that is comparable to both men and women. The essay that follows seeks to show that women were less significant than men in ancient Greek society. Their sole responsibility was to be under the men’s guardianship and to be good wives to their husbands and good mothers to their children to bring honor to the husband. In other words, a good wife was a man’s symbol of honor. The essay will go ahead to give a detailed account of how women were perceived by men in ancient Greek (Walford & Gillies, par. 1).
A good wife was supposed to be her homes’ mistress. Everything that was within the boundaries of her home she was responsible for taking care of it and she alone was to have complete knowledge of what happens in her home for it was not considered proper for a man to know all that was happening in his house. She was to avoid the gossip of aimless women and be in charge of all the financial undertakings of her household keeping in mind that she should use money sparingly and stick to the amount that was stipulated by her husband. No one was to enter her house without the knowledge of her husband (Walford & Gillies, par. 2).
The wife was not to involve herself in arranging the marriage of her children, this was a role left out for the man and she was to respect and obey the wishes of the husband. She was required to perceive the wishes of her husband as laws that were accorded through the divine will to her. By enduring with these wishes, with patience together with gentleness, then she would rule her household with peace. She was supposed to be in agreement with her husband in prosperity and otherwise. If in any case there is a failure with the good fortune, she was to cheer the husband with words of encouragement and never attribute the failure to the husbands’ poor judgment. Such failure would be attributed to sickness and the like and she should not complain about it (Walford & Gilies, par. 3).
A virtuous wife was also honored when her husband was faithful to her and had no interest in other women. The husband was to honor his wife and if through ignorance the wife does something wrong, he was to advise her modestly and in a courteous manner. A man was to be a woman’s guide in all life’s affairs and to teach her how to follow the examples demonstrated by him (Walford & Gilies, par. 3).
Women were also perceived to be less perfect as compared to men and this was attributed to the male and female anatomy. Through dissecting all the generative parts that women have men also have when their inner organs are turned inside out. The only difference was that the women’s organs were inside the body and the men’s organs were exposed outside the body. In this respect, the woman was found to be less perfect as compared to the man by looking at these generative parts (Lefkowitz, par1).
The woman is less perfect than the man in a generative sense because her parts were formed within her when she was a foetus and could not emerge due to the disparity in heat content. Even though the woman is imperfect, it had its own advantage as women are still needed in society. The imperfectness of women and the perfectness of men significantly and effectively merge together so that there can be a creation of a new generation. If the woman was made perfect, then how would new generations come about? (Lefkowitz, par6).
The writings of Galen and Aristotle, though criticizing women in their nature, they also brought out a clear message that even though women were less important than men, they had their own special role to play in society and they need to be treated with respect and be appreciated equally (Lefkowitz, par10).
In summary, women were less significant than men in ancient Greek. They were supposed to be under the wishes of their husbands which they were supposed to use as laws that guide them. Even though women were less significant than men they also had their own special role to play in society and therefore were treated with respect.
Lefkowitz, Mary & Fant, Maureen. “Women’s Life In Greece & Rome.” n.d. 2010. Web.
Walford, Edward & Gillies, John. The politics & Economics of Aristotle. London: G Bell & Sons.