Greek Women Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Public scope of women in Archaic period
only recognition after death, not known outside of family and friends, no name ever publicly announced, focused on not being in spotlight
evidence from archaic age
poetry and art
when did Archaic Age begin?
800 BC
changes in Archaic Age
return of writing, increased trade, Olympics
when did Archaic Age end?
500 BC
marker of the end of the Archaic Age?
Persian wars
changes from Archaic to Classical Age
city-state alliances against common enemy, marks new era of literature, architecture and sculpture style changes towards more realistic style
Sparta's ruling system
2 kings, 5 ephors, and 28 gerousia. Oligraphy
Groups of Sparta's population
synoikesis, peroikoi, helots
people who live around Sparta
subjugated people made into slaves in Sparta, very few rights, resentful of Spartans
Great Rhetra
system of laws for citizens
military barrack schools for male citizens. lived there until wife had child
main source of women
Plutarch, though dubious
differences between inheritance between Athens and Sparta
women could inherit property in Sparta
who Helen was stolen by
1. Castor and Polux after Theseus stole her
2. Perseus stole her, sparking Trojan War
Dark Age
before 8th century BC
how Dark Ages were lifted
Olympics prompted it, encouraged interaction between cities
how dates can be told apart from different cities
correlation of Olympics dates
Hesiod's works
"Theogony," "Works and Days"
Alcaeus, Sappho, Alcman
poets of Archaic Age
Archilochos's beliefs on women
thought they were cause of evils, wrote mean poetry about people, drove family to suicide
logographer about public life, did not like Philip and wanted to avoid allying with him
Socrates and Plato's beliefs on how to educate public
Socrates philosophy, Plato rhetoric
how Alexander's empire divided
Ptolemy - Egypt
Cassander - Macedonia and Greece
Lysimachus - Turkey and Greece
Seleuchus - Italy
Egyptian demographics
huge Jewish population, hodge-podge population
Appalonia document
wife can leave husband on own, receive dowry back, more personal freedom, could possess property, dissolve because of contract
who went out in public Classical Age
young girls under 12, older women
rules on who could marry a omwan
Nothing is sweeter than love, all other riches
second: even honey I've spat from my mouth.
This Nossis says: Whomever Kypris hasn't kissed
knows nothing of her flowers, what sort of roses.
Stranger, if you sail to the land of lovely dances, Mitylene,
to catch fire from the blossom of Sappho's graces,
say that a friend to her and the Muses, the Lokrian land
bore me. And knowing my name is Nossis, go on!
Stele and my sirens and mournful urn,
which holds the meager ashes belonging to Hades,
tell those passing my tomb "farewell"
(be they townsmen or from other places)
and that this grave holds me, a bride. Say, too,
that my father called me Baukis and my fa
Terpsichore [told] me
lovely old tales to sing
to the white-robed women of Tanagra
and the city delighted greatly
5 in my voice, clear as the swallow's.
Since whenever great . . .
false . . .
. . . land with wide dancing-places,
and stories from our fathe
This picture is the work of sensitive hands. My good Prometheus,
there are even human beings equal to you in skill.
At least, if whoever painted this maiden so truly
had just added a voice, you would have been Agatharkhis entirely.
This is the site of the Cyprian, since it is agreeable to her
to look ever from the mainland upon the bright sea
that she may make the voyage good for sailors. Around her the sea
trembles looking upon her polished image.
Poet who wrote about social emotional significance of Archaic rites of women initiation into adulthood. Choral songs composed for girls to perform in public, festal contest.
Partheneia topic
emphasizes beauty and desirability of women
Wrote poetry, but mainly about private or smaller group experiences. Poems highlight desirability of women, pleasures and erotic sufferings of time, and pain of separation
girl who wanted a graceful, nice husband, says women's reputation can be harmed by earlier encounters with men, Ideal husband should be one of likeness of mind between spouses and shared social goals
Wrote poems defaming reputation of fiancée after her father broke the engagement off. Seduces sister instead
Hymn to Demeter
shows pain of transition to marriage women and girls experience
to whom dedications were most often made
Hera, Artemis, Aphrodites, Nemesis, Eileithyia, Nymphs, Demeter, Persophone
Homeric lyrics
Important role as wife and mother, praise beauty, skill, and intelligence, praise for Homeric woman is individual, whereas blame is generalizable
Hesiod's theory about how women came to be
 Women's creation part of man's fall from Golden Age to vice-filled world
 Need to produce heirs from creature whose beauty conceals her vices
 Harmful to a man, drains him
 Does not mention any contributions by wives to household. Says necessary evil because no sons to inherit property otherwise
 Useless economically, but can sometimes be good, but mainly alternately good and bad
 Greedy and lazy while men work, punishment for men
Semonides's poem
about animals
Xenophon's time period, beliefs about women
4th century BC, believed that women needed to be strong to give birth to strong sons
Alcman's time period
7th century BC
differences between Athenian and Spartan women
o Differences between Spartan and Athenian women
 Spartan women stayed outside, Athenians in
 S talked to husbands, A didn't
 Like Amazons to Athenians; exploited as a means of praising or blaming women
 S would not lament over those who died in battle
time period of Sparta's decline and why
4th century, women
drama's limitations
o Drama represent what male poets and actors imagined about women
o Not clear if women attended theatres
o Still represent women somewhat, though
Clymenestra's complaints
• Complains about how men scarcely see their children, like a farmer to his crops
Euripides's Phaedra
• Can't bring herself to resist, complains women understand how they should act but can't because of their vices
• Is told by Hipplytus when he learns of her passion that women are an economic drain, and he wished children could be begotten in some other way
• She commits suicide, claiming rape to save face
• Difficult to tell whether the play confirms popular fears about women or attacks cultural confinement of women or both
purposes of Solon's legislation
o Ensure preservation of individual households and provide them with legit heirs
o Curb women's informal influence on husbands
o Control public appearances of women, including expression of private emotion in public
women's roles in rituals
- Women participated as much as men in rituals
- Two or four girls each year between seven and ten chosen as Arrephoroi in the cult of Athena Polis [notes]
o Ritual known as Arketia, girls dubbed "bears"
unmarried women given honor of share in Panathenaic sacrifice
purpose of women in processions
carry items
o Women, almost all married citizens, organized festival, spent 3 days living in Demeter's hilltop sanctuary
o Not much known about festival
 Meant to imitate life before agriculture, mourning of Demeter after Persephone captured by Hades, and feasted in honor of birth
o Basilinna, wife of Archon Baseileus, played key role in Anthesteria, three day festival of Dionysus in winter
 Secret offerings on behalf of the city
 Administered sacred oath to 14 women
 Symbolic wife of god for a night
Foreign cults
Adonis, agriculture god
o Festival named for the threshing floor on which it took place, was celebrated for Demeter and Dionysus at Eleusis
 Not much known, but important fertility rites. Women say shameful things to each other, very sexual
how priestesses chosen
- Cults of female divinities regularly had priestesses as chief personnel
o Not chosen for piety or special training
o Hereditary or "bought" by aristocratic families
o Little evidence priestesses profited from office in any way
most famous priestess
Lysimache, model for Lysistrata
Classical depiction of marriages on vases
o Last third of fifth century, young brides and grooms are shown together in moments of quiet intimacy that conveys more romantic and idealized notion of love
 Men look younger, women look older in vases
 Meant to allay fears about marriage by painting rosy picture
women in law
o Participated in and were knowledgeable about economic exchanges among relatives and matters of inheritance; brought into court to elicit sympathy for defendants
o Informal influence on men in other contexts
 Would not allow men to give false evidence about family matters
 Men consulted respected women
purpose of hetairai
 Most hired for entertainment, companionship, and sex
depiction of hetairai
- Depiction of prostitutes slim and graceful with small, firm breasts. Proportions often masculine
Comic ideas of women
o Comic poet Aristophanes imagines women staging a sex strike for peace, convicting poet Euripides of misogyny during the Thesmophoria, overtaking government and creating a communist utopia when they are disgusted with men's abuse of state interests
tragedic ideas of women
o Tragedy imagines women who take revenge on enemies, kill husbands for sacrificing a child, argue against views offered by men, save members of own family
sacrifices herself to Artemis so Greek army can go to Troy
differences between Hellenistic and Classical women
o Women could do economic and legal transactions through Jewish and Egyptian legal systems
o Respectable, unmarried women could choose to work in liberal arts
o Women free to move about and address male strangers in public in cities like Alexandria
- Hellenistic queen who exercised real political power
o Wealthy, owned racehorses (male pursuit), heir of Cyrene
o Incestuous adultery, intrafamilial homicide
 Meant to marry Ptolemy III, but after father died, mother had her engaged to Demetrius, who fell in love with mother instead, was killed
o Depicted as middle-aged to show wisdom
o Praised in "Lock of Berenice"
 Donated lock of hair to Arsinoe II to wish for husband's safe return
 Conon the astronomer, grateful for patronage, flattered queen by identifying her lock of hair in constellation, and Callimachus narrates different aspects of lock in "Lock of Berenice"
o Governed Egypt when her husband was away
o After death of husband, tried to put her favorite son in power, but got killed by other son
 Death was indicative of the political power she held
 Created a priestesshood in her honor
 Athlophoros of Berenice the Benefactor was awarded precedence over priestesses of all other queens
 Built temple for Berenice
Lock of Berenice
alludes to deification of Arsinoe II
Canopus Decree
refers to deification of Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy III and Berenice II
o Decree existing honors in temples to King Ptolemy and Berenice
o Perform honors to Berenice
differences between priestesses in C and H ages
names known in H
women in Hellenistic age
- Normal wealthy, elite women awarded public honors, including magistracies
- Women expected to be independent, as outlined in marriage contract
o Right to divorce adulterous husband, equal say in court
- Legal documents show women very assertive and autonomous in Hellenistic world
o Woman lodges complaint against a male for bodily injury
o Father can't force daughter to pay for expenses
o Woman asking for guardianship
- Still very patriarchal, female infants devalued
o Greeks exposed female infants; Egyptians did not
New Comedy perceptions of women
o Newly included female characters who try to act for themselves and manipulate world
o Passive victims of circumstances, but could stand up for self
education in Hellenistic era
more on women
Hellenistic poets
Nossis, Anyte, Erinna, Corinna
wrote epigrams and lyrics. Known for poet of love, particularly lesbian relationships, refers to herself with matronymics
wrote about war, first poet to write bucolic poetry, epigrams for funerals for girls who died before marriage, directed towards both men and women
wrote narrative lyrics about Boeotian myth, directed towards both men and women
Hellenistic philosophers
o Hipparchia, Lsthenia, Axiothea
most famous Hellenistic artists
o Lala most famous artist, usually had female subjects
first female obstretrician in Athens
when started studying medicine
4th century BC
change in depiction of women
- Started showing stelai and other funerary monuments in mid-fourth through third centuries BC of a woman in childirrth
o Only grave monuments that specifically say manner and moment of death
o Suggested that scenes heroize dead woman, analogous to men dying in battle
explanation of female behavior
- Female reproductive system used by Hippocratic and later doctors to explain erratic behavior, propensity towards Dionysiac ecstasy, and susceptibility to romantic love
only one of young women in Hellenistic poetry who lives without male supervision and engage in love affairs without being a courtesan or prostitute
Whispered Erotic Dialogue
shows reluctance to give birth and lose virginity, but countered with short bloom of youth and rewards of children
to make statues of nude females—of Aphrodite
differences between Classical and Hellenistic depiction of women
o Classical women portrayals lean and athletic, similar to young men
o Hellenic portrayal fleshy, wide hips, large buttocks
honored with award for poetry usually reserved for men
orator, funeral oration 4th century
captured by Theseus as part of his labors
captured by Theseus as part of his labors, killed by Hercules
Rhesus of Thrace
king who fought on the side of Trojans in Iliad
wife of Hercules
relieved images with narratives on each side. Of Trojans vs. Greeks, Persians vs. Greeks, Giants vs. Gods, Centaurs vs. Lapiths, Amazons vs. Greeks
Artemis Sanctuary, frequented by little girls. Ritual duties, culminates in race. "Little Bears"
language dialects
Doric (Sparta), Ionic (Athens, Ionian Islands), Aeolic (Aeolian islands)
[ ]
Back away from that, [she said]
And steady on [ ]
Wayward and wildly pounding heart,
There is a girl who lives among us
Who watches you with foolish eyes,
A slender, lovely, graceful girl,
Just budding into supple line,
And you scare her and make her shy.
O daughter of the highborn Amphimedo,
I replied, of the widely remembered
Amphimedo now in the rich earth dead,
There are, do you know, so many pleasures
For young men to choose from
Among the skills of the delicious goddess
It's green to think the holy one's the only.
When the shadows go black and quiet,
Let us, you and I alone, and the gods,
Sort these matters out. Fear nothing:
I shall be tame, I shall behave
And reach, if I reach, with a civil hand.
I shall climb the wall and come to the gate.
You'll not say no, Sweetheart, to this?
I shall come no farther than the garden grass.
Neobulé I have forgotten, believe me, do.
Any man who wants her may have her.
Aiai! She's past her day, ripening rotten.
The petals of her flower are all brown.
The grace that first she had is shot.
Don't you agree that she looks like a boy?
A woman like that would drive a man crazy.
She should get herself a job as a scarecrow.
I'd as soon hump her as [kiss a goat's butt].
A source of joy I'd be to the neighbors
With such a woman as her for a wife!
How could I ever prefer her to you?
You, O innocent, true heart and bold.
Each of her faces is as sharp as the other,
Which way she's turning you never can guess.
She'd whelp like the proverb's luckless bitch
Were I to foster get upon her, throwing
Them blind, and all on the wrongest day.
I said no more, but took her hand,
Laid her down in a thousand flowers,
And put my soft wool cloak around her.
I slid my arm under her neck
To still the fear in her eyes,
For she was trembling like a fawn,
Touched her hot breasts with light fingers,
Spraddled her neatly and pressed
Against her fine, hard, bared crotch.
I caressed the beauty of all her body
And came in a sudden white spurt
While I was stroking her hair.
Version II
Vendettas end among the gods.
Serenity's against the odds.
But weave and anguish is your thread.
Agido's light I sing instead,
Which is the sun's, and she our sun;
They shine, we cannot tell which one.
And yet I must not praise her so:
One lovelier than Agido
Must have first praise. Choirmaster, she,
Dazzling as when a stallion, he
Runs beside his stateliest mare,
Outshines us all, O no compare!
A race-horse, she, a champion blood
Long-tailed Paphlagonian stud.
See how her hair, so thick, so bold,
A long mane of Venetian gold,
Flowers around her silver face.
What figured image can I place
That Hagesikhora shall stand
As if you touched her with your hand?
I'll keep the horse. Then Agido,
Less beautiful, but scarcely so,
A Colassaian filly seems,
Behind her runs and like her gleams
In the Ibenian races. Or
A Pleiades of doves they are,
Or Sirius rising to light
The honeydark sweet summer night.
Hold O Sidonian red our wall.
With wrists snakebound we stand or fall.
Our golden, written serpents stare,
Lydian bright bands bind our hair.
We stand, contending, jeweled girls,
Unarmed except by Nanno's curls.
Armed with but our violet eyes,
Ainesimbrota's beauty vies,
That Philylla loves, and Thyakis,
Damareta and Astaphis,
Wianthemis the randy, too,
Klesithera, Areta who
Is like a god, but silver-heeled
Hagesikhora is our shield.
Is Hagesikhora our own,
So elegant of anklebone?
As faithful as to Agido!
The gods we could not honor so
But that, O gods, you love her too.
What you mean humankind to do
She does, and brings perfection home,
While I, who sing by metronome,
Ordinary and unaloof,
Hoot like an owl in the roof.
When on Aoti's A we pitch
How flat the Doric counterstitch
O Hagesikhora, unless
You join the ringing loveliness.
I cannot find Lykaithos among the dead
Enarsphoros and with him the fast runner Thebros
[ ] the violent
[ ] the helmeted
And Euteikhes and the lord of lands Areios
[ ] mightiest of men half gods.
[ ] the hunter
[ ] the great and Eurytos
[ ] blind tumult
[ ] most brave
[ ] we shall [not] go across
[ ] Destiny and Providence
[ ] the oldest of all the gods
[ ] force goes barefoot
A wild heart must not crowd divinity
Nor rush upon Aphrodite hot to marry
[ ] Wanassa, nor any
[ ] Porkos' daughter
[ ] Graces from the house of Zeus
[ ] eyes all love in their looking
[ ] Fate
[ ] to friends
[ ] gave gifts
[ ]
[ ] destroyed youth
[ ]
[ ]
[ ] left, the one by an arrow
[ ] marble millstone
[ ] to Hades
[ ] they
[ ] are unforgotten
Who suffered the evil their own hands made.
And there is the vengeance of the gods.
He is a happy man who can weave his days,
No trouble upon the loom.
And I, I sing of Agido,
Of her light. She is like the sun
To which she makes our prayers,
The witness of its radiance.
Yet I can neither praise her nor blame her
Till I have sung of another,
Sung of our choirmaster,
Who stands among us as in a pasture
One splendid stallion
Paws the meadow, a champion racer,
A horse that runs in dreams.
Imagine her if you can. Her hair,
As gold as a Venetian mane,
Flowers around her silver eyes.
What can I say to make you see?
She is Hagesikhora and
Agido, almost, almost as beautiful,
Is a Kolaxaian filly running behind her
In the races at Ibeno.
A Pleiades of doves they are
Contending at dawn before the altar of Artemis
For the honor of offering the sacred plow
Which we have brought to the goddess.
They are the white star Sirius rising
In the honey and spice of a summer night.
Neither abundance of purple
Can defend us with its glory,
Nor golden snakes engraved with eyes and scales,
Nor bonnets from Lydia and brooches,
Nor our sweet violet eyes.
Nor can Nanno's hair, Areta's goddess face,
Thylakis nor Kleësithera,
Nor Ainesimbrota to whom we cry
Let Astaphis be ours,
Let Philylla look our way sometimes,
Damareta and the lovely Wianthemis,
Keep back defeat unless
Hagesikhora alone, our love,
Be our victory's shield.
And she is, she is our own,
The splendid-ankled Hagesikhora!
With Agido, by whose side she lingers,
She honors the rites with her beauty.
Accept her prayers O gods,
For she is your handiwork,
Perfect of her kind.
And I, I, O Choirmaster,
Am but an ordinary girl.
I hoot like an owl in the roof.
I long to worship the goddess of the dawn
Whose gift is peace. For Hagesikhora
We sing, for her we virgin girls
Make our lovely harmonies.
To the swift trace-horse
So [ ]
[ ] to the pilot
And the ship [ ]
More melodious than the Sirens
For they are goddesses. There are ten
Of us, eleven of them [ ]
Sings [ ] upon the Yellow River
The swan. And she of the lovely yellow hair
first korai statue
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