The Role Of Women In Ancient Greek Art.

920 words - 4 pages

The investigation of the role of women in the Art of ancient Greece is complex because artists were affected both by the art of the past and the women that they saw around them every day. There is one certainty and that is that the influence of the various roles evident produced some of the greatest art ever. The purpose of this page is to investigate the various influences that women had and provide information to help the understanding of this important area of art.The time periods covered by this site include the following:*Bronze Age (3300-1050 BCE)*Dark Age (1050-750 BCE)*Archaic Age (750-479 BCE)*Classical Age (479-336 BCE)*Hellenistic Period (336-168 BCE)Women had a different role in ancient Greek society than they do today. It also seems likely that the role of women changed radically from ancient, pre-classical times to the more familiar classical period. For the classical period there are many sources for study. The classical Greeks were able writers, poets, artists, and even historians. The archaic Greeks are more difficult to study as we have to depend upon archeology and the oral tradition of myth.Classical Greeks were definitely patriarchal with women subserviant to men. Only native male Greeks could be citizens. Women obtained power only when they became the wife of an influential citizen or could obtain some influence by their relation to a man. They were restricted in their activities to mainly within the realm of a family or in the context of the activity of a courtesan. Within the family they might weave, grind grain, direct servants, and mind children. Even so, women were not without their influence, as is stated in a play by Euripides: "Women run households and protect within their homes what has been carried across the sea, and without a woman no home is clean or prosperous. Consider their role in religion, for that, in my opinion, comes first. We women play the most important part, because women prophesy the will of Loxias in the oracles of Phoibos. And at the holy site of Dodona near the Sacred Oak, females convey the will of Zeus to inquirers from Greece. As for the sacred rituals for the fates and the Nameless goddesses [i.e. the Furies], all these would not be holy if performed by men, but prosper in women's hands. In this way women have a rightful share (dike) in the service of the Gods" (Neils, Worshipping Athena, p 78)Archaic Greeks were not necessarily patriarchal. This is best evidenced by the myths of the goddesses such as Athena who are seen to wield real power over men. These myths reflect a former time when women were more powerful. Archeology suggests there was a time when the most...

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