Roles of Men, Women and Slaves and What Their Significance Was in the Life of Athens During the Classical Age of Greece 479-336 B.C.E.

1168 words 5 pages
The population of Athens was made up of four distinct groups: Male citizens, foreigners, slaves and women. For the purpose of this paper my intent is to show the different roles of men, women and slaves and what their significance was in the life of Athens during the Classical Age of Greece 479-336 B.C.E.
Athens was and still is known as the original culture to create the ideal of democracy and was the first democracy in the ancient world. (Pomeroy, 2012)(Levack, Muir, & Veldman, 2011). However; Ancient Athenians were not an equal society, they reserved citizenship for only a select group within the population.
Male citizens once reaching the age of 18 and who were “free born” were the only citizens of Athens allowed to
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Prostitution was a legal, taxable institution in Athens suggesting that even these women had a principal role in Athens society. (Pomeroy, 2012) There were however some women who were considered “elite courtesans called hetairai”. Like regular prostitutes these women were obliged to perform sexual acts as well as escort them to social gatherings. Hetairai women were considered to be bright well educated and beautiful. They would discuss topics such as philosophy, art and politics with these men because as a rule men believed their wives lacked the ability to have intelligent communications with them. (Levack, Muir, & Veldman, 2011), (Pomeroy, 2012) One Athenian orator named Demosthenes stated: “We have Hetairai for the sake of pleasure, regular prostitutes to care for our physical needs, and wives to bear legitimate children and be loyal custodians of our households” (Levack, Muir, & Veldman, 2011) I believe that statement personifies the role of the women in Athens.
Not all women were wives, prostitutes, hetairai or slaves, there were also priestesses; they served as the temples of goddesses. These women were actually highly regarded within the community, thought to have a special spirituality that made them vehicles from which gods spoke through to reveal the secrets of the future. These priestesses were so popular