Three Key Points Of Ancient Greek, Roman, And The Renaissance Life

2350 words - 10 pages

Aside from the intertwinements, or lack thereof, of religion into people’s lifestyles, how else did the people of these three cultures live their everyday lives, and what parallels can be made? One of the biggest common themes in the social structures and lifestyles of these three cultures are the rights and privileges they gave women. In ancient Greece, women had basically no political rights and were nearly always under the control of men. Their main duty was to have kids, and preferably male ones at that. Aside from this, other significant duties included tending to the agricultural work and taking care of the household, as the father was not home most of the time. The woman was in charge of raising the children and making their clothes, but many families had female slaves who could assist them in duties such as cooking, cleaning, and carrying in water from the fountain. The only times a woman was allowed to leave the house were if she were talking to a close female neighbor, or if attending a wedding, a funeral, or a state religious festival (Daily Life - Women's Life).
In Rome, women were in a similar legal and social state, but they may have enjoyed comparatively a bit more freedom. Roman women were not seen as equal under the law compared to men. They weren’t allowed to be involved in politics, and they couldn’t learn how to read and write, so what documented history exists about them is limited. Women usually received a basic education and were at nearly every point in their life subject to the control of a man. Before marriage, this was usually their father; when the woman did get married, the husband assumed legal rights of the woman and over their children. Women’s rights in terms of marriage changed slightly after the first century CE to benefit the women. Unless the woman married in manu—meaning she was subject to the rights of her husband—, she could marry sine manu and could thereby inherit, manage, and sell her own property. By the time of Augustus, a woman who had three children could become legally free and hold the status of sui luris. Regardless of these situations, the woman was always technically under the control of the eldest male in the family into which she married, who was called the paterfamilia. The degree of social freedom a woman had, however, was correlated to her wealth and social status. Women often held their own jobs, which could include lampmakers, midwives, hairdressers, and occasionally doctors. Just like the Greeks, the Romans also made use of women slaves, but their tasks were much more various, ranging from being maids to farmworkers to even gladiators. The only women who could enjoy a self-sufficient and independent social life were wealthy widows, as they were no longer under the control of a man (Women).
The theme of women lacking legal rights continues into the Renaissance lifestyle. Despite being ruled by queens, the Renaissance was a time when women had hardly any legal power. Just like the Greeks,...

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