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Ancient Greece What was life like for women?

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Ancient Greece What was life like for women?. These women have a basket full of wool. Making cloth was one of the most important jobs for women in ancient Greece. This woman is spinning wool into a thread. a basket for wool. a spindle to wrap the thread round.

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slide1

Ancient Greece

What was life like for women?

slide2

These women have a basket full of wool

Making cloth was one of the most important jobs for women in ancient Greece.

This woman is spinning wool into a thread.

a basket for wool

a spindle to wrap the thread round

weights to help the spindle spin

slide3

Women used a loom to weave the thread into cloth.

Explore this painting of an ancient Greek loom.

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Women used a loom to weave the thread into cloth.

Explore this painting of an ancient Greek loom.

vertical threads hanging down

finished cloth rolled around a bar at the top

bars to make it easier to weave the horizontal thread over and under the vertical ones

loom weights to keep the threads straight

How do you think an ancient Greek woman might feel when she had finished a new piece of cloth?

This loom weight has Athena’s owl on it. Athena invented weaving.

slide6

an old nanny – she may have been in the household for many years

the mother – girls often got married as young as 13 or 14, but were usually older when they had children

a nanny – usually a slave

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Some girls went to school or were taught at home. The woman in this painting is reading from a scroll.

Girls were also taught music and dance. The Muses were female goddesses of music, dance and literature.

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The women on these Athenian pots are entertaining men at a drinking party.

The woman on the left is a dancer. The woman on the right is playing the pipes.

Athenian free-born women were not allowed go to drinking parties, so these women must either be slaves or foreigners living in Athens.

Why do you think free-born Athenian women were not allowed to go to drinking parties with the men?

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When somebody died in the family, the women prepared the person’s body for the funeral. They cut their hair short, wailed and sang laments, scratched at their bodies and beat their heads.

It was usually women who visited the grave of the dead person to make offerings of oil, water and special cakes.

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This young woman is running in a short tunic.

She is probably from Sparta, where women did exercise to keep fit so they would have healthy children.

These two young women are playing a game of knucklebones.

It was like our game ‘jacks’.

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What do you think these women are doing?

Clue: the two strange objects are metal tripods, which were often given as gifts to the gods

The women are wearing fine long dresses, a headband and a crown.

an ox

an ox

a garland of flowers

a garland of flowers

The two bulls are going to be sacrificed to a god. The women have the important job of decorating them to show they are special.

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Here is another sacrifice. Can you find:

  • the ox and the altar where it is going to be sacrificed?
  • the priestess carrying on her head a basket with the sacrificial knife in it?
  • the statue of the goddess Athena?
slide13

Here is another religious festival. Can you spot:

  • some women dancing?
  • the priestess at the altar?
  • the high priestess or goddess on her throne?

This is probably a festival to help make the grain seeds grow and produce food.

Why do you think ancient Greek women had such important jobs to do in connection with worshipping the gods?

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These Athenian women are fetching water from the public fountain. Women spent most of the day in the house with the other women in their own household and with the children and the slaves. Carrying water was a heavy and tiring job.

Look at the picture. Can you think of reasons why Athenian women might have enjoyed going to fetch water?

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Find out more about ancient Greece

Visit the main Museum website

www.britishmuseum.org

Use Explore to look at some of our objects

www.britishmuseum.org/explore/introduction.aspx

Learn more about the lives of Greek women and men

www.ancientgreece.co.uk

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