The Nature of Social Relationships. Ancient to Early-Modern Times. The Traditional Image of Classical Greece. The Greeks were the founding civilization that “invented” many attributes we associate with Western Civilization.
Ancient to Early-Modern Times
“Prostitutes we have for pleasure, concubines for daily physical attendance, wives to bear us legitimate children and be our faithful housekeepers.”
- an Athenian orator –
Note: In ancient Greece seduction was viewed as a crime greater than rape.
“The tribe of women is of these four kinds---that of a dog, that of a bee, that of a burly sow, and that of a long-maned mare. This last is manageable, quick, fond of gadding about, fine of figure; the sow kind is neither good nor bad; that of the dog is difficult and snarling; but the bee-like woman is a good housekeeper, and knows how to work. This desirable marriage, pray to obtain, dear friend.”
Hipponax, On Women, c. 580 BCE
“Two happy days a woman brings a man: the first, when he marries her; the second, when he bears her to the grave.”
Displayed at the Crystal Palace in London (1851).
The image evoked renewed
discussion of women and slaves
in Greek society.
“And the temple of Aphrodite [at Corinth] was so rich that it owned more than a thousand temple slaves---prostitutes---whom both free men and women had dedicated to the goddess. And therefore it was also on account of these temple-prostitutes that the city was crowded with people and grew rich; for instance, the ship captains freely squandered their money, and hence the proverb, “Not for every man is the voyage to Corinth.”
“If, gentlemen of the jury, you will turn over in your minds the question what is the difference between being a slave and being a free man, you will find that the biggest difference is that the body of a slave is made responsible for all his misdeeds, whereas corporal punishment is the last penalty to inflict on a free man.”
Rousseau’s tomb – Pantheon (Paris)