Coursework Assignment on Behind Idealized Athenian Women

Final Paper Topic: Behind Idealized Athenian Women

With the exception of Sappho, all the depictions of Greek women that we read this semester were written by men. While their writings definitely included true details about Athenian women, historians need to distinguish between how these men wanted women to behave and how Athenian actually behaved.

Read, or reread, the following:
Aristophanes, Lysistrata
Thucydides, “Pericles’ Funeral Oration”, pages 39-35 in Woodruff
Xenophon, The Economist, pages 213-225 in Threshold of Democracy
Dillon and Garland, “Women, Sexuality and the Family: Inscriptional Evidence”: POSTED ON BRIGHTSPACE
Ober et al., “The Other Athenians: Women, Metics and Slaves”, pages 44-50 in Threshold of Democracy
Ruden, “Athenian Women”, pages 98-109 in Lysistrata

Write a 800 to 1,000 word essay that answers the questions below. Begin your essay with a thesis statement that unites the separate questions.
According to these inscriptions, what did Athenian men value about their wives?
What role does Pericles think that women should play in Athenian democracy?
What role does Xenophon think that wives should play in the Athenian household?
How does Lysistrata differ from the idealized women as described by the writers of the tombstones, Pericles and Xenophon?
Can we trust Aristophanes to depict how Athenian women felt about the war? Why or why not?

SOCRATIC OPTION: Instead of writing about how Xenophon describes his wife in his household, write about the role that women play in Socrates’ ideal city in Plato’s Republic.
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