The following text is useful for those who are taking Greek language lessons or learn Greek by themselves and want to the GCSE Classical Greek exams

A respectable woman’s main role in ancient Athens was to stay home, keep pretty, and bear children. Her life centered on the house and the children. Most citizen wives had slaves to do the cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping. Once she gave birth, her father could not take her back.

It was difficult, but not impossible, for a woman to divorce her husband, but easy for her husband to divorce her. With divorce, her property which was turned over to her husband upon marriage was returned to her father or male guardian. She would also lose all rights to her children. Her husband was within his rights to lock her up in the house if she wasn’t behaving like he thought she should. Publically she would only be seen at religious events, weddings, and funerals.

Childbirth occurred at home, usually without the assistance of a midwife. Some contraception methods were available but not readily accessible to most women. The mortality rate for both mothers and babies was high. Infanticide was common as the father of the child decided to keep the baby or not. Unwanted or deformed newborns were put in pots and left out or otherwise exposed, leaving the agent of death to natural causes (exposure, dehydration, asphyxiation, etc.).

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