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Attic Red Figure Pyxis
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Women In Ancient Greece: A Comparison Between Athenian and Spartan Women

domestic_athens.jpg
Women in Athens depicted working on their domestic chores. (Lewis, 2002 Pg. 65)

Attic Red-Figure Pyxis depicts in art an Athenian woman doing her domestic chores.  This artistic impression was crafted around 460 BCE.  The artist’s impression shows what appears to work on clothes, using various fabrics and threads.

 

One of the most important duties of a woman in Ancient Athens was to manager the household.  If they had a maid or a slave then she had to manage them.  In addition to ensuring that the weaving of cloth and the food for the family were completed.  Women in Ancient Athens took great pride in their weaving skills. In fact Athenian women generally took pride in their roll as the manager of the domestic sphere of life.  On the other hand women in Sparta had their own thoughts on weaving, “Secondary pursuits such as weaving were not considered a fit occupation for a free woman.”  (Blundell, 1995 Pg. 151)

 

In fact Spartan women did not do much in the domestic sphere as they were relieved of their domestic duties by Sparta’s large population of slaves.  It is thought that the independent outlook of the Spartan woman was caused by their upbringing in an environment surrounded mostly by females.  “… Nor would the model presented by her mother have been an entirely domestic one, since servant’s relieved Spartan woman of many onerous household duties…” (Blundell, 1995 Pg. 151)  Spartan women were very proud that unlike their sisters in Athens they did not need a man to manage or own their property for them.  (Pomeroy, 2002)
 

Project History 1001 A Virtual Museum Exhibit.  Noreen Emmanuel, Adam Dewar, & Kerylin Foss.