Welcome to the Topic “5 Women in Ancient Greek History You Should Know About”
Although 1848 marked the start of the Women's rights movement, the concept dates back centuries. We have gathered a list of 5 'rebellious' women in Ancient Greek history who shackled the norms of patriarchy and rose above the rules and regulations that confined Greek women of the past.
Hypatia of Alexandria
The first one on our list is Hypatia of Alexandria, an intellectual and a woman of remarkable knowledge. Borin in Alexandria was a philosopher and a mathematician. She often sought pleasure in educating about the teachings of Plato and Aristotle and was an impressive public speaker.
Hypatia competed with men of the society by rising to the ranks of a respected academic at Alexandria’s university- a position with few women. Hypatia suffered a gruesome death, attacked by a Christian mob as she and her demeanor were seen as an obstacle to the spread of Christianity.
Arete of Cyrene
Born into a philosophical family, Arete inherited the philosophical mindset. Her father, Aristippus, played a crucial role in her intellectual development. Although unfortunately, little remains of Arete’s work. Yet, the fact that she was the successor of Artippus is enough to give her credibility.
As you might know, Ancient Greek did not provide the same place for women given to men. Women were forbidden from attending public meetings, but Arete had the opportunity to participate in private discussions in Plato's school, where she took the liberty of spreading her father's teachings. Arete was a firm believer in equality; throughout her life, she demonstrated that through her actions.
Aspasia of Miletus
Another woman to break free of the constrictions of Ancient Greek was Aspasia of Miletus. There is no clear record of her accomplishments. However, Aspasia gave birth to Pericles out of sheer wedlock at a time when women only gained respect if they were 'pure .'Pericles would later grow up to be a great statesman. Aspasia lived an independent life; she decided for herself and did not let the policies of Athens restrict her in any way.
Cynisca of Sparta
A lady of royal descent, Cynisca is no less than an inspiration either. Women of Ancient Greek lived under the impression that their place was in domestic roles. But this Spartan princess had a free mind and a free spirit. She was the first female to compete in the Olympics, and by doing so, she led the way forward for women of the coming generations.
Cynisca remained in people's hearts even after her demise and had a heroine's shrine in her name.
Ancient Greek women certainly left their mark in every field, and literature is one of them. Born into a wealthy family, Sappho gained popularity due to the beauty of her poetry. It is remarked that her poetry was elegant and refined, and it earned her the title of "the poetess" She often wrote poems about love and family and is considered to be a symbol of women’s love.
A tragedy marks Sappho's end as her intense love for ferryman Phaon caused her to take her own life.
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