Gender In The Ancient World
Greece society, while also furnishing a propaganda tool through statuary that greatly influenced the evolution Of male dominance and the enforcement Of rigid gender roles of Ancient Greek culture. A fairly recently found bronze sculpture, Warrior from Race (ca. 450 BCC), is a prime example.
This sculpture represents the powerful male norm. While it portrays the concepts of what is considered desirable in the current period, it also portrays the dominance of the strong male over those considered to be less ideal, such as women, children and weaker men.In Ancient Greece, men spent the majority of their time away from their homes and families. Men were the power, the driving force in society. Men ran the Greek government, as well as manufacturing and trade. Men would also spend time in the fields, either overseeing or working the crops, hunting, construction and sailing. Men enjoyed athletics, sporting events and the Olympic games, which wives and daughters were not allowed to attend.
In his lecture at Purdue University, Professor Nicholas Rah states, “As the dominant element in society Greek males imposed their will on all beneath hem. He went on to explain that Greek men, specifically the warrior class imposed their will onto women, children, even other men, by strength, force and both hetero and homo sexual intimidation and aggression. During this period in Greece, artists were primarily men, thus resulting in artwork that gave a one sided male perspective of gender and the rigid gender roles of current society. The Warrior from Race, relays an example of the ideal male, strong and powerful in both body and mind.The sculpture portrays the epitome of beauty and nobility of the human body. The form stands upright with broad square shoulders in an unprotected stance, face expressing his intent, head turned to the side as if something caught his attention. He stands nude, without intended eroticism, grasping his spear, portraying a figure that is not simply confidant, but is also imposing.
This sculpture represents the power of the male warrior and was sculpted with the intent of influencing the Greek audience to automatically infer the superior male dominance in society.The Warrior from Race, was definitely not the only sculpture to monster the message of male virility and dominance over all subordinate elements of Ancient Greek society. This same message is seen in Polytheism’s Doorposts (ca. 450440 BCC), which also strongly portrayed the powerful norm of men, intended for the Greek audience to internalize and accept superior male dominance. Doorposts and the Warrior from Race both share similar attributes, such as idealistic form and proportion, as well as a natural pose and expression. The spear and open stance relay the male dominance through use of implied confidence and a phallic weapon.Although Doorposts is nude it is not for the viewer’s benefit; it is to show the subjects ideal form and to profess heroism.
Even if one were to find the image erotic, one could hardly find the subject powerless (Moon). Gender roles in Ancient Greek society favored the male. Men were treated in a different manner then the women. Women were essentially relegated to the job of keeping the house, tending to the slaves and were responsible for ensuring that everything ran smoothly; whereas the men worked and tended to the people that they ruled over. Men enjoyed the dominant role in public fife.Men Were engaged in the politics Of government and public events, while women were kept sheltered, by their fathers and then by their husbands after they were married. Greek women were in charge in their home, their job was to run the house and bear children, only allowed out for brief visits with female neighbors, or to attend weddings, funerals and religious festivals.
When men entertained their friends, women were not allowed to attend, this was also extended to the Olympic games, which except for the small event in honor of Hear, was for males only.