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Homeric Hymns: Ancient Stereotypes Of Women

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The Homeric Hymns portray Aphrodite, Athena, Artemis and Hestia as strong females who uphold their own beliefs; challenging the “typical” gender stereotypes of the time period. Women in antiquity were expected to follow and uphold certain societal rules, most of these rules emphasized the gender stereotypes that women were perceived as being. The use of the goddesses powers challenge these societal rules and ideas about women. Aphrodite, Athena, Artemis, and Hestia are portrayed in the Homeric Hymns in contrast to ancient stereotypical roles of women being confined to the household; as a result this contrast emphasizes that women can showcase strength, intelligence, and power within society. A women’s life in antiquity was constricted by…show more content…
Maintaining their virtue is one common goal with these three goddesses, and although chastity played a big role in a woman’s reputation in society it was not a choice women made for themselves. An excerpt titled “Husband’s punishment of wives in early Rome” highlights different harsh punishments given to women who violated their virtue, “Egnatius Metellus […] beat his wife to death because she had drunk some wine […] any women who immoderately seeks the use of wine closes the door on all virtues and opens it to vices”. Even the tiniest slight on a woman’s virtue could, at the most extreme, cost her her life. Whether or not a woman was a virgin basically decided her fate among the people, there were even contests held to judge a woman’s beauty and chastity; although beauty was nothing without chastity “for beauty is beautiful only along with chastity, but without it, it is dangerous and leads to wantonness”. The unique thing about Artemis, Athena, and Hestia’s pledge to remain chaste is that they are doing it solely for themselves and not because society told them to do it, they all have titles similar to Athena’s “the virgin revered”, highlighting the celebration of the pledge made to themselves to remain pure. Remaining chaste as a personal choice, rather than a societal one, gives them control over their own
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