previous next

Women Outside the Home

Poor women worked outside the home, often as small-scale merchants1 in the public market that occupied the center of every settlement. Only at Sparta did women have the freedom to participate in athletic training along with men.2 Women played their major role in the public life of the city-state by participating in funerals, state festivals, and religious rituals. Certain festivals were reserved for women only, especially in the cult of the goddess Demeter, whom the Greeks credited with teaching them the indispensable technology of agriculture3. As priestesses, women also fulfilled public duties in various official cults; for example, women officiated as priestesses4 in more than forty such cults in Athens by the fifth century B.C. Women holding these posts often enjoyed considerable prestige, practical benefits such as a salary paid by the state, and greater freedom of movement in public.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: