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humiliating to her principles *. She might not indulge in the most innocent freedom. Every irregularity in her conduct, however trivial, was regarded and condemned as an unpardonable breach of female decorum. Chastity and delicacy, she was told, equally forbade her to converse with a stranger t; and to form an intimacy beyond the walls of her own dwelling was yet more criminal, “because,” says the historian, “ it might lead her to an embez“ zlement of the goods and chattels committed to “ her charge.” Under such a system all intercourse was restricted with unrelenting jealousy. The female chamber was converted into a prison, and effectually defended from suspicious intrusion by bolts and bars *. And the married woman, the victim of a jealous and suspecting tyranny, was considered by her husband as little more than an instrument of profit, an household drudge whose best duty was retirement, and whose brightest virtue was domestic economy. : What was denied to the legitimate claims of the daughter and the wife, was lavishly yielded 10 the bold and impure demands of the avowed couttezan. Religion nourished in her very bosom a brood of female profligates, who, uniting accomplishment to beauty, diffused voluptuousness under the sanction of celestial authority, and corrupted the ingenuity, and polluted the morals, of youth. In every state of Greece, women, equally unchaste, were permitted or encouraged to exercise their deplorable profession; and at Corinth, as well as elsewhere, temples were erected to the earthly Venus, in which impurity was stimulated by superstition, and the most licentious of the sex were consistently honoured as the priestesses of the most licentious of goddesses. The indulgence of sensuality was thus legitimated as worship, and the oblation of impurity was but an act of devotion to the divine “ Parent of the pleasures and the loves.” Under these circumstances of encouragement, for the reserve, the delicacy, and the decorum which render woman so lovely in the eye of reason and of taste, and which supply the place, and heighten the charms of beauty itself, were substituted the meretricious arts, and ready blandishments, and skilful seductions,
from the pans and pottery that are employed, to the preparation and service of the different meals. If it be recollected that the establishment of a wealthy Athenian included a great number of slaves, and that, consequently, there must have been always some, and frequently many among them, afflicted with diseuse, it will be admitted that, in this department alone, the most determined housewife might find enough to do.
* It was enacted by Solon, that married women should not leave home, on any visit, with more than three garments; that they should never appear abroad but in full dress; and that they should not travel by night without a lighted torch before their chariot. Even the quantity of provisions which they might bring with them was limited to the value of an obolus. The breach of these, and of other ordinances of restriction, was punishable by a mulct; and the mulct, which was levied by officers aptly denominated γυναικονομόand γυναιόσμου, was publicly recorded in the Ceremacus, in order to expose the offenders to general reprobation. Athenæ. lib. iv. c.9. Hesycb. Voce alatávos.
+ Cornel. Nep. Præfat. In Vita Excel. Imperat. Stobæus Sermo. Ixxii. He quotes a passage from Menander, which directly affirms that no married woman should pass beyond the threshold of her own door. See also Iphigen. In Aulid. v. . 738. Euripid. Phæniss. v. 88. et Andromach, 876. Phidias expressed the necessity of domestic retirement in women, by a Venus treading on a tortoise, which carried its house upon its back.
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+ Aristoph. Thermophor. v. 414, 417. Aristophanes may be considered as the historian of the manners of the times in which he lived; and the manners required such an historian.
of the wanton and accomplished courtezan; and the courtezan, unintimidated and unrepelled, was to mingle in society often without shame and without disgrace, and often with admiration and applause.*
Who did not associate, if permitted, with the beautiful and fascinating but dissolute Aspasia ? At the very moment when her example and influence were most pernicious, she could count amongst her open admirers the proudest and noblest characters of Athens. Pericles, the ruler, and Socrates, the moralist, of the first city in Greece, were 'not ashamed to be seen in her society ; and, unreservedly applauding the irresistible graces of her form, they seemed to think it an honour to be admitted to the intimacy of her friendship. Her house, though the avowed residence of females of her own character, was visited not only by philosophers, but even by distinguished matrons, who were smit with admiration of her superior wisdomt. While the wife and mother were consigned to retirement, to ignorance, and to restraint, she was to enjoy the advantages and the pleasures of freedom and of society I.
She would have dis
Women of this character were selected for the service of the earthly Venus, and were sometimes supposed to procure public blessings by the favour of the goddess. They are said secretly to have co-operated, as priestesses of the divinity, with the political views of Themistocles and Miltiades; and the victories obtained by the skill and valour of those heroic commanders, were enhanced in the public opinion, by being attributed to the intercessions of meretricious agents with a meretricious deity. Athenæ. Deiphnos.
+ Plutarch. In Vit. Pericl. The fact may elucidate the moral delicacy of the times.
| She lived much in the society of Pericles, and is supposed to have composed for him that beautiful oration, which Thucydides
dained the lot of the married woman; and her form was embellished by the arts of dress, and the graces of manner were successfully studied, for the
purposes of evil triumph and profitable seduction. To these accomplishments she added the more effectual fascinations of taste, of eloquence, and of wit; and, thus arrayed by nature and education, she exhibited the most perfect contrast to the dame, who, herself almost a chattel, was respected or regarded by her husband but in proportion to her skill in the management of his household.* Yet, whatever were the seductions of Aspasia, the caste to which she belonged, and which was numerous, might exhibit several rivals not unworthy to compete with her beauty and acquirements. The poet found abundant themes for bis most ardent and amatory songs ; and females were easily to be procured from whom the painter and the statuary might have copied, without the aid of imagination, the form and features of naked beauty.*
has recorded and extolled, in honour of those who had fallen in the last Peloponnesian war. The speech concludes with a passage which may afford an additional evidence of the temper and manners of the age. The mothers and wives of those who had been slain were permitted to be present at the delivery of the oration. But their sorrows appear not to-have been much respected by the orator, and they are dismissed at last in the coldest and most repulsive language. “For you," says Pericles, “ you will not, I trust, be worse than nature made you. You will recollect that your duty is retirement, and that your greatest honour is to be neither talked of nor known beyond the society of your own household.”
• Demosthenes, In Orat. pro Neæra, dwells with little delicacy on the popular distinction between the courtezan and the wife.
By our wives,” says he, we become the fathers of legitimate children, and we possess in them faithful guardians of our house and property. But the courtezan is essential to our enjoyment of life," &c.
In proportion as this latitude of principle and of practice was indulged in Greece, the respectable portion of the sex were degraded more and more by the jealous tyranny of legal vigilance and restraint. They became literally the appendages of the family inheritance, and were held in a state of rude and perpetual tutelage. If they were deprived of their husbands by death, the authority which he had exercised was transferred to her son; if the son died, the controul was exercised by the next of kin; and this superintendence, whether of the son or of the next of kin, was maintained, there is reason to think, with a roughness and rigourt which implied the insulting suspicion which was entertained of the frailty of the sex.
Every thing, indeed, was contrived to remind the sex of the duties of their servitude. The letter of the law, and the authority of the husband, were insufficient, it was thought, for their direction and restraint. They were also to be instructed, by emblems publicly displayed and of an expressive character; and the bird of night, a pair of reins, and a bandage for the lips, impressed them with the humiliating lesson that they were expected to watch over their husband's property with the vigilance of the owl, to place upon
their tongue the restraint of silence, and to guide their menials with the dexterity of a charioteer at the public games.
• Appendix, Note D. D. D. + Ne sis mihi patruus oro, was a frequent supplication of the widow to her guardian. The guardian was denominated xueros, an emphatic term.