The Role of the Women in Ancient Greece in Myth and Religion.
Women pervade nearly every genre of classical literature, yet as good evidence as this may seem, the reader must keep in mind that the literature was written by males and there is more than likely a bias present and with this bias, a taint of misogyny. Religion is indicative of the standing of women in any given society. Mythology is often the subject of classic literature and therefore it is a good place to study the ideal role of women in Ancient Greek society. .
A myth can be defined as an "imaginative, traditional tale transmitted orally over generations, which typically involve super human forces and deal with fundamental human concerns." It consists of stories that have existed, in various forms, for years immemorial. Therefore, classical mythology provides the earliest glimpse of male-female relationships in Greek civilization. Though myths may not be factually true, they are often symbolically true as well as sociologically true.
Religion can be defined as "an acknowledgement of an obligation to a god or gods; a practical piety; devotion; any system of faith and worship. It may be based or explained by myth but myth and religion are not the same way. It is easiest to explain this in terms of Christianity, since that is what most people in today's society are most familiar with. The belief in Jesus Christ being the son of the one God is our religion. The Bible is our set of stories about Jesus, or our myths about this religion.
To begin to look at the role the women represent in myth and religion, we must first take a look at what everyday life was like for a woman in the Ancient Greek world. Although we consistently know more about the aristocracy than about the lower classes, we can say that Greek women lived very sheltered lives in general. Scholars have also noted similarities in the behavior of aristocrats in the various cities across the Greek world, so we can generalize that the lives of women would vary across this area.