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for the sake of certain Thracian captives, whose charms conquered their conquerors, resolved upon indiscriminate revenge. They unanimously agreed to put all their male relations to death; and this barbarous plan was carried into execution, with the solitary exception of Hypsipyle, the queen, who spared the life of her father. In consequence of this, the women conspired against her, and soon after drove her from the kingdom.
The most common employments of Grecian women were spinning, weaving, embroidery, making garments, and attending to household avocations. Their embroidery often represented battle-scenes and historical events, which must have required a great deal of time and patience. During the early ages, there seems to have been no difference whatever between the occupations of princesses and women of common rank. Before marriage, Penelope tended her father's flocks on the mountains of Arcadia; and when she was queen of Ithaca, her son bids her attend to the spindle and the loom, and leave the affairs of the palace to his direction. During the absence of her husband, she was troubled with numerous powerful suitors, whose enmity was greatly to be feared in those turbulent times. She promised to choose one from among them, when she had finished weaving a certain web; but she continually baffled them, by unravelling in the night what she had woven in the day: hence “ Penelope's web” became a proverbial expression for works that were never likely to be finished. We are told that Nausicaa, daughter of king Alcinous, who met Ulysses ship. wrecked on her father's coast, went down to the shore, accompanied by her maidens, to wash clothes; and princess as she was, she carried her dinner with her.
Women grinding corn, after the manner of the Israelites, are alluded to by old Greek authors; and that they were in the habit of spinning with a distaff as they walked, is to be inferred from the fact that it was considered a bad omen to meet a woman work. ing at her spindle.
As luxury increased, the lines of demarkation between different ranks no doubt became more obvious, and laborious occupations were relinquished by the wealthy. It is likewise probable that restraints became less and less rigid. Women, in later times, certainly joined the men in entertainments at Aspasia's house, and the remains of an ancient picture leads to the conjecture that at some period they attended the theatres. It is recorded that certain women disguised themselves in male attire, and went to Academus to listen to the philosophy of Plato; and when this desire for knowledge began to prevail, it could not be long before it manifested itself in casting off the fetters prescribed by custom. Individuals there were, as there ever will be, of both sexes, who were in advance of the people among whom they lived. Beside the farfamed Sappho and Aspasia, there was Corinna, the Theban poetess, who is said to have five times carried the prize from Pindar; and there was Arete, daughter of Aristippus, who taught philosophy and the sciences to her son: from this circumstance the young man was called Metrodidactos, i. e. Taughtby-his-mother.
Increasing luxury evidently did not produce universal corruption ; for the wife of Phocion was a model of prudence, simplicity, and domestic virtue. When one of the actors, who was to represent a queen, demanded a more pompous retinue, Melanthius, who was at the charge of the exhibition, said: “ Phocion's wife appears in public with a single maid-servant; and dost thou come here to show thy pride, and corrupt our women ?" The audience received this remark with a thunder of applause. This same modest matron, when a lady exhibited many jewels in her presence, replied : “Phocion is my greatest ornament, who is now called for the twentieth time to command the armies of Athens.” Plutarch, who lived as late as the time of Trajan, bears testimony that his wife Timoxena was far above the frivolity and affectation, which characterized many of her sex ; that she cared little for dress or parade; and was chiefly desirous to perform all the duties, and observe all the proprieties of life.
of the amusements of the Grecian women we know little. Religious festivals no doubt constituted a large portion of their recreations. Many dances were used on these occasions; among which was the Caryatides, a Spartan dance, in honor of Diana. Theseus, who invented a circular dance called the Crane, is said to have been the first who introduced
the custom of men and women dancing together. Various musical instruments were in use, such as the harp and the cythara, and women doubtless played upon these, as well as joined in the songs appropriated to various festivals. Female characters at the theatre were performed entirely by men in disguise.
Ladies of rank were at all periods accompanied by attendants; and among them was generally some old nurse, or matron, continually about their persons. Two such are described as waiting upon Penelope, beside a numerous band of maidens, whom she guided in the labors of the distaff and the loom.
The Grecian dress consisted of sandals for the feet, and an ample flowing robe, without sleeves, fastened at the waist by a girdle. The wealthy wore purple, and other rich colors; the common class usually wore white, for the economy of having it dyed when it became soiled. Jewels, expensive embroidery, and delicious perfumes, were used in great profusion by those who could afford them. It is supposed that women stained their eyebrows black, and stained the tips of their fingers rose-color, after the manner of the East. They took great pains to keep their teeth in perfection, and some affirm that they painted their lips with vermillion.
According to Socrates, the most costly female wardrobe in his time might be valued at about fifty minæ, or one hundred and sixty pounds, nine shillings, and two pence.
Until the time of Cecrops, the Grecians lived
lips with ding to time misund sixts
without the institution of marriage; but his laws on that subject, being found conducive to the public good, soon became generally observed. He expressly forbade polygamy; but at certain periods, when great numbers of men had been slain in battle, temporary laws were passed allowing men to take more than one wife. Euripides is said to have imbibed a dislike to the whole sex by having two wives at once, who made his house a perpetual scene of dissension. It was allowable for a man to marry his sister by the father's side, but not by the mother's. Cimon married his sister Elpinice, because his father's misfortunes had left him too poor to provide a suitable match for her ; but afterward, when Callias, a rich Athenian, became in love with Elpinice, and offered to pay all her father's fines, if she would consent to be his wife, Cimon divorced her, and gave her to him.
Parents negotiated matches for their children; and neither young men nor maidens presumed to marry without the consent of both father and mother.
In Athens, heiresses were compelled by law to marry their nearest kinsmen, in order to preserve the fortune in the family ; but if he chanced to be old and superannuated, a younger relative was admitted into the household, and in all respects considered the lady's husband, except in having a legal claim to her inheritance.
When a female orphan was left without adequate support, the nearest relative was obliged to marry her, or settle a portion upon her according to his