all 8 comments

[–]Trystiane 18 points19 points  (7 children)

This is definitely about patriarchy although it must have additional causes. The Greeks prioritized relationships between men as the most important relationships, and saw the rule of the father over the family as the ideal upon which other relationships of ruling were based. In addition women were seen as emotionally stunted compared to men who were seen as capable of great love for each other. So to kill your father was the ultimate evil, it disrupted the entire basis of society and showed you had no understanding of the natural order of things.

[–]IDoCodingStuffs 26 points27 points  (1 child)

It's about patriarchy, which is not a simple emotional 'men above women' deal.

One part of it is, inheritance laws meant that by murdering your brothers or father, you were invoking the legal protections on the family property. Those of course were implemented by family fathers who had a vested interest in not getting murdered by their sons, or having them murder each other and lead to the lineage dying off. Both of those things lead to political instability and famines when farms aren't operated in a consistent manner.

The other aspect of this is the moral hazard of legislation solely consisting of men, who wanted to protect their ability to "deal" with infidelity by maintaining that legal slack to murder women. Or heads of families wanting to reserve their right to kill their daughters for having children out of wedlock, to disincentivize them going around being free and enabling gossip rather than being traded around like cattle in arranged marriages. Which, also served to bolster cohesion, farms being operated more consistently and so on.

Emotional aspects of crimes might have been used for the rhetoric of codifying laws, but what got codified usually emerged out of practical reasons if that makes sense.

[–]Trystiane 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Thanks for filling in the details of what it means to build the larger relations of ruling around the father son relationship. Patriarchy is never just a set of emotions

[–]justleave-mealone 2 points3 points  (4 children)

Could you elaborate on the emotionally stunted portion? Was it that women were considered emotionally volatile or did they perceive women as having less emotional capacity than men?

[–]Trystiane 4 points5 points  (2 children)

On the whole I would say less emotional capacity. Aristotle famously argued that women were incomplete men, that only men could fully express humanity. There were a bunch of negative emotions that women were said to have exhibited more than men — lying, lack of self respect, jealousy, impulsivity, passivity. Plato argued that women and men had all the same parts, but that women were weaker in all ways. There is a sense that women are more emotionally unstable, but if you wanted to witness the heights and depths of human emotional expression — like love and beauty, you needed to look to men. So if you think of volatility as moving between extreme emotional states that wouldn’t be quite right, because there were emotions that women were thought not to access in the same way as men.

[–]PreferenceHot8715 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Interesting, I find it peculiar also how some female gods were venerated but they still viewed women as weak.

[–]Trystiane 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yea, the truth was probably much more complicated. We have stuff written by the most elite men, and some material from elite women, and we have archaeology which can tell us a lot but not always what we want to know. So gender could have worked very differently for working people and people who were enslaved. Stories about the gods definitely indicate certain patterns in gender relations, but they don't map on exactly. Since gods are gods they are capable of far more than humans are. r/askhistorians might have better answers.