Famous Ancient Greek Women Facts
There were all types of famous ancient Greek women who will forever be a part of classic Greek history and mythology. Where Greek men were
most admired for their strength and power, what Greek women were usually admired for was either their beauty or their wits. That all changed when the Peloponnesian War
ended and women began working outside the home, in addition to caring for kids and tending to domestic duties. The following famous ancient Greek women facts shed
light on some of Greece's most interesting and independent females and why their names are remembered today.
Three Famous Ancient Greek Women
Helen of Troy
- Perhaps the most famous ancient Greek women is Helen of Troy. She was said to have been the most beautiful woman in the world.
- Was she real or just a mythological figure? It is generally believed that she was a real person but how much of what we know about her is fact and how much is fiction
is not clear.
- She is famous for her beauty and for being the cause of the Trojan War; that went on for a period of ten years.
- She was also known as Helen of Sparta.
- It has been written that she was the daughter of the Greek god Zeus.
- She is referred to as "the face that launched a thousand ships". After being essentially kidnapped by Paris, a Trojan Prince, Helen's many male admirers in Greece
agreed to help her husband, Menelaus get her back. Greek troops sailed to Troy where they eventually reunited her with Menelaus after sneaking into the city and
setting fire to it.
- Blessed with many artistic gifts, Sappho was not only one of the first female poets; she was one of the first poets to express herself in the first person.
- As was the custom, Sappho's poems were meant to be heard while a string instrument called a lyre was played.
- She dedicated much of her poetry to describing her admiration and love of certain women throughout her life. As her literary work has been studied and
critiqued, particularly in the last century, her love of women has been emphasized. For this reason the term sapphic, meaning female homosexuality, was derived from
her name. Also the word lesbian is derived from the name of the island of Lesbos where she was born.
- She was born in Greece in the 4th century BC during a time when women were not permitted to practice medicine.
- Agnodice made it her mission to help other women by becoming the first woman to practicing medicine; for this she risked being executed.
- Because it was a capital crime for women during her time to practice medicine, she disguised herself as a man in order to practice gynecology.
- Agnodice was eventually caught and brought to trial. Her popularity became evident when her supporters showed up at the trail to praise her.
- The conclusion of her trial resulted in a full acquittal. Soon after, the ancient Greeks passed laws that allow females to become physicians and practice everything
that their male counterparts were allowed to practice.
List of Other Famous Ancient Greek Women
- Penelope of Ithaca, Queen
- Aspasia, Mistress of Pericles
- Timarete, Painter
- Elpinice, Politician
- Phryne, Famous statue Model
- Hedyle of Athens, Poet
- Diotima of Mantinea, Philosopher
- Hypatia, Philosopher
- Metrodora, Physician and author