Perfect male facing a woman, the imperfect male

Apollo Statue

This is a statue of Apollo, the god of reason and beauty as well as a model for excellence among Greek men. The latter considered themselves to be perfect and the complete opposite and superior to women, their counter-model. Men, after enduring painstaking schooling and achieving their citizenship, played the main role in all of their respective cities´ activities, in which they exhibited their spirit of sacrifice, competition and achievement. Schooling, debates, politics, leisure and sports fostered their spirit and waging war to defend their city put it to the test.

In contrast, women, their counter-models, were deprived of education and suffered throughout this period one of the cruelest and longest-lasting indictments in history. They were categorized “as imperfect men”, a viewpoint reiterated by many Greek philosophers, with Aristotle at the head.

For all of these reasons, citizen status remained a male prerogative, from which women were excluded along with all other areas of community life, although fortunately there were some exceptions.