In the book Invisible Romans by Robert Knapp, there is a chapter called “Lives of Their Own: Ordinary Women. This chapter talks about women's lives in the Greco-Roman society in this time. According to the book, women lived in a mostly male-dominated society. These men had a clear opinion about women and their place in society. The woman’s only responsibility was to care for her husband, children, and home. It was believed that God gave jobs and responsibilities to men and women. Women were chosen to take on more household-related responsibilities like spinning and weaving fabric, and men were chosen for the more “important” jobs like business and the military. Tasks such as wool, spinning, and cooking were seen as inappropriate for men. Women could not speak in important situations, such as the town council. Because of this, we do not know what issues women would have had with society and what changes they believe could have been made.

The images above show two pieces of art that depict marriage, seeing as marriage had importance in this society, especially to women. This is because of guardianship, dowry, economic dependency, etc.

We can see a big difference from the Medieval Women book, which shows completely different lives of women in the Middle Ages. It was common for women to have the same “important jobs” as men instead of only being allowed to be in the home.

In the Greco-Roman Society, women were seen as less than men physically and mentally. A famous Roman playwright named Plautus wrote in one of his plays,” Nothing is more miserable than a woman.” This shows how little value women had in society and that men believed their lives to be miserable. Men believed that only men deserved to be allowed into heaven. The noncanonical Gospel of Thomas (scripture that is not a part of the official bible) suggests that Mary would not be able to achieve spiritual enlightenment because she is a woman, and women were believed to not be able to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Spiritual enlightenment is a special understanding or wisdom that makes people feel happy, peaceful, and connected to something bigger than themselves. Jesus responds to this by saying that he will make her male in a spiritual sense, which suggests women would only be able to get into heaven if they achieved their spiritual state. It is ironic that women give birth to men and are their creators, yet they can not get into heaven unless they are on the same spiritual level as men.

Men believed that women were physically weak due to the effects of childbirth. They were also believed to be inexperienced in male activities. They were also seen as not capable enough to make important decisions. Because of this, they depended on male relatives to make decisions related to property or legal matters. There was also a stereotype for women. It suggested that all women were gossipy, emotionally unstable, and vulnerable, which further suggests the idea that women needed protection from being taken advantage of. However, we cannot be sure if this was true or just a combined opinion of men.

Even though the overall opinion of men looked down on women, there were some times when the actions and attitudes of women were praised. We can see this example in writing from Aurelius, who is speaking about his dead wife, Aurelia. It reads, “I am Lucius Aurelius Hermia, freedman of Lucius, a butcher working on the Viminal Hill. This woman, Aurelia Philematio, freedwoman of Lucius, who went before me in death, my one and only wife, chaste of body, faithfully loving a faithful husband, lived equally in devotion with no selfishness taking her from her duty.” In simpler terms, this man expresses his deep praise and love for his dead wife. He says that she will be his one and only wife. He emphasizes her loyalty and dedication. He even goes as far as to say they had an equal relationship because she did her duties with no selfishness.

Women are described as beautiful, fertile, good homemakers, peaceful, and avoiding fighting. However, women were also expected to keep their composure, so it is unknown if women chose to avoid fights or avoid fights to maintain their calmness and a perfect image. Women are also expected to know their place and not be assertive around men. They were supposed to stay quiet. Because women were forced to be silent, it is unknown if some women had been intelligent and could not show it.

Women were a means to an end. This means that women were seen only as a sort of tool, and women probably felt this way. We can see a connection here with Christine de Pisan’s “The Book of the City of Ladies” in how Christine de Pisan describes her feeling like she was conditioned to feel worthless like these women were conditioned to feel like a tool. These women were used to having children so the property could be passed down to them.

Similar to the Medieval Women chapter on working women, women had opportunities in business. However, it was uncommon for women to choose this as their main focus in life. According to the book, we do not have much information directly from women about their thoughts and feelings in historical writings and ancient artifacts. Some of the sources believed to have been written by women still include the ideologies of men, so it is unknown what the real thoughts and opinions of women were. It is questioned what secret wants and hopes women had, but what women did not think differently than men apart from the few who have.

In summary, when we look at how women were shown in ancient Greco-Roman society, we see a place where people had very fixed ideas about what roles women could have. Women were mostly expected to take care of their homes and families and weren't given the same chances as men. They were often seen as not as strong or smart as men, and there were rules that kept them from speaking up in important situations. Even though some people praised women for being beautiful and good at taking care of their homes, these compliments were kind of like a double-edged sword. Women were also held back from being assertive or showing how smart they were. It's kind of like saying, "We like you for this, but don't try to be too confident or have strong opinions." What makes it even trickier is that when we try to learn about what women really thought and felt back then, it's like reading a book with some pages missing. The writings we have mostly come from men, so it's hard to know for sure what women truly wanted or felt. This makes it a bit like trying to understand a story when some parts are left out. This situation is a bit similar to what Christine de Pisan talked about in "The Book of the City of Ladies," where women felt like they were made to think they weren't important. In Greco-Roman times, women were often seen as tools for specific jobs, like having babies and passing on property. Even though some women could do business, it wasn't common, and most had to stick to certain roles. So, when we look into the lives of these everyday women from the past, it's like opening up a really complicated puzzle. We see that they had to deal with a lot of expectations and challenges, and we don't always get the full picture because the stories were mostly told by men. Overall, it seems like women back then had to navigate a society where they were often pushed into certain roles, and their true thoughts and feelings might still be a bit hidden from us today.