Verbal Representation of Misogynistic Ideas in Ancient Greek Proverbs

←2018. – Vol. 13

Levko Oleksandr Vadymovych

PhD, Аssociate Рrofessor

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Institute of Philology

Chukhno Yuliia Vasylivna

Master of Philology

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Institute of Philology




The article deals with Ancient Greek aphorisms and gnomes representing the notion of woman, with a particular focus on the proverbs with misogynistic meaning. As a result of our analysis, it was found out that out of four thousand Ancient Greek proverbs under study only sixty-five units verbalize the notion of woman, making up 1.6% of the total count. Some of these proverbs represent the idea of female character, while others are related to the social role of women as wives. It is determined that the proverbs under study reveal the misogynistic perception of woman through the prism of a masculine point of view. The proverbs convey the idea of feminine nature’s imperfection and the deficiency of feminine character. Women come across as unrestrained, talkative, treacherous, insidious, cunning, vindictive, greedy, that is, as ones who constantly threaten the mental balance and the possessions of their husbands. “Woman” and “femininity” are envisaged as attributes of defective character traits. As a result of the analysis of the lingual material, it was concluded that the negative features attributed to the female nature are trickery, deceitfulness, frivolity, vengeance, authoritativeness, fierceness, talkativeness, intrusiveness, envy, laziness, cowardice, greed, vulgarity, indecision, shamelessness, temptation, boastfulness, unfairness and inability to manage the household. Only a small number of the proverbs under study convey the idea of marriage and the role of women as wives and mistresses of the house. Marriage is only a forced act for a man, which has as a purpose the birth of rightful citizens of the polis. Therefore, a woman in Ancient Greek lingual model of the world appears as καλὸν κακόν “good / necessary evil” in view of her role in procreation. The study reveals that the origins of misogynistic ideas can be traced back to mythical Pandora, who was considered to be responsible for the inception of the world’s evil and suffering of humanity. Misogynistic notions are also common in fiction, as well as philosophical and medical literature of Ancient Greece. In the works of Aristotle and Hippocrates, the inequality of women and men is substantiated. A woman is seen as inferior to man, which is allegedly evident in the mental nature of each, as well as the structure of their bodies and even their role in the childbirth.

Keywords: proverb, woman, marriage, misogyny, gender, Ancient Greek.


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