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The oikos, or household, is the basic unit of Greek life in the period studied. The programme explains that the term means both physical property and the people living on that property, and examine...s the relationships between the two concepts. It examines the roles of men and women within the oikos, and discusses the social, sexual, religious and domestic characteristics of Greek life. The programme also presents and discusses the evidence for the physical nature of the household and its surroundings and shows the ways in which oikoi, or groups of households, fitted into the constitutional structure of Greece.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A292, Greece 478-336BC
Item code: A292; 04
First transmission date: 06-06-1979
Published: 1979
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:12
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Producer: Mary Hoskins
Contributors: Darien Angadi; Peter Walcot
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Domestic life; Farming; Marriage
Footage description: Opening shots of small domestic clay figures. Walcot gives the meaning of the word oikos. Using a map of Athens he describes ordinary Greek town houses. A drawing of such a house is shown. Walcot explains the rather mean appearance of such buildings. Aerial shot of the Athenian Agora. Aerial shots of the excavated town of Olynthus. A plan of the site's largest house is shown and used by Walcot to describe the interior of a typical Greek dwelling. Shots of a small reconstruction of the house. Walcot contrasts the openness of Greek public life with the privacy of private life. Walcot explains the repressive treatment of Greek women and describes their duties at home. A long extract from Xenophon's Oeconomicus is dramatised to illustrate male attitudes towards women. Vase paintings illustrate female tasks Walcot comments briefly on the psychological reasons for Greek male chauvinism. Over numerous vase paintings depicting everyday scenes Walcot comments on the usefulness of this kind of evidence. He describes the arrangement of classical Greek marriages. Using a variety of illustrative material he describes the typical male dinner party. He quotes Kenneth Dover to explain Greek homosexuality. Again using vase illustrations Walcot describes specific crafts that were done in a Greek house. He comments on the nature of these small industries but explains that most Greeks were peasant farmers. Film of modern peasants in Greece. A map shows the location of two classical Attic farms. Both are reconstructed in drawings and described by Walcot. Walcot explains why peace was essential to agriculture and describes the difficulties of farmers during the Peloponnesian War. He quotes Aristophanes to show how farmers longed for peace. Using animated diagrams Walcot explains the distribution of demes and how they were composed. He describes Cleisthenes organisation of tribes and how the whole system was maintained. He explains the importance of family loyalty. Walcot describes family ceremonies related to the burial and commemoration of the dead. Vase paintings show religious rituals. Walcot explains the role of household Gods, and the special places given to Zeus and Hestia in the religious life of the oikos. He concludes by emphasising the importance of understanding the place of the oikos in Greek social history.
Production number: FOUA022D
Videofinder number: 3798
Available to public: no