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Journal of Philosophy and Culture

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Rape and Adultery in Ancient Greek and Yoruba Societies

Olakunbi O Olasope

Abstract


In Athens and other ancient cultures, a woman, whatever her status and whatever her age or social class, was, in law, a perpetual minor. Throughout her life, she was in the legal control of a guardian who represented her in law. Rape, as unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman, warranted a capital charge in the Graeco-Roman world. It still carries a capital charge in some societies and is considered a felony in others. As for adultery, it may be prosecuted in some cultures while in others it is a matter to be decided by the family council.

This paper examines laws concerning the abuse of and exploitation of women in ancient and modern societies, especially within the context of their biologically determined roles and sexual culture. It also seeks to establish the socio-legal rights (if any) of women, especially those who were traumatised and sexually abused. The research method is mainly content analysis. It employs sources such as legal evidence in the form of recorded speeches of the Attic orators along with literary accounts, historical or legendary and epigraphic inscriptions.




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