The Feminist Movement in Classical Times

Allan Callahan

The Feminist Movement - greek women

It is amazing how many parallels there are to the Classical civilization and our own. Rome had a civil service, Federal Land Bank, Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Farm Credit Administration, Home Owners Loan Corporation, Price-and-Wage Act, Public Works Administration, Farm Debt Conciliation Committee, Food Relief.1

The Classical Civilization also had a feminist movement, which first began in Greece, later spreading to Rome. It was not that the Greek or Roman woman wanted to go out and work in an office or factory somewhere, as neither Greece nor Rome had much in the way of offices or factories as we know them today. Rather, her traditional sense of values was undermined. The Greco-Roman woman began to look upon childbearing as being beneath her talents, and this trend became pronounced under the Empire of the Caesars. And while the higher types of women were having fewer children, alien elements were having more. The ratio of whites in the population was decreasing while that of the Orientals and mixed-bloods was increasing.

This revolt against maternity was not entirely the fault of the superior stock of white women; in fact, it may have been more the fault of the men. The noted Classical thinkers (all men) did reach great heights with their philosophy, but one bad side effect was that the creative power of the blood was downgraded at the expense of ideas. (One example, in Greek mythology, is Athene’s birth from the forehead of Zeus). Thus women were, to a certain extent, psychologically “put down” with a loss of status and social position. They felt that they were inferior to men; or incomplete males. To fight back against this trend, the more sensitive and superior woman cared less about motherhood, and this drastically lowered the birthrate of the higher type Aryan elements.

The first feminist movement recorded in history began in Greece at the time of Euripides and gained more sway later on in Rome. The upper class women of Greece and Rome were at first proud and influential mothers who held dignified strongholds within a patriarchal society; later they became indifferent to their prime biological function. They were more interested in their seductive assets than their worthiness as mothers. Abortion was popular, and infant exposure was a common way of getting rid of unwanted children. The women tried to become more like males and compete with men on men’s terms. Here they failed, because they made no significant contribution to the Classical civilization, nor did they achieve any direct share in political power. Worse still, they also failed to produce enough of their own kind.

The higher type white women in the Western world today are making the same mistake their sisters made in Classical times. It was fatal in the past and will be fatal in the future also, if not corrected in time. 


1  See The New Deal in Old Rome, by H.J. Haskell, Alfred A. Knopf, 1939, Chapters I and II.

SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, June 1987

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