Roman and Greek attitudes to gender influenced later civilisations.
Roman society was patriarchal, and strong commanding virile men were the most highly respected. (Vir: the roman word for man) Alpha males have been described as ‘impenetrable penetrators’ – it was not thought wrong to have sexual relations with other men, and boys, although the ‘penetrator’ always was the socially and politically dominant person Roman law referred to a person’s sex as male, female or hermaphrodite, with legal rights as male or female depending on the characteristics that appeared most dominant.
Greek society was also very male-dominated and women were kept secluded from the public gaze, and rarely educated. The exception to this was Sparta where women were given far more freedom and were educated. Boys were trained to become soldiers and, as preparation for military campaigns, were given ‘Spartan’ rations – unlike their sisters who had more food. While the male population was away fighting, women were expected to keep society going at home.