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date: 07 February 2023

household, Greeklocked

household, Greeklocked

  • Lin Foxhall


The household (oikos) was the fundamental social, political and economic unit of ancient Greece (Arist.Pol. 1. 2), though its precise links into larger political and economic structures changed regionally and over time. At one level it was a co-resident group, many (though not all) of whose members were kin or affines (related by marriage). Patrilateral kinship was probably more common than matrilateral in household settings, since marriage was patrilocal, i.e. women tended to move into their husband's house and household on marriage (see matrilocality). Though a nuclear family (parents and children) might form the household's core, there is considerable evidence for the regular appearance of stem families (nuclear family plus a grandparent) and various kinds of extended families, especially incorporating unmarried female relatives (aunts, sisters, nieces, cousins, etc. ). The senior man in the household usually took charge of ‘official’ relations with the outside world and acted as the head of household (kyrios).


  • Ancient Economy
  • Gender Studies

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