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Dreaming Of The Past: A Glimpse Into Greece, Rome, And The Year 1000

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Dreaming of the Past: A Glimpse into Greece, Rome, and the Year 1000

As a student of Florida Institute of Technology, I am often under an immense level of stress. F.I.T. is not the normal, everyday college, especially considering I am a student-athlete. A normal day for me begins at 6:00 a.m. with a mile run and an hour workout in Clemente gym. I hurry and shower. Then, I have three to four classes before a four hour softball practice or a double header softball game. When I get home it is dark outside. No time for relaxation. It is usually bedtime after I finish preparing for the next day. I do not even get breaks during the weekend. I either have school or softball. As the semester progresses my stress level increases. Not only do I have to worry about normal practices and tests, but I have presentations to do, papers to write, and exams to worry with. In fact, I have an exam tomorrow in my Western Civilizations class. As you can see, I do not normally get enough sleep. It seems as though I do a lot of dreaming. My dreams often include what I think about before I go to sleep, and some occasional off-the-wall dreams. Tonight, as I review my notes on Greece, Rome, and the year 1000, I can only imagine what my R.E.M. sleep will bring.

Indeed, as I drift off to sleep I find myself in ancient Greece, the land of music and dance (Cahill 87). I am a woman of twenty-three years of age. I have been married since the age of fourteen and have two children with a man I did not want to marry, but have grown to care for him. My family and I, as well as most ancient Greeks, live in a house that is made of mostly stone (Pomeroy 6). Unlike some people, we are fortunate enough not to live in a house made of clay. Some houses are one story while others are two (Johnson 24). My home, in particular, is two stories high. Our roof is made with tile, although some others are made of leaves and mud (Dinsmoor 6). My husband and I spend a lot of times in separate parts of the house. Usually, this is because I spend time with my youngest son who is still nursing. Also, we like to have our private bath times, so we each have our own bathroom (Smith 738). The cities in ancient Greece are almost like modern cities in the year 2007. They have gymnasiums, educational centers, temples, and monuments (Tuplin 18).

As the days go, I learn more and more about the Greek life. We as Greek women do not have the right to vote; men control us, and we feel powerless (Kraemer 29). Men see me as being worthy enough for marriage, childbirth, childcare, and nothing more (Cahill 216). Marital responsibilities differ depending on our societal class. Duties of women who live in the cities are different of the ones who live in a rural area. The city-women, such as myself, raise the children and run the household. The rural-women also raise children, but are allowed to aid in some agriculture work, make clothing, and engage in a few other miscellaneous activities.

My clothes are normally made from wool or flax. I usually wear tunics, which are categorized as peplos and chitons. The peplos is simply a big rectangle of heavy material, mostly wool, creased over along the top edge so that my waist will be met by the over fold. It is positioned around the body and secured at the shoulders. Slits for armholes remain on the sides. Some leave the slits open and others sew the slit closed. If I have the resources, my peplos might be held at the waist with a belt and sometimes, a girdle. The chiton is prepared from a much lighter material called flax, or linen. It is a gigantic rectangle of material that is stitched up at the sides, secured at the shoulders, and usually secured around the waist. The peplos and chiton are usually worn as floor-length clothing (Wilson 245). Under either article of clothing, I wear a pliable band, called a strophion. This is worn around my chest area. Men wear a chiton similar to the one worn by women, except theirs are at knee-length or shorter. An exomis, a short chiton, is secured on the left shoulder. It is worn for training, horse riding, or labor (Wilson 245). My husband and I, along with the children, usually wear sandals, slippers, soft shoes, or boots, although at home we usually go barefoot (Solway 18).

The Greek women have very limited time outside the house. My life consists mostly of housework and the children. I might occasionally venture off, but only for certain occasions. Those occasions include weddings, funerals, and religious festivals (Robinson 268). Men are much busier than women, so they think. Their widely known occupations are politics, arts and crafts, construction, agriculture, manufacturing and trade. A man's outdoor life is far greater than a woman's. Their primary ways to unwind are horse riding and hunting (Morris 112). I find this unfair, but yet I cannot argue my beliefs.

More than often, only the aristocratic and Spartan boys have a chance to become educated (Wilson 158). It has been said that in the near future all boys of eighteen years of age will have the opportunity to advance in education. I have two younger boys myself and I am very hopeful that they will become educated or even become an equivalent of an aristocrat. Higher levels of education in mathematics, logics, rhetoric, and philosophy are available to the aristocratic society.

My family, along with almost every other Greek family, is very religious people. We enjoy illustrating our arts with scenes of our gods and goddesses. These arts consist primarily of vases that are generally brightly colored and decorated with elaborate designs (Pomeroy 233). If we have the money, I like to use these colors and designs on my clothing. My favorite design for my chiton is stripes, even though the other members of my community disagree with my opinion.

Dinner time is near, and as always, I find myself preparing fish and chickpeas that I look forward to washing down with a glass of wine. After a long day, I have worked up an appetite. Just as I began to take a bite, I am awoken by my growling stomach. I guess I forgot to eat dinner, which is easy to do with a schedule like mine. Since I am already up, I might as well review my notes once more. As far as I can tell, according to my dream, I am well informed of the ancient Greeks. Now, I need to focus on studying the Roman Empire. An hour has gone by and as I am reading intensely, I fall asleep at my desk. As my head lay in the book, it seems as though the words are seeping into my brain.

I am a Roman woman in my early twenties, and I am begging for food on the streets. My husband and I do not have enough money to provide for our family. We live in slum apartment homes (Casson 13). Ahead of me I can see an uprising on the city streets, which are filled with flats and shops all around



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