Raising children

My sister and I grew up together in the women’s apartments, the gynaeconitis, until I was seven years old and started spending the day with the men of the house, in the andronitis. Our upbringing -and especially our daily activities- are now completely different.

Feeding bottle, 430-425 BC

Daily activities of women

While my friends and I go to school, work out in the palaestra (wrestling school) and train to become Athenian citizens, my sister, like all girls, is learning that her destiny is to marry, have children and run the household. That is why our mother makes sure that she teaches her everything about housework, how to spin, weave, cook and manage the finances.

Miniature of an Attic clay calathus (basket), 550-525 BC.


My first toy

One of the first games played by babies in antiquity was “plataggi”, a clay rattle. The rattle has the form of a cradle with a baby lying on it and inside it has pebbles or lumps of clay to produce sound. The sound produced by shaking the rattle was intended to entertain the infants and arouse their interest, while at the same time it had a deterrent effect, as it was believed to ward off evil spirits that lurked around the babies’ cradle.

Clay rattle in the shape of an infant lying on a bed. 3rd century BC.


  • Amphidromia: Cleansing ceremony performed after the birth of a child.
  • Gynaeconitis: The part of the house where the women lived.
  • Andronitis: The part of the house where the men lived.
  • Thelastron: Feeding vessel, used to feed milk to babies in ancient Greece.
  • Platagi: A baby rattle in ancient Greece.


  • What was your first toy? Can you describe it?
  • Create your own toy, using clay and other materials.