Gynaeceum


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Gynaeceum

 

(1) In ancient Greece, the women’s half of the rear part of a home, which included sleeping quarters for the masters and quarters for daughters and slave women.

(2) In the late Roman Empire and Byzantium, state or private workshops (primarily weaving shops), where both male and female slaves worked. The silk fabric and parchment gynaecea of Constantinople were famous until the tenth century.

gynaeceum

That part of a Greek house or a church reserved for women.
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According to Constantine, De ceremoniis 44 (35), for the feast of the Annunciation, the emperor, after visiting the skeuophylakion (where relics and vessels were kept, and the Gifts prepared), "passes through the narthex of the gynaeceum where the deaconesses of the Great Church have their customary place.
47) But the gynaeceum is an emphatically Greek architectural feature, articulated, albeit in later sources, as evidence of the peculiarity of Greek domestic building and practice.
51) Vitruvius similarly sees the gynaeceum as a place apart, separate from the spaces of the house that encompass male activities and receive guests.
Even in its long-drawn-out demise, the traditional gynaeceum may have exerted its influence through suggesting to wealthy householders that slavery represented a cost-effective solution to the competitive endeavours of display, entertainments and wearing rich clothes.
Johann Heinrich Feustking Gynaeceum haeretico fanaticum, oder, Historie und Beschreibung der falschen Prophetinnen, Quackerinnen, Schwarmerinnen und andern sectirischen und begeisterten Weibes-Personen, ed.
He concludes his discussion by referring the difficulties to changing economic conditions: "Could Chretien's colorful depiction of a gynaeceum have had any correspondence with reality?
41-67, chapter 2: "Constanza de Castilla and the Gynaeceum of Compassion").