Women in the Classical Era, Women in the Classical Era

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  • 1.Women in the Classical Era
  • 2.Women in the Classical Era Paleolithic and Mesolithic gender roles Hunter-gatherer egalitarianism- What changes the balance of power? Necessity of childcare- Increased value of physical strength—farm work is hard work Increased danger of violence as nomadic people began to infringe on farm land Development of towns and cities that need defending leads to elite warrior classes
  • 3.Women in the Classical Era Some equality persists for a while- Egyptian farming villages show some shared labor still What can you infer from the Egyptian harvest picture showing both husband and wife working the field?
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  • 5.What has changed in these two pictures?
  • 6.What has changed in these two pictures?
  • 7.Women in the Classical Era Some equality persists for a while- A daughter of King Thutmose I, Hatshepsut became queen of Egypt when she married her half-brother, Thutmose II, around the age of 12. Upon his death, she began acting as regent for her stepson, the infant Thutmose III, but later took on the full powers of a pharaoh, becoming co-ruler of Egypt around 1473 B.C.
  • 8.Women in the Classical Era Some equality persists for a while- How did Hatshepsut become “pharaoh” of Egypt? How is she portrayed in this picture?
  • 9.Women in the Classical Era “Instructing a woman is like holding a sack of sand whose sides have split open.”- Ankhsheshong, scribe. Late Period Ancient Egypt Innana (Istar) Goddess of Sumeria/Akkadia Do you think that having female goddesses would have made men more accepting of female rights and status? What aspect of Divinity (godhood) did the Mesopotamians ascribe to their female goddess Innana (Istar)?
  • 10.““Neither wives of lords, nor widows, nor Assyrian women who go out on the street, may have their heads uncovered.....when they go out on the street alone, they must veil themselves.”- Middle Assyrian Law, 1383-1000 B.C.E.
  • 11.Women in the Classical Era “The deadly female race and tribe of wives who live with mortal men bring them harm....women are bad for men, and they conspire in wrong, and Zeus the Thunderer made it so.”- Hesoid, Greek poet, 8th century B.C.E. A proper wife should be as obedient as a slave...The female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities - a natural defectiveness.”- Aristotle “Women, even though they are of full age, because of their levity of mind shall be under guardianship.”- The Twelve Tables, Rome, 450 B.C.E.
  • 12.Women in the Classical Era “A woman...cultivates the skills required in the women’s quarters and has no ambition to manage affairs outside the house...She must follow the ‘three submissions.’ When she is young, she must submit to her parents. After her marriage, she must submit to her husband. When she is widowed, she must submit to her son.”- “The Mother of Mencius,” Warring States, 475-221 B.C.E, China
  • 13.Women in the Classical Era Women with bound feet—because small feet are beautiful, and a wealthy man’s wife doesn’t ever need to go anywhere…
  • 14.Women in the Classical Era Why do you think women in China accepted foot binding if it was as painful as it looks (and it was)?
  • 15.India: The slow decline of women’s status in Ancient India The Vedic Period (before Mauryan Empire, the time of the development of Hinduism) Women have property rights, are often educated if family is wealthy/ high status There are even women Brahmayana (teachers) Ashoka (Mauryan Empire) appoints his daughter a Buddhist priest Hinduism’s sutras (the teachings) place women in extremely powerless status Women become property of the husband A women’s place is at home
  • 16.India: Kali Maa…
  • 17.Women in the Classical Era Kama Sutra Excerpts from “About the Kinds of Woman” (approximately 100 C.E.) When Kama is practiced by men of the four castes according to the rules of the Holy Writ (i.e., by lawful marriage) with virgins of their own caste, it then becomes a means of acquiring lawful progeny and good fame, and it is not also opposed to the customs of the world. On the contrary the practice of Kama with women of the higher castes, and with those previously enjoyed by others, even though they be of the same caste, is prohibited. But the practice of Kama with women of the lower castes, with women excommunicated from their own caste, with public women, and with women twice married, is neither enjoined nor prohibited. The object of practicing Kama with such women is pleasure only… For these and similar other reasons the wives of other men may be resorted to, but it must be distinctly understood that is only allowed for special reasons, and not for mere carnal desire. I shall gain the object of some friend of mine, or effect the ruin of some enemy, or accomplish some other difficult purpose…. By being united with this woman I shall kill her husband, and so obtain his vast riches which I covet… By the help of this woman I shall kill an enemy of the king,
  • 18.Women in the Classical Era Kama Sutra: The proper relationships of a higher caste man to women…what attitudes and behaviors are held to be acceptable? What does this text suggest about women’s ability to operate independently? Could women manipulate these rules to achieve their own aims? What can you surmise about the values and biases of the author or translator through reading this text? Can you differentiate between author and translator?
  • 19.Women in the Classical Era What were the expectations for women in Classical China, India and Rome? How did those roles limit women? How did these cultures differ in their view of women? How were they alike? What prevented women from effectively protesting their gradual loss of status?