It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Women In The Ancient Near East (PDF scholarly book (free!))

page: 1
10

log in

join
share:

posted on Aug, 23 2016 @ 11:37 PM
link   
Although a lot of this material really IS available to Assyriologists and others, finding the stuff is a real headache for students and anyone who is NOT enrolled in a class on the ancient Middle East. Luckily, this is starting to change and one of the nicest new offerings is this 708(!!) page book on the role of women in the Middle East in ancient times (3000 BC an onwards.)

The range of topics is breathtaking -- although I'm reasonably familiar with ancient Egypt, these articles are new to me and there was always something interesting to discover on every page.

We see early signs of inequality -- women were given half the amount of barley that men were given,for instance (even if the woman was pregnant or nursing). We see how they divided the "ages of a man" (or woman) -- suckling infant, a small child, a girl/boy, an older girl/boy and a woman/man. Ever wonder why men's shirts and women's shirts button differently? You can blame the Sumerians -- " Women wore their clothing ‘to the left’, whereas men dressed ‘to the right'" says the text.


The left side was always associated with the woman, and right with the man. A man’s divine guardian accompanied him on the right, and a woman’s on the left
Symbols associated with women are also discussed, which may be of interest to some of you armchair researchers.

It's an interesting read - be aware that it's translated, so the text doesn't always flow as well as if from a native English speaker. What's intriguing here is the great contrast with the way women in the ancient Near East were treated and the way the women in ancient Egypt were treated. Babylonian women are more similar to Roman women or Greek women (or even European medieval women) than they are to the ancient Egyptian women.

Unlike a lot of museum publications, there's not a boatload of pictures here. But the texts are interesting and it's free -- well worth your time to snag a copy of it and read it at your leisure.

Women of the Ancient Near East (PDF)




posted on Aug, 24 2016 @ 12:24 AM
link   
a reply to: Byrd

Thank you.

Download complete. And I haven't even read The Ancient Greek Cults yet!

I'm acquiring quite a pdf library.



posted on Aug, 24 2016 @ 12:38 AM
link   
a reply to: Byrd

Thanks for the link. I've heard a theory that women in very early civilizations had fairly high status and authority (being leaders in religion and agriculture). Then as population size increased, warrior status became more important as land had to be defended and conquered as tribes were forced to expand their territory to meet their needs. As the warrior kings emerged they felt the need to undermine their female political rivals resulting in restrictions of women's rights (reflected in myths and religious texts).

What's your take on that?



posted on Aug, 24 2016 @ 01:36 AM
link   

originally posted by: VP740
a reply to: Byrd

Thanks for the link. I've heard a theory that women in very early civilizations had fairly high status and authority (being leaders in religion and agriculture). Then as population size increased, warrior status became more important as land had to be defended and conquered as tribes were forced to expand their territory to meet their needs. As the warrior kings emerged they felt the need to undermine their female political rivals resulting in restrictions of women's rights (reflected in myths and religious texts).

What's your take on that?


I was around in the 60's when that was popularized as a part of the early feminist movements and early Paganism, and I embraced it wholeheartedly.

Now that I'm older and have had a bunch of history and archaeology classes, I find it questionable. The original evidence was very loosely constructed on just a few artifacts, but there's no difference in skeletal remains or artifacts or burial practices that would suggest women had a high status. It wasn't pleasant to be a woman in the early societies that we know about, with the exception of Egypt and possibly some of the Native American tribes.

Even in primitive modern tribes with limited contact with the outside world, women still get short shrift. Practices vary between cultures, but you see (as with the Polynesians) practices that are disadvantageous to women (certain high value foods, like pork, are taboo and they eat a less nourishing diet of vegetables.) This contributed in part to the high mortality rate of infants and of women of childbearing years.
edit on 24-8-2016 by Byrd because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 24 2016 @ 01:51 AM
link   
a reply to: Byrd

That theory certainly sounded plausible to me, but history isn't usually as straight forward portraied. I guess that theory was somewhat shaped by bias then. Thanks for the reply.



posted on Aug, 24 2016 @ 01:59 AM
link   
a reply to: Byrd
I know many do not consider the Etruscan civilization as "ancient" but there is certainly some evidence that society was fairly egalitarian.

Additionally the Harappans depicted women quite frequently suggesting a greater emphasis than most other cultures.

It is a shame that monotheistic culture conquered everything with time, as the destruction of duality (male female) brought on the inevitable removal of female importance. Thanks a lot, sky father.



posted on Aug, 24 2016 @ 02:09 AM
link   
I don't see how the grain allotment is a sign of inequality.

Even today recommeded calorie intake for men is almost twice that of women and men these days are more sedentary than men from that era who performed manual labor from dusk till dawn.



posted on Aug, 24 2016 @ 10:24 AM
link   

originally posted by: Deny Arrogance
I don't see how the grain allotment is a sign of inequality.

Even today recommeded calorie intake for men is almost twice that of women and men these days are more sedentary than men from that era who performed manual labor from dusk till dawn.


It was a single example in a list of others, including differences in the ability to pick a spouse, the different rules for when divorce could occur, the ability to live alone, etc, etc. In most ancient societies, women were under the control of their families until they married and their husbands after marriage and other relatives after they became widowed.

You might also remember that during pregnancy (an almost constant state back then) and while nursing, women need more calories. The "half-rations" isn't good if you want a healthy child and mother.

(BTW, the difference in calorie needs between males and females is actually smaller than you remember)

There was no such thing as a sedentary lifestyle back then unless you were very wealthy (and the grain allotments mentioned were not for the wealthy) -- men and women worked their own farm plots, butchered animals, and so forth.



posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 05:46 PM
link   
a reply to: Byrd


The man is cheeky and eats salt things.
The woman is cheeky and is dragged through the mud.


Interesting book. Many thanks for posting.





top topics



 
10

log in

join