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Old July 13th, 2011, 06:41 AM   #1

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What ever happened to women status in Mesopotamia and Egypt?


As time went forward, women status decreased in those two civilisations. They had goddesses and queens. And according to Wikipedia here:

Family life

Mesopotamia across its history became more and more a patriarchal society, one in which the men were far more powerful than the women. Thorkild Jacobsen, as well as many others, has suggested that early Mesopotamian society was ruled by a "council of elders" in which men and women were equally represented, but that over time, as the status of women fell, that of men increased. As for schooling, only royal offspring and sons of the rich and professionals, such as scribes, physicians, temple administrators, went to school. Most boys were taught their father's trade or were apprenticed out to learn a trade.[30] Girls had to stay home with their mothers to learn housekeeping and cooking, and to look after the younger children. Some children would help with crushing grain or cleaning birds. Unusual for that time in history, women in Mesopotamia had rights. They could own property and, if they had good reason, get a divorce.

Mesopotamia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Women had power, then it faded away.

Why?
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Old July 13th, 2011, 12:41 PM   #2

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I don't know how much evidence there is for the high status of women in early Mesopotamia. There certainly were upper class women who were educated - the first named author in history was a woman, Enheduanna,daughter of Sargon the Great, the high priestess of the Moon God, Nanna, who wrote poetry, including hymns in praise of the goddess Inanna.

And lower down the social scale there were probably some girls who had to work, whether they liked it or not. There are representations of women as well as men engaged in agricultural labour - probably, as in medieval Europe, women worked on the family farms. The majority of people would probably have been agricultural labourers rather than tradesmen. And there were probably women who engaged in crafts, like in Egypt for instance women were weavers and wig-makers. Probaby women worked in domestic service, in catering, as children's nurses, and as midwives, as they did in Egypt and other ancient societies.

Whether women in general ever had much power though is, I should think, doubtful. The majority of men probably didn't have much power either.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 02:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Satuf View Post
What ever happened to women status in Mesopotamia and Egypt?
Joseph Campbell postulated the theory that when the change in management which brought herders into power, superseding the planting cultures which preceded them, the notion of "god" changed from a female form to a male form.

Agrarian people had female gods, hunters and herders had male gods.
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Old September 3rd, 2011, 11:33 AM   #4

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In Mesopotamia women had at some point rights, in Egypt they were never considered equal to men
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