In which ancient civilization were women most on a par with men?

Women were most on par with men in:

  • Slavic realm

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Rome

    Votes: 11 11.2%
  • Greece

    Votes: 12 12.2%
  • Celtica

    Votes: 13 13.3%
  • Germanic world

    Votes: 4 4.1%
  • China

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Egypt

    Votes: 18 18.4%
  • Sumer

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Native America

    Votes: 12 12.2%
  • India

    Votes: 4 4.1%
  • Other - please elicit

    Votes: 21 21.4%

  • Total voters
    98

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,554
#62
Judging by archaeology, it looks like Etruscan women had more esteemed roles in society than any contemporary societies. Before them it would have been the Minoan Cretean women.

I am voting Romans on what is available on the list simply because we have many more examples of women depicted in their arts that aren't simply just Goddesses or Royalty. A lot of this was culture transmitted from Etruscan society too.
 

Otranto

Ad Honorem
May 2013
2,083
Netherlands
#63
I would say Roman women of the republic, but besides Greece and Egypt I do not know anything about the other civilizations on the list. Roman matronas were expected to follow the virtue of verecundia, that is modesty, reverence, love of poverty, but, from reading Valerius Maximus, restrictions were not overbearing, and more or less self-imposed. If you were a freeborn woman, the Roman republic would not be that bad.
 
Oct 2018
1
Buenos Aires, Argentina
#64
Siempre que la cultura haya conservado principios arcaizantes en su razonamiento de la realidad, principalmente por el culto a deidades en ambos géneros como Inanna y Samash (Sol y Luna) como hermanos o consortes Nanna y Nut, etc., Estamos en presencia de comunidades donde la mujer era un par al hombre, incluso los niños con los adultos.
Se destacan los fenicios, egipcios y me atrevo a decir que los celtas, caso especial de la etnia Kushán (China) en Bactria Gandhara, que se replicará en culturas nórdicas como la islandesa, donde el matricarcado resurge y se afianza. Hay comunidades en Sri Lanka de la India que atestiguan el matricarcado en la India antes del Islam o influencia musulmana.
Cuando se habla de materlinaje o matricarcado se dice en consecuencia: igualitario.
Debe revisarse sobre el lenguaje o pronto lenguas cuándo separaron la divinidad femenina de nuestro acervo y conciencia colectiva, esa episteme escindió el poder igualitario de la sociedad, podría estar íntimamente ligado a la creación de clases sociales en Grecia y al ocultamiento de La Diosa Madre respecto de la religión, desnaturalizandola en el patriarcado.
 
Oct 2013
5,049
Planet Nine, Oregon
#65
Egypt. There was even Hatsepshut who became pharaoh (albeit with a false beard). Iiirc, women could initiate divorce, received half of the goods. They had very important female goddesses, too. Women could also run businesses. Cleopatra was respected as a scholar and physician.
 
Jan 2016
529
United States, MO
#67
Umm... the obvious answer is Scythia were it was completely acceptable for women to serve in combat roles and hold large amounts of political power and their society was pretty much egalitarian.
Yes, I was going to say Mongolia, but steppe societies in general possessed a few features that made things more equal. In Mongolian society during the time of the conquests. Men primarily did three tasks. Serve as soldiers, go hunting, and milk horses. Everything else in the entire society was left to women. Women completely ran the camps. The lead female had a large group of guards at her disposal and many of them had their own personal merchants to go trade for things. Even when the men were home, the women were expected to run everything in the camp.

Women also had strong ties to the military. They all learned to ride and shoot and sometimes served as soldiers. Generals and emperors would ask their wives for political and battlefield advice. Sometimes women commanded their own armies. Women always controlled the logistics camp of mongol armies. The military camp was just considered to be another version of the home camp. For example the Khan would leave his main wife in the home camp and take his next highest wife to run the military base as it moved about. I don't think other societies offered this much freedom and power.
 
Feb 2017
419
Rock Hill, South Carolina
#68
Yes, I was going to say Mongolia, but steppe societies in general possessed a few features that made things more equal. In Mongolian society during the time of the conquests. Men primarily did three tasks. Serve as soldiers, go hunting, and milk horses. Everything else in the entire society was left to women. Women completely ran the camps. The lead female had a large group of guards at her disposal and many of them had their own personal merchants to go trade for things. Even when the men were home, the women were expected to run everything in the camp.

Women also had strong ties to the military. They all learned to ride and shoot and sometimes served as soldiers. Generals and emperors would ask their wives for political and battlefield advice. Sometimes women commanded their own armies. Women always controlled the logistics camp of mongol armies. The military camp was just considered to be another version of the home camp. For example the Khan would leave his main wife in the home camp and take his next highest wife to run the military base as it moved about. I don't think other societies offered this much freedom and power.
Do you have sources for this? Because I've not seen any evidence for continued military service for women in steppe society after the mid-3rd century AD. It disappears archaeologically in the late Sarmatian period and literary evidence after that is... sketchy at best.
 
Jan 2016
529
United States, MO
#69
Some of this is from a recently published book by University of Massachusetts Professor Anne F. Broadbridge titled Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire.

There are also other studies such as Bruno De Cola, "Women's Role and Participation in Warfare in the Mongol Empire," in Soldatinnen: Gewalt und Geschlecht im Krieg vom Mittelalter bis huete (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2010.)

If you want examples of women in combat than just look to the Liao Empress Yingtian who was a Khitan named Shulü Ping.

太祖嘗渡磧擊黨項,黃頭、臭泊二室韋乘虛襲之;後知,勒兵以待,奮擊,大破之

"When Emperor Taizu crossed the sands to attack the Dangxiang (Tanguts), Two Shiwei tribes, Huangtou and Choupo, took advantage of [the emperor's] vacancy and invaded. When the empress knew of this, she reigned in the troops for an ambush. Effort was spent attacking, and the enemy was broken badly.“

Another Liao Empress Chengtian also commanded troops. And, other notable women commanders include Yang Miaozhen and Kublai Khan's niece Kutulun is recorded by Marco Polo as frequently accompanying him to the battlefield and at times dispatched with her own smaller force during battles.
 
Jan 2015
3,293
Australia
#70
Ironically, medieval Japan is a contender. It's a strikingly mysoginistic society even today, yet women of the upper classes (and that was quite a few of them) had pretty high status. Women were Samurai just as men... ok, not quite "just as men", but in theory they were, and any Samurai could kill anyone of a lower class for any reason or no reason.
 

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