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 11.3%
  • Greece

    Votes: 11 11.3%
  • Celtica

    Votes: 13 13.4%
  • Germanic world

    Votes: 4 4.1%
  • China

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Egypt

    Votes: 18 18.6%
  • Sumer

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Native America

    Votes: 12 12.4%
  • India

    Votes: 4 4.1%
  • Other - please elicit

    Votes: 21 21.6%

  • Total voters
    97
Aug 2014
3,309
Australia
#81
So the graves of approximately 20% of warriors buried with armor and weapons being female isn't evidence? Admittedly, some are likely Sarmation rather than Scythian, but with the way the ancients used terminology it's pretty much the same thing.
This is hardly proof of equality. It only suggests that some women participated in warfare. There were plenty of other aspects of their society in which men dominated. There were no ancient societies in which women were "on par" with men. There are none today either, though we are getting closer.

Sparta wasn't even close. Women had no voting rights and were forbidden to sit in the gerousia.
 
Last edited:

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
4,856
Canary Islands-Spain
#82
It would be Scythian-Sarmatians, where warrior women were true and enjoyed independence and power.

Other, it would be Celtic or Germanic people, both of them had women in a more important role than Romans and Greeks (excepting Sparta). I think the Germanic women enjoyed a bit better position than those Celtics
 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#84
It would be Scythian-Sarmatians, where warrior women were true and enjoyed independence and power.

Other, it would be Celtic or Germanic people, both of them had women in a more important role than Romans and Greeks (excepting Sparta). I think the Germanic women enjoyed a bit better position than those Celtics
Weren't most of the Celts fiercely homosexual and living lives largely separated from the women? I'm pretty sure numerous Greek and Roman sources attested to that. Cultures like that usually aren't pro-female empowerment.
 
Jun 2014
1,221
VA
#85
I don't see where it specifically says there aren't any female warriors. Doesn't give much details about the warriors at all. Whatever.
It was a battle that happened while Dio was alive, if something as strange (to the Roman mind that is) as a coed military had existed among the people in question he would have known about it and it would be in his work.

Ovid didn't say much about the local women but mentions them doing the water carrying (like Greek or Roman women) and cooking (again like Greek and Roman women). If women were equals in the society there should be a great deal about it in a set of letters Ovid sent in order to build up sympathy for himself in exile because that would have been a major culture clash.
 
Jun 2014
1,221
VA
#86
Weren't most of the Celts fiercely homosexual and living lives largely separated from the women? I'm pretty sure numerous Greek and Roman sources attested to that. Cultures like that usually aren't pro-female empowerment.
Well Hellenistic Greeks had women as queens ruling nations, as did medieval Europe, and the Manchus in China at the end.

A few important posts being held by women doesn't equate to them having a higher place in society.

One important point about Celtic Women

Ancient Celtic women - Wikipedia

Adultery by the wife, unlike adultery by the husband, could not be atoned for with a fine. A divorce in the case of adultery could only occur with the agreement of both parties and the wife was not permitted to seek one so long as her husband maintained intimate relations with her. If she was pregnant with her husband's child, she could not have intercourse with other men before the birth of the child, even if thrown out by him. These rules were binding for Celtic noblewomen, but they may have been less strictly binding on the lower classes.[44] In Wales, the wife was allowed to leave her husband if he committed adultery three times, if he was impotent and if he had bad halitosis taking with her the property which she had brought into the marriage or acquired during it. A rape had to be atoned for by the culprit by handing over the sort of gifts customarily given at a wedding and paying a fine, since it was considered a form of "temporary" marital tie.[47]

That is significantly less freedom than a Roman woman who could divorce her husband without a reason needed.

I'm not stating this as barbarian bashing just myth busting.
 
Apr 2018
355
Upland, Sweden
#87
Isn't ancient Minoan civilization, at least before the 1400s, often thought to be what historians most closely consider a matriarchy?

The vast majority of all figurative art represents women, there are no unambigious depictions of traditionally masculine rulers, and generally the themes in art and archaeology seem to focus a lot more on traditional symbols of fertility (agriculture etc.) than violence. What evidence of violence exists seems to be strangely ritualistic in character (i.e. some thoughts of human sacrifice, slaughter of bulls etc.) and then taking place with "weapons" incrdibly unpractical for warfare (double axes).

I think calling it a matriarchy is a bit of a stretch, but a solid case could be made that it was a very... strange society, perhaps where women priests had the final say and other, more commonly "patriarchal" social stresses (i.e. external threats) were for a long time absent because of Crete's Island nature.

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Otherwise I would like to argue for ancient Germanic women, and Scandinavian women in particular. Generally Roman law had a somewhat more clearly defined (to the household) view of women than Germanic customary law, at least that is my take on it.
 
Dec 2017
149
Regnum Teutonicum
#88
I don't know how it was with all of them, but of those mentioned I would say:

1. Egypt
2. Germanic world and celtic world
4. Native America (though I think the group is to big, but peoples like the Iroquis, were women could decide to start a war, earns the group this high spot on the list)

Overall I voted other, because of Kush (see, e.g. Amanirenas). Also the Scythians come to mind.
 
Jan 2015
3,234
Australia
#89
I assume from the lack of comments people here just don't know much about Japan's history. To be sure, women in Japan were inferior, a trend that continues today to a worrying degree. However, women from the nobility were incredibly important during the period in Japan where Samurai ruled (which to be fair, was more medieval than ancient, but then Native America, etc are featured on this list). Now, the Samurai class was only about 7-10% of the populace, and the rights of regular women weren't nearly as strong (though the rights of everyone were weak compared to Samurai, so comparatively maybe they were, we can't be sure). However, if you were a women and part of the Samurai class you could:
- inherit property equally with men
- own and manage your own finances, etc. In fact, in most households it was the accomplished Samurai wife who ran the finances (because money was beneath the contempt of a Samurai, and they could not openly concern themselves with such things; even if some of them were secretly more practical).
- Women could wield weapons, etc, and if trained would often defend the home in battle.
- More importantly, a Samurai of either gender was basically sacrosanct for anyone of a non-Samurai class. If they felt like killing you for some reason (or no reason), they could. No commoner would ever dare raise their hands to a female Samurai.

It's all very complex though. Because of the death cult type mindset cultivated among the Samurai during the warring centuries, Samurai of either gender were ready to die at any time (many desired to), but required the permission of their master in most circumstances. Everyone had a master, except the Shogun (if there was one at the time), and so Samurai had no rights (and in theory wanted none) against their master, but all rights over people of a lower class. Samurai didn't even technically own land. Peasants owned land. They simply had different fiefs of land under their control, and set the taxes and tithes, etc, that were owed to them by peasants for their protection. But women could and did hold powerful roles in Japanese society. Forcing them into marriage, or other dishonorable orders, was also difficult; as they might threaten to (or actually) commit suicide, a threat which was serious. Samurai women's consent, on some level, was very important to politics and everyday life.
 
Likes: MagnusStultus

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