Empowering Ancient Women
Empowering Ancient Women Journal for Latin 3 4/18/2007
What I Learned
Not all traditions towards women in the ancient world were negative. Women were honored and glorified in certain roles. Women like Cleopatra and Boudica have risen to roles unattainable by even most men.
Often women were honored as goddesses among gods. The Greeks and Romans had a pretty even number of gods and goddesses. However, some women even had roles above men in folklore. There were fates which spun and wove the lives of men, both mortal and immortal.
The female gods were often associated with luck, fertility, the moon, rhythms and the Earth (Mother Earth). These were assigned because of women’s special characteristics like the menstrual cycle.
A few women were warriors; however they seemed few and far between. However the Amazon’s seemed to have many females in the army.
Some women also used their intelligence and dynastic connections to become rulers of countries. However they always ruled through a male relative, like in once case, a three year old. Cleopatra is a famous example of how she rose to power by using her special skills.
Women in some time periods were allowed to inherit wealth. When they were able to they were able to buy an education for themselves. However, if any male relative survived, the property went to him in most cases.
Some educated women achieved positions which were typically reserved for men such as being doctors, artists, and poets. However they were often persecuted, especially y the Christian church.
Much of women’s positions in the ancient world comes from their relationships with men. Men were so connected (literally) to women that women were able to “coerce” men to broadening their role. Cleopatra is the perfect example. Also the fact that the “fates” could control men comes from the cunningness women used on men to control them when men came after them to have sex. Women were still defined within their roles in the context of men.
The part about inheritance shows how money always talks, no matter what. It did in the ancient world and it does today. Whoever controls the finances controls much.
I like the part where a three year old was ruling a country. Well it was Cleopatra who was actually ruling, but it’s still funny that a three year old was the official ruler of the country.