Women in Ancient Times
In Egypt, women were treated with fairness and reverence. They had more civil liberties than in any other earliest civilization expect for ancient Celts. According to the research, ancient time was a worthy time to live for Egyptian women. There was egalitarianism for women and it gave them elementary rights that today’s social order lacks.
An Egyptian woman had property rights and she acquired proprietorship and real property in numerous ways. Most habitually, she received property through buying, as gifts or inheritance from her parents or husband. A woman had a right to one-third of the entire communal property during her matrimony as per Egyptian property law. If a woman took her private property into the marriage, it mostly remained hers, but her husband had a right to utilize it. Conversely, in the event of divorce her property had to be returned to her. Similarly, a wife was supposed to inherit one-third of the community property once her husband had passed on. The other two-thirds were distributed among children and then sisters and brothers of the deceased (Cole & Symes, 2013).
Legally, whether a woman was married or not, she had a privilege to inherit, buy, and sell property. It did not exclude slaves. Prominently, it provided protection to women who were married, divorced, separated, abandoned, and not married. Also, it ensured security of their children. Women could make a will and ostensibly leave their property to whomever they wished, even by passing their children.
Egyptian women had legitimate rights that legalized them to bring lawsuits in contradiction to anyone in an open law court. Many women succeeded in their suits and there was no gender-based prejudgment against females. For example, the court prepared a subsequent resolution in the Inscription of Mes, a secluded land dispute in New Kingdom. Women could prosper material goods and they could become a successor to trusteeship of belongings. Also, women could establish a lawsuit. Likewise, women approved lawful conclusions and they could act as eyewitnesses before a court of law.
“Egyptian women were allowed to labor in the grounds and plantation factories. The high and middle-class woman was restricted to work at household and the family. It was as a result of her starring role as a wife and a mother. Rarely; women could embrace masculine managerial positions in Egypt. Though it seemed as exclusions to the tradition” (Watterson, 2013).
In Egypt, women acted as leaders, for example, dowager queens, regents, or usurpers of legitimate inheritors who were either their step-sons or nephews. Women functioned as middle-class domestic helpers, handmaids, and all types of qualified workers inside a household and in estate workshops. They were also national heroines, for example, Queen Ahhotep of the Eighteenth Dynasty. She was celebrated for saving Egypt during the wars of liberation against the Hyksos. She rallied the Egyptian troops and crushed rebellion in Upper Egypt at a depreciative crossroad of Egyptian history. Extraordinarily, she received Egypt’s modest armed forces medal leastwise three times, which was called the Order of the Fly. Queen Hatshepsut was the ruling king in Nubia. The Egyptian society allowed women uniquely to enjoy the same legal and economic rights as Egyptian men. In the ancient times, one and the same social class was dominant.
In ancient Egypt, the powerful goddess Isis was given credit for instituting marriage to assist men in settling down. There were two kinds of marriage: one formalized by a marriage contract and non-contractual marriage. A girl in ancient Egypt was as a rule married shortly after beginning her menarche. A dowry and a bridal gift were presented. It indicated high respect and esteem given to women. Young people had the right to orchestrate their marriages even if in most cases it was done by their parents. “Nearly all marriages were monogamous” (Robins, 1993). The couple was allowed to divorce under the following circumstances: workaholic husband, adultery of either spouse, or mutual incompatibility. Sometimes, barren women were divorced even though the society was not for it. Spousal relationship was the innate state for people of all classes. There was no legal or religious ceremony establishing the union. Wedlock was an understanding of two persons and their households, so that they would live unitedly (hms irm), develop a home (grg pr), and have a family.
In Greece, were are to a large extent creatures who were invented by men. They were obliged to live by men’s rules. Men viewed women partially. Greece was a male-dominated society. Subordination of women was commonly practiced without fear. Women in Ancient Greece were to be encountered only in asides, inferences, or vague generalizations. They were denied a public voice and they were not recognized.
In Greece, a family was made up of a husband, a wife, unmarried children, married sons, their wives, and children. Inheritance was patrilineal; when a man passed, on his land was divided equally between any sons who survived him. If the family did not have any son, the property passed to more distant relatives. A daughter did not inherit property even when she had no brothers. The ancient Greek society was a patriarchal system. The head of the home was always a man (kyrios) and wife and children came under his guardianship. After the son came of age, this guardianship lapsed, but a girl spent the entire life under legal control of a male guardian. “Marriages were arranged by the prospective groom and potential bride’s guardian. Mostly, the wife went to live with her husband’s family. Men preferred marrying women from other communities with different social classes for political importance. Marriage arrangements frequently involved a transfer of property. The gifts were given by the groom to the bride’s father when a marriage agreed. Greece marriage was an institution that established a relationship, not so much between a woman and a man as between a father-in-law and a son-in-law. Marriages were arranged by the parents” (Blundell, 1995).
Greek women had the right to carry on marketable enterprise, make credits, and manumit slaves with the authorization of their guardians. People preferred sons over daughters. Women were not legalized to establish legal proceedings; the kyrios could do that for them. They had limited rights to ownership of property. In most cases, they could secure property through inheritance, as well as gifts or dowry. In connection to citizenship, female slaves were not eligible to full citizenship in ancient Athens.
Persian women enjoyed a level of gender equality. In many ancient Persian cities, the army had female commanders in order to ensure loyalty. Women in Persia were treasured beings: they often had important positions in state branches, organizations, army, law courts, and other authorized organizations. For instance, Pantea Arteshbod was one of the highest Persian commanders during the reign of Cyrus the Great (559-529 B.C). She sustained regulation and command in Babylonia after the downfall of the Neo-Babylonian Territory in 547 B.C. by Cyrus the Great. Federalism, equivalent rights, and liberty of speech certified women to feel appreciated and perform exceedingly in their work. Persian women held the highest rank in the society and were well-preserved as goddesses before establishment of the murky and malignant Arab dogma of Islam in Persia.
In Persia, marriages with adjacent blood relatives, even brothers and sisters, were practiced predominantly when inheritance was an issue. In such systems, daughters got a big inheritance so as to sustain family’s affluence. Families were male-controlled; polygamy and concubines existed. Assorted matrimonies amongst Persian and non-Persians also existed. Women’s dowry included land parcel, utensils, ornaments, houses, and servants. Marriage contracts were sealed in the attendance of many observers named in the contract. If a husband decided to espouse a second wife, he would give the first wife a quantified sum of money and she could decide to return to her family.
As stated by Altker (1956):
Women had rights to own, lease, or sell property. If the companion passed on, he could accede to the possessions in case she did not have children. In case the husband had two significant others, the children of the first wife could inherit two-thirds and the other children one-third only. If a woman died childless, the wedding gift was returned to the house of her father. A woman could not act as a witness in the drawing up of contracts, but she could act as contracting the party and have her seal.
During the matriarchal period, women were mandated with duties of governing, adjudicating, directing family matters, dispensing food, attires, and all other requirements of life. Such feminine predominance, known as matriarchy, affected the later Aryan societies. Women held places of monetary and communal leadership. Women were extremely appreciated and treasured. During the Median era, females controlled stations of ethnic control and of judgeship.
In conclusion, women in Egypt, Greece, and Persia were depicted as beings with different rights, privileges, obligations, powers, and responsibilities. The custom and the society affected their role in communal leadership, courtship, marriage, and economic activities, which is obvious from the above discussion.