The Role of Women in History

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Andrew Makarian
History 105 - 1002
Essay 2

In the history of western civilization were there any significant changes in the roles of women and in how these were defined?

Women: cant live with them. Cant live without them. An old adage that pokes fun, yet is telling in its statement about how men view women. This sense of incompatibility curtails the differential roles men and women have played throughout history. The separation of sexes into distinct roles has inherently made them unequal. In today’s modern society, these deviations have been lessoned, but throughout the course of western development the roles of women have be markedly transformed. Looking back, three distinct points in time mark a transitional shift in female roles: the Code of Hammurabi, Spartan society, and the renaissance revival in education. Beginning in the ancient near east, the earliest accounts of women in society come to us from the Code of Hammurabi. Used as a guideline for society, the code candidly depicts daily life in ancient Babylon, defining among many things the roles of men and women. From the very beginning, the code depicts a very imbalanced view on gender roles; nearly every line in the code begins with “if a man…” making it painfully clear this code was written for men. The laws did not give credence to women unless addressed under a man: “if a man’s wife has a finger pointed at her on account of another, but has not been caught lying with him, for her husband’s sake she shall plunge into the sacred river (Beatty, 10).” women are cited inferior to men in their importance, but also their opinion has no real value in social determinations. This subservient role promises no power in ancient society, women found identity through the man they where with. If for any reason ”she has not been discrete, has gone out, ruined her house, littered her husband, she shall be drowned (Beatty, 10).” There is absolutely no room for individualism. Women in ancient times where...
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