Women's Role in the Bronze Age

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What does the evidence reveal about the role of women in the late bronze age? The Late Bronze Age is filled with women who took their functions within the home and turned them into positions of power and wisdom, making their husbands and masters comprehend their importance. The role of women in the Late Bronze Age can be studied by reviewing how women are portrayed in art, literature and artefacts that archaeologists have found. By studying these evidence, archaeologists are able to depict the role of women in the Late Bronze Age. In Athens, there were three classes of women: slave women, who were the property of the household and performed menial tasks and childcare, citizen women, who owned the slaves and ran the households, and the hetaerae, courtesans, sophisticated companions and prostitutes. The archaeological record of the Late Bronze Age is spotty at the best of times but sites in ancient Mycenae suggest that several Bronze Age cultures had centres of female power in all of the public sphere, both the religious and political. We can see within the works of Homer where even though Helen is “abducted” from Sparta, the battle Menelaus and Paris fight is for Helen and her possessions, which within the original Greek also suggests her position as Queen, meaning that she is not Queen by the virtue of being the wife of Menelaus, but she is queen within her own right. Helen was also described as an aristocrat, wealthy and at the centre of power. She was feared and honoured in Mycenaean society. She was someone who walked hand in hand with spirits, deities and demons. Also, in Greek tragedies Helen was portrayed as manipulative or destructive. Helen is a great women who threw away the traditional roles of women in society and made a difference in the way people perceived women. Women obtained power only when they became the wife of an influential citizen or could obtain some influence by their relation to a man. They were restricted in their activities to mainly...
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