Women in the Classical Era

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Stephen Spradling Oct 22-Dec 15
The Rights of Women

In the Classical era China, India, and Rome all had different views on women’s roles in society. Each society placed them as second class citizens but as you read in each document in “Considering the Evidence” they are each treated a little better. At the bottom is the Chinese culture, they treat their women as objects, as things you should own such as servants. The Indians are who the text explains next. They treat their women a little better; the women are not anywhere treated as equals but had the option of going off on their own and being priestess or beggars. The last of the documents are the Roman culture. The Roman women are not equal either but they are the closest to it. In public they are not to question men but they rule the house at home. In the document on the Romans they protest in the street the law against having jewelry because of the needs of the Empire to fund the war.

“How sad it is to be a woman! Nothing on earth is held so cheap. Boys stand leaning at the door Like Gods fallen out of Heaven.”( Fu Xuan, 263) The Chinese culture held women in the lowest regards while placing all men above the. But in the text “A Chinese Woman’s Instructions to Her Daughters” Ban Zhao was able to have a life of her own without a husband. She was married had children, but then widowed. Even through this she was able to be successful, and become and author to help other women. “Ban Zhao had a significant career as a court historian and as an adviser to the empress- dowager ( the widow of a deceased emperor). Her most famous work, Lessons for Women, was an effort to apply the principles of Confucianism to the lives and behavior of women.” (Waley, 264) Ban Zhao was the few exceptions to this most women were expected to do choirs and housework without complaint and complete obedience. “ Let a woman retire late to bed, but rise early to duties;...
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