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Secondary Source Analysis - Danny Clark History 101...

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Danny Clark History 101 September 19, 2010 Jennifer Westerfeld “Women in the Sumerian Economy” Whether or not women played a part in Sumerian society’s economy is not the question at hand, but rather or not women actually played an equal part in that society as did the men. Marc Van De Mieroop has done a superb job in explaining what the role of women was in Sumerian economic culture. Although many women played at least a subtle role in the economy of Sumer, only a select few were granted the same rights, roles, and privileges as men were. De Mieroop claims that “certain women apart from royal women were active in the economic life of their cities. (63)” He also goes on to claim that women were “not only active in the administration in Sumer, but they also formed a large part of the labor force. (63)” This just goes to show that women not only did little things around the house as compared to most ancient civilizations, but the women were in some cases, given administrative roles and jobs even. De Mieroop goes about proving his claim with picture upon picture of countless situations he has discovered in the Sumerian economy, through text upon text. He states multiple times that women were allowed to legally buy land, and in some cases controlled a large part of the house’s agriculture. (54) He also says that in some cases, the ruler’s wife ruled him, and controlled the household. (55) To further his argument he says that “while the husband
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specialized in animal-husbandry, the wife Ama-e owned large areas of land. (56)” In contrast to all of these points, he brings some highly controversial facts up. One in particular is found on page 57 and explains how women and men of that time period and in the Sumerian and Akkadian cultures were given the same name, so therefore, trying to distinguish men and women has turned out to be almost more trouble than it’s worth.
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