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Unformatted text preview: WSTU 001.80/HIST 42 Womens Reproductive Power in Ancient Civilization Looking back on the history of western civilization one might come to the conclusion that culture has long been dominated by men and mans stereotypical values. These values-competition, domination, violence, and power-are seemingly omnipresent and ones typical history class is full of lectures about war, battles, conquests, and the struggles men faced for power and dominion. Throughout history men have fought and the blade has been a male symbol of war, glorification of the ability to take life, hierarchy, and male dominance through conquest-both of civilizations and of women. Womens ability to give birth gradually became controlled-both symbolically and legally-by male authorities. Attitudes towards women drastically changed due to a shift from a partnership model society to a more dominating, termed patriarchal or matriarchal, society. Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome are two examples of societies that differed in attitudes towards women and womens reproductive power. From the sacredness and importance of womans fertility in Ancient Egypt to the power women held in Ancient Rome, womens 1 reproductive rights and place in society underwent serious changes. The new belief system in Rome changed the definition of a woman within the limits of the antique gender system that classified them only in relation to men as daughters, wives, and mothers (McNamara in Bridenthal, 77). It would be foolish to postulate masculine dominance in prehistory as to postulate female dominance (Pomeroy, 15). However, today there is evidence that there used to be a time in early human history when the feminine principles of inclusion, partnership, and harmony between the sexes governed human affairs. There was a time of matrifocal societies, in which women were acknowledged as important to culture and the miracle of birth was reflected and observed in nature, religion, and architecture. Using a variety of archaeological studies, Riane Eisler, author of and architecture....
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- Fall '07