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Hellenistic Women Sarah Freeze 8 March 2088 From Alexander to Cleopatra Dr.Rose
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The Hellenistic period began with the conquest of Alexander and ended with the reign of Cleopatra. The transition from male to a female ruler was just one of the many gender transitions that would occur during the period. In Ptolemaic Egypt, this change in gender equality was highly apparent. Although debated, many sources from Athens and other Hellenistic Kingdoms point to a more equal and thus freer role for women within Ptolemaic Egypt. Beginning with Royal women solely being within the sphere of men’s work within the palace and filtering down into the masses and the institution of marriage, women in Ptolemaic Egypt were freer than women in Classical Greece as well as those within other Hellenistic Kingdoms. The new found freedom of Hellenistic royal women, and eventually lower class women, began with their Macedonian counterparts. Many of the queens of Alexander the Great and his father Philip II were of different lands and cultures, some that allowed women warriors and therefore many different definitions of women’s role in society. Women were found buried with objects of war, including spear and arrow heads, and were found thus found on the battlefield; an area that was solely male in other cultures. With war and conquest sweeping the nation, women would now be allowed to come and go since the nation was in a period of rapid transition. i This allowed for documentation of these women’s movements and thus allowed women of the Hellenistic period to develop a sense of freedom and rite due to their past counter parts in Macedon. The role of royal women in the Hellenistic period has never been a clearly defined role. However, there are differences between Ptolemaic queens and those of the same period that allow historians to conclude that these women were given more liberties than their peers in the other Hellenistic kingdoms and predecessors. These women had a great deal of wealth which was inherited from their husbands such as Lysimachus bestowing Arisnoe , daughter of Ptolemy
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I, with most of his wealth due to his age. Some royal women even owned land, a valuable commodity that was rare to be found in the possession of women. More surprisingly, these women had control over their wealth and other assets. Gifts to gods and sanctuaries were the most common ways to spend this wealth but this was also not uncommon for kings of the period as well. However, the creation of dowries for poor lower class women was a unique creation of these Hellenistic queens. One example would be Laodice II establishing a foundation at Iasus to provide dowries for the daughters of the poor. Royal revenue, created by the farming of grain on royal land, was used for this project. Money under the control of these queens could also be used to buy an army. For example, after the death of her husband, Arsinoe II hired mercenaries to do her bidding to ensure the throne for herself and her sons. These privileges are in stark contrast
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paper - Hellenistic Women Sarah Freeze 8 March 2088 From...

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