Ancient history looks like a mystery, a chamber of secrets. Whenever we try to look behind, past amazes us with surprises and unexpected facts. There are many things that never fail to create curiosity like war and woman society, and especially woman society. Women in Ancient Greece, Rome, India, Egypt, and China had many rights, restrictions, and habits that we are quite unaware of.
So, here is a small but interesting compilation of facts about women of ancient times we must know to understand womanhood properly.
1. Ancient Egyptian woman had equal right of being the ruler
Egypt was way more democratic and liberal than many other ancient as well as modern kingdoms. The rights of men and women were equal, which was not very common at that time. Irrespective of gender, any child of a ruler could inherit the throne, and also the family line in ancient Egypt was drawn from the maternal side, not paternal side.
2. Roman girls used to play with their own version of Barbie dolls
In ancient times, Roman girls used to get married at a very small age of 12, but you know childhood is childhood so they used to play with wooded dolls. Dolls found from second century Rome are quite similar to modern day Barbie.
3. Greek woman had right to divorce
Women in ancient Greece were not treated equal to men and their rights and freedoms were limited, but the divorce procedure was quite fair. If a woman wanted to get divorced from her husband, she needed only a male representative to make the deal in her name.
4. Husbands in ancient China were allowed to abandon their wife for talking too much
As weird it sound, it is true. In ancient China, women had no rights and were considered to be their husband’s property. Reason for a man to divorce his wife were quite wide like failure to bear a son, evidence of being unfaithful, lack of filial piety to the husband’s parents, theft, suffering a virulent or infectious disease, jealousy, and talking too much.
5. Egyptian women could hold high religious positions
It wasn’t uncommon in ancient Egypt for a Women to hold religious positions like “God’s Wife,” and “God’s Wife of Amun” which were honorary titles given to women who would assist the high priest in ceremonies and tend to the god’s statue.
6. Roman women were educated
Most girls in ancient Rome were taught basics of reading and writing at school. However, some upper families preferred their girls to get higher and in-depth education and so they used to hire private tutors for advanced grammar and Greek lessons. The major reason behind it was to make a girl literate and interesting partner to her husband, thus making her more influential.
7. Greek women used to play “jacks”
Women in Greece enjoyed playing different games, and “knucklebone” (astragalos) which is very similar to modern “jacks” was one of many. The game involved throwing the “knucklebones” up in the air and catching as many as possible in one hand as they fell.
8. Roman women were quite athletic
Pictured found in Sicily from the 4th century AD shows that Roman women were quite interested in sports. Women in ancient Rome had many recreational activities and a rich social life.
9. Indian women were free to choose their husbands
Though, arranged marriages are quite prevalent in modern India, in ancient India women used to get married through ‘Swayamvar’ which is was a process of choosing husband by choice.