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Gender roles

(2,903 words)

Author(s): Wagner-Hasel, Beate (Darmstadt) | Stahlmann, Ines (Berlin) | King, Helen (Reading)
I. Society [German version] A. Greece It was a characteristic of Greek society that the spheres of the two genders were strictly separated in a way that has little in common with the modern distinction between a private, domestic sphere and a public, political one. Neither should the house (  oíkos ) be seen as a purely private sphere, nor can gender roles (GR) be limited to one area only. There were divisions both within the house and within the public sphere of ancient cities. The ancient discourse on GR was characterized both by complimentariness and by demarcation. Wagner-Hasel, Beate (D…

Matriarchy

(3,490 words)

Author(s): Wagner-Hasel, Beate (Darmstadt)
Wagner-Hasel, Beate (Darmstadt) [German version] A. Terms and Concepts (CT) The term matriarchy (literally: maternal rule, from Latin mater ('mother') and Greek  ἄρχειν (rule), is a word coined during the modern era. It was introduced by legal ethnologists and law historians during the 1880s and 1890s to distinguish this concept from matrilinear system and gynecocracy [2; 9.; 43]. In contrast, the term gynecocracy (literally: rule of women, from Greek γυνή (women) and κρατεῖν (authority) - used by the founder of t…

Presents

(2,481 words)

Author(s): Wagner-Hasel, Beate (Darmstadt) | Weeber, Karl-Wilhelm (Wuppertal)
I. Greece [German version] A. Research history There are numerous terms for presents and gifts in Greek and Latin. The giving of gifts was a highly ritualized act and shaped by convention and tradition. Gifts were only rarely voluntary in nature, and generally carried with them the expectation of receiving something in return. This was the case for presents between people of equal social status, between relatives, neighbours and friends, and between men and women, as well as for those exchanged between…

Marriage

(3,409 words)

Author(s): Westbrook, Raymond (Baltimore) | Wagner-Hasel, Beate (Darmstadt) | Treggiari, Susan (Stanford) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Heimgartner, Martin (Halle)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Marriage in the Ancient Orient was always potentially polygamous, but in most cases it was monogamous in practice. Only kings had more than two wives. Marriage to members of inferior social groups was just as valid as marriage between them. Marriage between close relatives was basically forbidden, except between half-brothers and half-sisters who shared a father. A marriage could be concluded in any of four ways: 1) by a contract between the groom or his parents and…

Hospitality

(1,855 words)

Author(s): Felber, Heinz (Leipzig) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel) | Wagner-Hasel, Beate (Darmstadt)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt In Egypt and Mesopotamia, hospitality was not regarded as a value in itself, but generosity to the needy was seen in both cultures as an obligatory norm, in the sense of a communicative and vertical solidarity [1; 2]. According to Egyptian sources, strangers were treated with reserve, and late teachings (Ankh-Sheshonqi 21,24f.) speak of the loneliness of a person in a strange city where (s)he has no relatives. Rarely, letters contain admonitions to treat an announced guest with proper attention…

Marriage contracts

(681 words)

Author(s): Wagner-Hasel, Beate (Darmstadt)
[German version] A number of marriage contracts [MCs] are found among the Greek papyrus documents from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt; they regulated both the moral obligations of the marriage partners and conjugal property law. They date from the period between the 4th cent. BC and the 6th cent. AD, and are (in contrast to the verbal agreements on dowries attested from Classical Athens) not to be understood as agreements between two families - as represented by the bride's father and the groom - but a…

Adultery

(581 words)

Author(s): Wagner-Hasel, Beate (Darmstadt)
[German version] I. Greece Prosecuted as μοιχεία ( moicheía) in Ancient Greece, adultery was together with rape one of the sexual offences, which were understood as an attack on the marriage bond (φιλία, philía). Therefore, according to Xenophon, most Greek communities permitted killing the adulterer (Hier. 3,3). In Attic court oratory adultery was linked to questions of citizens' rights and capital crimes. In the defence speech for Euphiletus, who killed the seducer of his wife and had to justify himself before court to escape banishment, i…

Woman

(7,947 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Feucht, Erika (Heidelberg) | Brosius, Maria (Oxford) | Macuch, Maria (Berlin) | RU.PA. | Et al.
I. Ancient Orient, Egypt and Iran [German version] A. Introduction Knowledge of the status of women is largely based on texts of a legal nature (legal documents, law books, royal decrees). Accordingly, research to date emphasizes primarily the legal aspects of the position of women in family and society. Non-legal texts from a variety of genres contain information on the activities of women from the families of the elite, particularly those of the royal clan. Thus, the Hittite royal wife Puduḫepa (13th ce…