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The Role of Women in the Classical Empires

AP World History Alpharetta High School Ajay Desai, Neil Malhotra, Catherine Slavik, Julia Roth
by

Ajay Desai

on 11 September 2012

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Transcript of The Role of Women in the Classical Empires

Ajay Desai, Neil Malhotra, Catherine Slavik, and Julia Roth - The city of Rome was founded by Romulus
- Its central location contributed to its success in unifying Italy as well as the lands encompassing the Mediterranean Sea
- The land had many hills, but also contained fertile volcanic soil
- The main form of governance at the time of the Republic was the Senate while during the Principate, the Twelve Tablets were the basis of Roman Law Background of the Roman Empire The Role of Women in the Roman Empire The Role of Women in
the Classical Empires - Roman women played no public role in society
- "A woman was like a child in the eyes of the law" (Bulliet 145).
- At birth, females were subjugated by their parents and after marriage, the duty shifted to the husband and his parents
- Women were unable to own property or represent themselves in legal proceedings
- However, Roman women were less constrained than the Greek women
- Over time, they gained greater personal protection and economic freedom
- Some women had influence over their husband and children
- Roman poets confessed their love for educated and influential women Background of The Han Empire •The Han Dynasty emerged after a small civil war.
•They adopted Confucian ideals of government as the creed of the Han Empire.
•Science and technology flourished during this time period: the compass, and the seismograph were invented.
•Chinese people consider this time period to be one of the greatest and still call themselves the “people of Han.”
•Han dynasty was well known for its military prowess.





- The empire expands westward to the rim of Tarim Basin and made secure caravans throughout Central Asia. The paths of the caravan were used to export silk and was often called the “Silk Road.” The Role of Women in the Han Empire • Must get up early to do her duties
• Must do all duties whether difficult or easy
• She must service her husband
• Cannot love gossip and silly laughter
• Must cleanse, purify, and arrange wine and food offerings to ancestors
• The women had fewer privileges than men
• They rarely received education
• The sons were more valued than daughters.
• Confucianism says that women exhibit faithfulness,
loyalty and also implied that women were of more or
less equivalent to the role of domesticated animals. Background of the Gupta Empire 320 CE- 500 CE) the Gupta empire existed during the similar time as the Roman Empire
•The Gupta Empire dominated northern India
•Villages were organized with local military squads,
but in times of war all the local armies were brought together to create the royal army
•Went through a “Golden Age” where there was religious freedom, free Medical care, criminals were never put to death, common people were educated, praise and money was given to writers and artists The Role of Women in the Gupta Empire •Form of marriage was called Swayamvara, where potential grooms would line up at the brides house and the bride's father would pick the groom
•Women would dress in brighter colors than men
•Women were ranked under men in their society but their job was not less significant
•Women were worshiped in literature
•Women were given the chance to be educated, but could never recite the Vedic Mantras
•A married woman had to live with the other many women her husband also had as wives
•Some women participated in the government and the administration
•Women were always second behind the men, growing up it was required for women to obey their father, after marriage their husband, and then her son
•Over time, the status of women became more restricted due to the development of Hindu Law
•Women were then required to stay in their homes and cover themselves from head to toe whenever they went out
•Lower class women would work in the fields or do spinning and weaving Background of the Mauryan Empire •The Mauryan Empire was India’s first Empire
•Their capital was Pataliputra. It is said that it was surrounded by a wooden pierced by 64 gates and 570 towers.
•Chandragupta Maurya, the Emperor had gained controlled the area between Bengal and Afghanistan
•Much of his success was due to his prime minister and mentor, Chanakya
•His son Bindusra extended the Empire into the central and southern parts of India
•The third emperor, Ashoka, is one of the most famous rulers of India
•His conversion to and support of Buddhism is often likened to the impact of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great's acceptance of Christianity in 313 A.D. Beginning in 254 B.C.,
Ashoka had monumental edicts on Buddhism carved into rocks and caves throughout his empire.
•One records his sending of religious envoys—with no apparent results—to the Greek rulers of Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, Cyrene, and Epirus. Thirteen years later, he issued seven additional edicts carved into strategically placed polished sandstone pillars.
•One of the best preserved, at Lauriya Nandagarh in Bihar, stands thirty-two feet high and is capped by a seated lion. Ashoka is also credited with building 84,000 stupas to enshrine the relics of the Buddha and commemorate key events in the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. The Role of Women in the Mauryan Empire •Women were employed as archers, royal bodyguards, spies, and performers
•Sometimes women of higher status, meaning that they weren’t poor or ageing prostitutes,
would be appointed to the task of spinning the yarn
•Though it is true that women were given the opportunity for employment, it is revealed in the texts that women were mostly dominated by the male figures of the household
•Women’s role in society depended on the type of caste they were in. The highest was the Brahmins, then the kshatriyas, then the Vaisyas, and lastly the Shudras.
•Compared to the other Empires Family was of high importance and women had a honorable role in society
•Women were often used for their marital purposes. For example, if one wanted to make an alliance with one other the daughter of the emperor would be married to the opposing emperor.
•India’s first emperor Chandragupta Maurya would often live in strict seclusion and was only attended by women who cooked his food in the evening and carried him in the evening to his apartment where they lulled him to sleep with their beautiful songs FIN Ashoka the Great Chandra Gupta Maurya RECAP Roman women had no public role in society
Seen as a child by the Roman Law The Han women had a set of duties that had to be performed and were similar in class to domesticated animals The women of the Gupta Empire were chosen by their husband but had a little more freedom than other empires The women of the Mauryan Empire were given importance and an honorable role in society
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