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    Women in Prehistory: Gender in Mycenaean Essay

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    Womans in Prehistory:Gender in Mycenaean


    In the ancient universe, there were societal functions made for different gender as males and females played different functions in the society. Evidence of the archaeological stuffs found in Crete provides information on the functions played by work forces and adult females in Minoan society, particularly to the Mycenaean Greeks. Some research workers, establishing on the grounds of the graphics have suggested that adult females in Mycenaean did non merely play a function of rise uping kids but besides played some other functions. Some research workers have suggested, during the same period, some adult females have more freedom in one civilization than those in other civilizations.

    Mycenaean Age ( 1600-1100 BC )

    The Mycenaean age dates back to the Bronze Age around 1600 BC to 1100 BC. It is presently an archaeological site in Greece found in the Peloponnese, Southern Greece. The archaeological remains found at Mycenaean have great importance in stating about the history of the Mycenaean age and its civilization. The remains found at the castle in Mycenae and the sums of ownership found in the Gravess indicate the prosperity and richness of the Mycenaean civilisation.

    Before the Mycenaean period, the dominant civilization in Greece was the Minoan. The Mycenaean defeated the Minoan and therefore replacing it in the metropolis of Troy. The Mycenaean civilization was dominant around the chief metropoliss of Mycenae which include Pylos, Tiryns, Athens, Orchomenos, Thebes and Folkseir. The Mycenaean civilization besides was in the ruins of Knossos, one of the large metropoliss in the Minoan period. The combination of the Minoan and Mycenaean led to the coming up of a civilization found in Crete ( Anna 59 ) .

    The category variegation hapless and the rich during the Mycenaean become more constituted. More wealth was reserved for the male monarch and other royal governments. There was besides a great separation in gender, where the male and female had different functions to play in the society. The Mycenaean exhibited warrior civilization which was one of the functions played by work forces in the Mycenaean. The warriors in Mycenaean were besides prepared for the conflict as a manner of protecting the wealth and cultural hoarded wealths of the metropolis. They were besides great bargainers who maintained contact with other trade spouses like the Europe and the Mediterranean. The grounds of the outstanding constructions built during the Mycenaean period like great castles, Bridgess, abode and grave shows that they were besides great applied scientists ( Paul 75 ) .

    The History of Gender Structures and Role in the Ancient Greece

    Minoan civilisation ( ca. 2600–ca. 14,500 BCE ) was the earliest period of Grecian history. The Crete Island had many castles of extremely centralised civilization, whereas the Knossos was the most of import. Archaeological grounds of stuff remains of the Knossos civilization which comprise of pictures on the walls of the castles provide merely guesss and non clear grounds on the constructions of gender and their functions.

    Many pictures found have shown adult females looking active in public like adult females in athleticss of acrobat where they vault over the dorsums of bulls that are unsafe and besides taking portion in Minoan rites. But their mere presence as seen in the pictures does non precisely say about their function in the society. One can ne’er judge whether the participants in the acrobats were trained slaves, blue young persons or even captives who were fixing to be given as a forfeit. There were besides statues which suggested the Minoan faith chiefly worshipped goddess figures. However, this can non be used to do a decision about the high position of adult females in Minoan ( Chapman 74 ) .

    The Minoan art of picture besides depicted adult female holding white tegument and work forces with brown tegument. This suggests that the blue adult females in society led an inactive life in shelters and were seldom exposed to the outside universe, whereas work forces experienced the adversities of the outside universe through out-of-door undertakings like war, concern and agribusiness.

    The invasion of Aegean island and Greece by the Greek-speaking people led to the outgrowth of Mycenaean civilization ( ca. 1600–ca. 1100 BCE. ) by absorbing the Minoan civilization. Many verse forms like the Odyssey and Iliad and myths came from this period. The Mycenaean civilization was dominated by the blue warriors whose position was gained through triumph in the conflict and collection of loot from where they concur. The lives of adult females in Mycenaean were under the control of work forces, that is their hubbies, male parents and sometimes even by their boies. Men literally treated the adult females in Mycenaean below the belt. However, adult females had a opportunity to asseverate themselves through their strong influence on some powerful comparative male ( Shelton 62 ) . The Mycenaean cultured ended and Greece came into a dark age where the society split into single farmsteads and little small towns.

    The Role of Female in Mycenaean

    It is apparent that to Mycenaean did non conform to male dominance excessively much as evident in some other country. The archaeological grounds found indicate that adult females took portion in really of import functions in public life in the urban like being officials, decision makers ; they were besides priestesses and took portion in some athleticss that in most instances they are dominated by work forces like overleaping over bull which are unsafe. These athleticss which required a batch of bravery and high acrobatic accomplishments were dominated by both work forces and adult females.

    In Mycenaean, adult females were presented to be really adept in entrepreneurship and trade plants. They besides held political duties. Archaeological grounds suggests that most priests in Mycenaean were adult females. Despite the fact that most male monarchs in castles in Mycenaean were work forces, it is true that both the Mycenaean and Minoan society were non chiefly patriarchal. Most archaeologists believe that both the Mycenaean and the Minoan were matrilinear due to the grounds of their goddess faith ( Komita 66 ) .

    Most of the adult females in Mycenaean were non confined to the domestic domain in their operation. There is grounds that some adult females were cooks, Millers, Fullers, weavers, hosts, physicians, vocalists, cellar keepers, terpsichoreans and instrumentalists. In most instances such activities were associated with the temple and the castle which were the primary centres of finance and production in the Mycenaean. There were great workshops in the castles for fabric production, metalwork and other fabrication workshops. Women worked in these castles and therefore played a important function in the economic system of Mycenaean.

    Womans who worked in these workshops are listed in tabular array B. For case, at the castle of Pylon, there were 1400 adult females working in the castle, which was twice the figure of work forces working in the fabric and vesture workshops, leather workings grain processing every bit good as family attenders in different sorts. The adult females besides held high position occupations in Mycenaean. The adult females in Mycenaean who served as priestesses experienced greater independency in their work and were responsible for some indispensable map in the society.

    Some adult females in the Mycenaean like the priestesses and other female who held spiritual duties possessed big pieces of land and they were accorded high position in the community. These adult females had greater independency and control over sacred hoarded wealths of the temple as it was recorded that some priestesses donated some bronze from the temple for military intents. Fiscal independency was non merely limited to the priestesses as it was mentioned in the tabular array that one adult female who was non a priest owned and orchard.

    Harmonizing to the reading of many bookmans of the information in tabular array B, many adult females in the Mycenaean received half as much of what the work forces received for their work. However, other bookmans like Judy Turner and Jon-Christian Billigmeier believe that the grounds in table B indicates equal compensation for both work forces and adult females for their work. Unequal wage between work forces and adult females, nevertheless, did non impact the baronial adult females who were accorded the right to inherit and were besides given big doweries because they had a large part of heritage ( Anna 61 ) . This shows that adult females of the upper category in Mycenaean had power to command their ain wealth and continue it for themselves and those that were to inherit from them.

    The Role of Pylos and Knossos Women in Mycenaean

    At least 1200 adult females are approximated to be in the workgroup at Knossos. The lists are similar to those recorded at Pylos, which indicated slave adult females and groups of low position. It is indicated that more than a 1000 adult females of low position worked in the fabric industries in Knossos. However, these women’s functions were non confined in and around the castle merely like in Pylos, but besides worked in many other towns and small towns in Crete. They were under the control of Mycenaean masters.

    Most of the fabric industries were located far off from some really of import concerns that were organized by the castle. All the cloth production work was assigned to adult females. Most of the slaves during Mycenaean were adult females. There are different sort of cloth production set for the local adult females and that for slaves. The slaves were allowed to be free for the remainder of the twelvemonth after completing the undertaking they were assigned which normally took three to six months. This gave the adult females a opportunity to run into their households and carry out other household functions at place ( Paul 74 ) .

    Womans in Mycenaean besides had the duty of mediating to the Gods on behalf of their households and on behalf of their metropolis provinces excessively. This was because adult females could talk straight to the Gods, unlike the work forces. Furthermore, they had permeable organic structures which were more unfastened to nonhuman influence.

    Harmonizing to the Grecian civilization, the female organic structures, peculiarly the uterus were considered to be something dark and unknown and it was potentially unsafe. This made them to be more suited than work forces in doing contact with an facet of deity that were unpredictable ( Komita 67 ) . This thought is besides reflected in the vulnerable nature of adult females during rites like doing forfeits. In order to acquire gods’ attending, they shriek emotional as they greeted the deities. They besides came up with plaints during funerals to convey out their heartache and besides to pacify the dead.

    Women besides took a function in fixing cadavers for entombment because their organic structures were associated with passage of events in life like birth and decease. Women hence, had great functions to play in spiritual affairs in Mycenaean and that is the ground why most priests in Mycenaean were adult females.

    The Role of Male in Mycenaean

    During the Mycenaean period, work forces controlled the greater portion of the belongings in the society than adult females. Work force of all societal position in Mycenaean had control over so many trade goods than adult females. Some of these trade goods under the control of work forces were really owned by adult females. They could entree more trade goods in the society than adult females. For case, adult females in Mycenaean ne’er received alien good from the castles like unctions and spices, metal or metal vass, objects that were made of tusk or horn, Equus caballuss, arms, chariots and armours which had the symbols of the opinion elite.

    Work forces were shepherds and Shearers of sheep that provided the wool for the fabric industry. The Mycenaean kept so many sheep that provided equal natural stuff for the fabric industry, which was one of the most of import economic activities in Mycenaean.

    Work force besides took leading functions in Mycenaean civilization. The male monarchs in the castles were all male monarchs and governing authorization places that help the male monarch were taken by work forces. Women’s leading was chiefly limited in spiritual affairs while other leading places and authorization were held by work forces. The male monarch therefore, together with other work forces in the royal circle possessed most of the wealth in the community, making great category differences between the rich and the ( Shelton 63 ) . Work force had besides the duty of protecting the society, the cultural hoarded wealths and the metropoliss. All the warriors were work forces and they formed a really strong ground forces. They were besides readily prepared for the conflict.

    The warriors fought different conflicts emerging with the triumph and brought place prisoners who became slaves in Mycenaean. However, in about 1100 BCE Mycenaean was burned and destroyed most likely by the invading Dorian. Evidence shows that its being continued as a little metropolis provinces and the walls were non destroyed. 480 BC work forces of Mycenaean were sent to Thermopylae to contend against the Persians. In 479 BC the work forces of Mycenaean were at Plataea and in 470 BC, their neighbours Argos who were really aggressive and had been impersonal in the Persian war took retaliation by beleaguering Mycenaean. In 468 BC, the Argos defeated the Mycenaean warriors and it was destroyed ( Gagarin 94 ) .

    Most of the concern activities in Mycenaean were carried out by work forces. They were great bargainers who contacted other trade spouses from other states like the Europe and Mediterranean.

    In Mycenaean, work forces were besides instrumentalists and played really of import functions, particularly in spiritual maps. Most of the grounds found about instrumentalists, showed the male instrumentalists and they played their music in standing places. Apart from artistic representation of instrumentalists, there were besides remains of musical instruments that were found in Gravess of Mycenae where they were placed in the Gravess as valuable goods. From the grounds findings, we can reason that the musical instruments found are already discerned in percussion, air current and stringed instruments. Some of the most of import archaeological findings of musical instruments include the weaponries of tusk that came from Menidi and they had been formed into a duck caput and besides some parts of lyre that were found in the grave of Spatar and Mycenae ( Chadwick 70 ) .

    Separation in Gender in Mycenaean

    In Mycenaean though non much, but at that place was a difference between the functions played work forces and adult females and how they were treated in assorted fortunes. The rewards given to adult females and work forces for the work done was non equal despite even when they did a comparatively equal undertaking. For case, in Hittite context work forces were paid higher than adult females for comparatively tantamount labour. Harmonizing to Hittite Law Code in subdivision 158, wages for work forces and adult females who were hired during crop are indicated. Their payment was settled in steps of grain. In a month, a adult male received 10 steps while a adult female received either four or six. Sometimes, the wage for a adult male was 12 boodles of Ag while that for a adult female was six boodles. This is in the ratio of 2:1 for work forces and adult females severally ( Paul 58 ) .

    Harmonizing to the reading of tabular array B by many bookmans, adult females in Mycenaean received every bit half as much pay for the work they did as what work forces received. However, some bookmans have argued that the grounds from table B indicate an equal ratio of wheat and some other signifiers of payment used during the Mycenaean period for work forces and adult females.

    Another separation is besides seen in the spiritual affairs in Mycenaean where merely adult females were given the opportunity to take spiritual activities. Their bloody nature was considered to be more suited for reaching the deities unlike work forces. They, hence, led most of the spiritual maps in the society like the offering of forfeits and carry oning burial ceremonials. They besides prayed on behalf of their household and the whole society and interceded to the Gods on behalf of work forces.

    In the leading sector, there was besides separation where most of the leaders, including the male monarch were male. Women’s leading was merely limited to spiritual affairs. Men dominated most of the royal places in Mycenaean and had all the authorization. Men besides had much control of trade good belongings than adult females. They had entree to more trade goods in the society than adult females. All work forces, irrespective of their societal or economic position had much power over trade goods in the community some of which were owned by adult females. This showed a great lower status in the power of adult females over ownership of belongings ( Chapman 88 ) . Most of the lands in Mycenaean were owned by work forces except for the adult females who were priestesses and some few other adult females who were non priestesses but still owned some land.

    In this society, gender dealingss were apparent. Womans did presume their ain muliebrity, looking at how they wore their apparels every bit good as presuming a really critical function within their ain society. Some of the adult females still used to move into really important functions in the political relations of this society. This brought rather a passage in the Mycenaean society.


    Unlike excessively many civilizations and society, it can be observed that the Mycenaean civilization had small differences in the functions played by work forces and adult females. Womans are seen to take portion in activities that would instead be suited for work forces. They perform good in different sectors merely like their male opposite numbers such as in athleticss, in occupations and in cultural and spiritual affairs.

    Plants cited

    Paul, A. “ Mycenaean Divinities ” . Northridge, CA: California State University. 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2015.

    Chapman, R. “ Changing Social Relations in the Mediterranean Copper and Bronze Ages ” . In Blake, Emma ; Knapp, A. Bernard. The Archaeology of Mediterranean Prehistory. Oxford and Malden: Blackwell Publishing. 2005: pp.77–101.

    Chadwick, J. “The Mycenaean World.” Cambridge University Press. 1976. Retrieved April 29 2015.

    Gagarin, M. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome1. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2010.

    Shelton, K. “ Living and Dying in and Around Middle Helladic Mycenae ” . In Philippa-Touchais, Anna, T. , Voutsaki, S. et Al. : The Grecian Mainland in the Middle Bronze Age ( Bulletin de CorrespondanceHellenique: Supplement, Volume 52 ) . Athinais: Ecolefrancaised’Athenes. 2010: pp.57–65.

    Komita, N. “The Grave Circles at Mycenae and the Early Aryans“ . Research Reports of Ikutoku Technical University, ( A-7 ) , 1982: 59–70.

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