Near Eastern Archaeology, special issue, Volume 79, Issue 3, september 2016
- Jane Peterson: Woman’s Share in Neolithic Society: A View from the Southern Levant
Early farming groups set into motion substantial, even revolutionary, socioeconomic changes dur- ing the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (ca. 10,500– 6,000 cal. b.c.e.) in the southern Levant of South- west Asia. Social organizational structures capable of addressing new opportunities and challenges would have been integral… ☛
- Maria Mina: Was It a Man’s World? Gender Relationships at the Transition to the Bronze Age in Cyprus
This article examines whether the apparently equitable gender relationships of the Chalcolithic period in Cyprus were replaced by gender in- equality in the Bronze Age. The discussion critiques the axioms … ☛
Continue reading NEA latest issue: Gender Archaeology
Richardson-Hewitt, Helen, Mervyn Richardson and Marten Stol. 2016. Women in the Ancient Near East. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter (Open access)
Women in the Ancient Near East offers a lucid account of the daily life of women in Mesopotamia from the third millennium BCE until the beginning of the Hellenistic period. The book systematically presents the lives of women emerging from the available cuneiform material and discusses modern scholarly opinion. Stol’s book is the first full-scale treatment of the history of women in the Ancient Near East.
In a time and place where sexual matters figure in the agenda of both public institutions and private individuals, it may be interesting to turn our attention to ancient societies and ask ourselves: what can we know about sexual practices, attraction and desire in antiquity? How did gender relations manifest in sexual terrains? Or more specifically, how was women’s sexual desire perceived and understood in the various societies of the ancient world?
Ancient Mesopotamia has provided us with a disparity of sources dealing mainly or tangentially with sexual matters, from mythical-religious compositions depicting carnal congress between deities to legal provisions regulating rape and unfaithfulness. But it is a particular kind of source, the so-called ŠÀ.ZI.GA or “potency texts” – especially when read side by side with other cuneiform texts- that offer revealing glimpses on the techniques and mechanisms women could employ to accomplish their personal wishes and sexual appetites. Continue reading Let your penis consume my crotch: thoughts on female sexual desire in ancient Mesopotamia
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The volume has two main aims. First, it presents the available textual evidence relating to women in the palaces of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c. 930-610 BCE). Second, it evaluates the power relationships that these women were engaged in.
Power in general and women’s power in particular has been understood mostly in a hierarchical way in earlier research on Mesopotamian women. Hierarchical power structures were important in Mesopotamia, but other kinds of power structures existed as well. In addition to discussing hierarchical power relationships, this study draws attention to heterarchical power relations in which women were engaged in Neo-Assyrian palace milieu.
Heterarchical power relations include power relations such as reciprocal power, resistance and persuasion. Although earlier research has certainly been aware of women’s influence in the palaces, this study makes explicit the power concepts employed in previous research and further develops them using the concept of heterarchy. Continue reading Svärd: Women and Power in Neo-Assyrian Palaces