Women in Ancient Mesopotamia

In Ancient Sumer, boys and girls alike went to school if they were wealth, kings’ daughters and sons always were well educated. In Sumer, public veiling was not a custom like later civilizations and even modern day civilizations. Marriages were mostly monogamous with the exception of kings and other rich males who often had mistresses or concubines. In the case that, whether it be a man or a women, called to have a divorce it was permitted. In the case of a divorce the women would get her dowry, which her family had presented to the husband, back and was usually allowed to manage her own dowry. Nin was a term used to describe the wives of politically powerful men. Nin’s often weighed in on political disputes and other important matters. In Sumer, chastity and premarital virginity, whether it be a man or a women, did not usually matter. Even many priestesses did not have to be chaste and were sometimes even permitted to have children. Another progressive social concept in Sumer was that same-sex marriages and were allowed and even a normal occurrence. Women had the right to own and manage their own wealth and land, many priestesses leased out land. Although Sumer was not completely equal and free of patriarchy, it was more liberated in some aspects than later civilizations.
In Assyria, women were more oppressed and did not have much authority. Husbands had authority in the household. Women in power and powerful roles became less frequent. Women’s main role in families were to bear children. Marriages were often arranged and if a women’s husband died she often had to marry one of his available brothers. In Assyria, women having premarital sex was taboo and virginity was so valued for women that women were sometimes raped in order to determine if they were virgins. Women often had to marry men ten years their senior and women often got married as teenagers. There are records of six or seven year old girls being married away. If a wife bore a girl, sometimes the…

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