Monday, December 27, 2021

8 powerful female figures of ancient Rome

Women in ancient Rome held very few rights and by law were not considered equal to men, according to a 2018 article on The Great Courses Daily. Roman women rarely held any public office or positions of power, and instead their role was expected to be caring for children and looking after the home.

Most women in Roman society were controlled by either their father or husband. Especially among richer families, women and young girls were married off in order to form political or financial relationships, and rarely could choose their partner.

Despite this lack of rights, there is evidence of a few exceptional women who managed to attain great power and influence in ancient Rome. While some controlled events from the sidelines, others took matters into their own hands, forming conspiracies and even assassination plots to seize control of the Roman empire.



read more here @ Live Science

The woman restoring ancient Chinese makeup

By examining references in ancient books, Wang Yifan, a 29-year-old woman from Northeast China's Liaoning Province, has recovered 39 types of cosmetics and makeup tools from China's different dynasties including a powder used by Wu Zetian, China's only female emperor, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and bath beans, a type of facial cleanser used by the Empress Dowager Cixi in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Currently, Wang's recovered cosmetics cannot be sold, they are just for display as they still need further refinement.

read more here @ Global Times


Digs reveal seals of Hittite female administrator in SE Turkey

Archaeologists discovered seals and prints of a female administrator during their archaeological digs in the ancient city of Karkamış in southeastern Turkey’s Gaziantep province.

Karkamış was the most important administrative center in the region of the Hittite Empire, which ruled over Anatolia and Mesopotamia for centuries.

The findings were among dozens of clay seals belonging to the highest officials in a hierarchical order unearthed by an excavation team headed by Nicolo Marchetti, an archaeology professor at the University of Bologna in Italy, according to a statement by the Gaziantep metropolitan municipality.

It was determined that two-thirds of the Anatolian hieroglyphic seal impressions belonged to a female administrator named Matiya from the period defined as the "Late Bronze Age."

The new discoveries are expected to shed light on the role of women in state governance during the Hittite Empire.




Philosophy and sex work: how courtesans in Ancient Greece crossed the mind/body divide

Sex workers in Ancient Greece divided into two somewhat overlapping types. The most common were those who lived in brothels, often enslaved sex workers providing a sanctioned service to the men of the ancient Greek city. The word for this role was porne, from where we get the English word pornography.

Not only did these women lack freedom, but their profession could also be dangerous. Women consigned to this life had no leisure and no expectation of education.

But there was another kind of sex worker who gripped the imagination of writers in the ancient world. These women did not live in brothels, but in their own homes. They granted favours, rather than being bought for a fee, and participated in the language of aristocratic exchange of goods.

They were called “friends”, hetairai in Greek, or, as they came to be known in English, courtesans.

These women were seen as having captivating minds, not just captivating bodies. They could be conversation partners and were allowed unprecedented freedom in the ancient world.



read more here @ The Conversation

Remembering the Remarkable Queens Who Ruled Ancient Nubia

Scholar Solange Ashby is uncovering the once-revered, now little-remembered female leaders of the Kushite kingdoms.

While Egypt’s Cleopatra and Hatshepsut are household names today (by ancient Egyptian standards), few people have heard of Nubia’s mighty queens. Atlas Obscura spoke with Ashby about the Nubian legacy, expressions of female power, and how the study of ancient Nubia connects to Black Lives Matter.

read more here @ Atlas Obscura

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Ludmila, the first Czech saint, grandmother of Wenceslas, martyred 1100 years ago

Saint Ludmila, the first historically documented Duchess of Bohemia, was martyred 1100 years ago this September – strangled by assassins sent by her own daughter in law. Best known today as the grandmother and educator of the Czech patron saint “good King Wenceslas”, Saint Ludmila was among the few women in history to de facto rule over Bohemia.

Princess Ludmila, as she is also known, was the wife of Bořivoj, founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. Sometime in the late 9th century, he converted to Christianity during a visit to the court of Great Moravia, and was allegedly baptised by none other than Saint Methodius, the Byzantine missionary known along with his brother Cyril as the “Apostles of the Slavs”.

Little is known for certain about Ludmila’s life before the death of her husband, other than that she was the daughter of a Sorbian prince, likely born in Mělník, central Bohemia, married Bořivoj in her teens, and had as many as six children with him.

But, says Dr Jakub Izdný of the Institute of Czech History at Charles University, author of a new book on Ludmila published ahead of the 1100-year anniversary of her death, she is the first historically known Czech woman, and quite likely the first woman to rule Bohemia.

read more here @ Radio Prague International

Kidnapped, raped, wed against their will: Kyrgyz women’s fight against a brutal tradition

Aisuluu was returning home after spending the afternoon with her aunt in the village of At-Bashy, not far from the Torugart crossing into China. “It was 5 o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday. I had a paper bag full of samsa [a dough dumpling stuffed with lamb, parsley and onion]. My aunt always prepared them on weekends,” she said.

“A car with four men inside comes in the opposite direction to mine. And all of a sudden it … turns around and, within a few seconds, comes up beside me. One of the guys in the back gets out, yanks me and pushes me inside the car. I drop all the samsa on the pavement. I scream, I squirm, I cry, but there is nothing I can do.”

image by Tatyana Zelenskaya


The man who kidnapped her would soon become her husband. At the wedding, Aisuluu discovered that she was not even the woman he had intended to kidnap for marriage. But in the haste of having to return home with a bride and after wandering the streets all afternoon, the man decided to settle for the first “cute girl” he saw.

This was 1996, and Aisuluu was a teenager. Today she has four children by her kidnapper-turned-husband, to whom she is still married.

Known as ala kachuu (“take and run”), the brutal practice of kidnapping brides has its roots in medieval times along the steppes of Central Asia, yet persists to this day. It has been banned in Kyrgyzstan for decades and the law was tightened in 2013, with sentences of up to 10 years in prison for those who kidnap a woman to force her into marriage (previously it was a fine of 2,000 soms, worth about $25).

read more here @ The Guardian

Taliban death squads ‘trawl porn sites to compile kill list of Afghan prostitutes after US withdrawal'

From the US Sun:
Taliban death squads are trawling porn sites to compile a kill list of Afghan prostitutes and are putting names to faces of brothel workers who have been filmed having sex during the 20-year allied occupation of Afghanistan.

Security sources told The Sun Online that videos featuring Afghan prostitutes have made their way onto niche porn sites and have been discovered by the jihadis.

Our source said the Taliban are now “hell-bent” on “hunting down” the prostitutes to publicly execute or “humiliate for their own pleasure”.

They added the women face being gang-raped by the terror nuts before being “beheaded, stoned or hung”.

Some of the videos allegedly feature the women having sex with Westerners - further raising the fury of the Taliban.

Women are expected to face the most vicious and brutal repression under the new Taliban regime, with strict new rules and morality codes expected to erase them from public life.

“The Taliban are displaying the height of hypocrisy with this horrific witch-hunt," a source said.

read more here @ US Sun

Nicolle Wallace blasts ‘gender apartheid’ in Texas

From the Raw Story -
MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace slammed an anti-abortion law passed by Texas Republicans after the United States Supreme Court refused to block the law in a decision released overnight. Wallace said "everything has changed" after the court decision.

"The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, for all intents and purposes has green lit the reversal of Roe v. Wade, not just in Texas, but potentially all across this country," Wallace reported. "In refusing the block the draconian, near-complete ban in Texas, the Supreme Court has signaled its approval for what is the most restrictive abortion law in the country."

Wallace put the Texas law in context as part of a larger effort to restrict women's rights in red states.  "The court's decision last night is part of a larger battle playing out all across the country right now. If you didn't already know, now you do. 97 laws restricting abortion have been passed in 19 states since January of this year in what is the biggest wave of abortion restrictions since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973," Wallace noted.

The host described the law as "medieval state of affairs" and said "it feels like gender apartheid on the medical front for women."

read more here @ Raw Story