Gender Roles Of Ancient Mesopotamia

1543 Words Dec 4th, 2015 7 Pages
Gender roles in ancient Mesopotamia were clearly defined (teachmiddleeast.edu). Generally, men worked outside of the home and women stayed inside of the home while focusing on raising their children and keeping up with work that took place in the home. However, there were exceptions; we know of women who were “bartenders” and even women who were priestesses, but with limited responsibility. Due to the fact that some were from socially higher families and owned large amounts of property, those women were not allowed to marry. Women at the time were given much less freedom than men, however, women were more protected than men, which is seen in Hammurabi’s Code of Law, specifically in his 130th law:
“If a man violate the wife of another man, who has never known a man, and still lives in her father’s house, and sleep with her and be surprised, this man shall be put to death, but the wife is blameless” (Hammurabi). Socially, women performed a wide range of functions: witchcraft, singing for the dead, counseling, dream interpretation, herbal healing and midwifery (msu.edu). Most functions done by women were limited depending on the age of the woman. For example, dream interpretation and midwifery were done by older women, while witch craft and counseling were done by young women. Along with age, the type of work was usually determined by certain beliefs regarding the nature of the women. For example, mourning and keening were based on the idea that a woman has a greater maternal…
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