The Role Of Women During The Han Dynasty And The Roman Empire

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The role of women in both the the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire women was ambiguous. The Han Dynasty ruled from 206 BCE–220 CE. Much later came the Roman Empire, which lasted from 27 CE-476 CE. In these civilizations, elite women were treated very differently than men because of their gender. Women had limited political freedom, their marriages were not loving partnerships, and women’s social expectations oppressed them. Although the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire were separated by many miles, their women were treated with equal inequality.
In both the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire, women were seen as delicate figures and had limited political freedom. Women in Han China were required to be accompanied and led by a male, whether
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Some women went to the extreme and killed their husbands for the title empress.
In both civilizations, marital relationships were not ones of love. In Han China, the Confucian use of Yin and Yang created a prevented the couple from loving each other. In Ban Zhao’s Lessons for Women, she states that because the concept of Yin and Yang are starkly different, man and woman have different qualities. The Yang is strong, but Yin is weak and yielding. A man was honored for his strength, yet a woman was glorified for her beauty (Zhao). Yin and Yang created a barrier for love. Han women had no control over who they married; it was the groom’s parents who chose the bride. Because the couple often did not know one another until the wedding, it was impossible to get to know the other’s personality, hence, they did not marry for love. Similarly, in the Roman Empire, marriages were arranged by family members, and the bride had no say in whom she married. According to historian Jo-Ann Shelton, because “marriages were arranged unions rather than love matches, husbands and wives did not have romantic expectations of their life together” (Shelton 44). The marriage of Agrippina, a descendant of Augustus, and Claudius, a Roman emperor, was one of sole convenience, where both parties had their own agendas. According to historian Anthony Barrett, “Claudius would need a wife, not for sex or companionship...but because he needed an ally to
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