Babylon, the Cradle of (Zero) Rights of Women
By: yorgasmicNovember 17, 2018Views: 149

The old world was far behind, and even so some of its laws and social norms have had repercussions until many years later, even still existent in some places. Those who suffered the worst were women, who were reduced almost to objects of exchange.

The Hammurabi law was written by the king of the same name, who in XVIII A.C. left to its people the code that would lay the groundwork for a "social peace". Among the most outstanding is the notion of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", in which the one who did something paid in the same way. Its foundations dictated that the social order was more important than the individual, and that the woman had no right to own property or decision. Every choice of his life was taken by others, except to suffer a serious illness.

The weddings were nuptial arrangements, in which the bride's father or brother negotiated with the future husband, exchanging goods as land and the endowments that the woman would bring to the house. These goods would be administered by the husband, which made it impossible for his wife, or daughters, to have access to his own resources. Sometimes the contract was signed and the woman was still in the father's house for a year, at which time there could be a change of opinion, clear only by the men, and the goods were returned depending on the decision. Since they all lived in the family, it did not make sense for women to own something that was ultimately for their children. That was the value of the wife, to be able to procreate to as many children as she could, since they occupied hands to work, to pay debts and to take care of the parents when aging.

Adultery was defined as "relationship between a married woman and another man," in which the status of the man did not matter. Sadly, it is easier to observe motherhood than paternity, so that female sexuality was severely restricted. Anyone who accused the woman of adultery was sufficient to bring her to trial, in which case she had to swear to the gods her innocence and then be thrown into the river. If she survived, she was telling the truth. Sadly few knew how to swim back then, and their theory was that the gods would save her for being honest. Only if her own husband accused her could she swear to a priest and not be thrown.

 When there were unofficial pregnancies, the woman obtained the punishment and the children with others ran the fate of what the husband decided, if considered bastards, unaccepted, or grow in the family. Only in case of not being able to procreate could be had a son of a maid or second wife.

 

The waves of time leave a mark on the sand, and many of these concepts remain accepted or even considered ethical and "normal". We must learn from our past not to repeat the same mistakes and recognize how social agreements were created.

 


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