Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lilly Fritz's Islam vs. Byzantine Empire Role of Women

Women in the Islamic Empire and Byzantine Empire both had a little more freedom then in other parts of the world during this time. Women were taught to have freedom but still be obedient to men. The Portrait Bust of a Woman with a Scroll is an artifact from the Byzantine Empire that shows women have intelligence. In Eva March Tappan’s translation of a letter about her visit to the wife of Suleiman the Magnificent in 1550, showed how some women in the Islamic Empire lived in luxury.

The Portrait Bust of a Woman with a Scroll was sculpted in a late 4th century-early 5th century in the Byzantine Empire. This bust shows a woman in very deep thought. The scroll she is holding represents intelligence. It is thought that the bust was made in Constantinople because of its fragility. It might be a memorial to an important person in the imperial aristocracy. The bust shows that she has pride within her intelligence with her long fingers holding the scroll.

 Eva March Tappan translates in The World's Story: A History of the World in Story, Song, and Art, about a visit to the Wife of Suleiman the Magnificent in 1550. When the visitor entered Sultana Asseki’s home the visitor saw men in beautiful clothing and holding swords. She was led through the home by an old woman in nice clothes and some young girls. She saw beautiful artwork on the walls. The Sultana Asseki had many female slaves. When she reached the Sultana, she saw her being treated by many slaves, some were even fanning her.  The visitor was asked questions about her country and religion. The visitor answered the questions very carefully. After the questions, dancing girls and music were shown. Everything she served me was served on solid gold. When she left, she was escorted about by the same women that led her in.

 1. Byzantine women were very obedient to men and are important behind the scenes.
a.    Byzantine women had important responsibilities to maintain the household.
                                          i.    managing finances
                                        ii.    supervising household affairs
                                       iii.    raising children
b.    Byzantine women had to handle all of the following to have the household running smoothly.
                                          i.    Spinning
                                        ii.    Weaving
                                       iii.    Healing
                                       iv.    Washing clothes
c.    Byzantine women had the same routine they did almost every day.
                                          i.    fetching water, food, and fuel
                                        ii.    cooking
                                       iii.    serving meals
  1. Islamic women are obedient to men as well but they have fewer responsibilities than Byzantine women.
    1. Duty to men to marry
                                          i.    first wife at age 20
1.    Girl age 12-20
2.    could get 3 more
a.    IF could provide
                                                                                          i.    her own quarters
                                                                                        ii.    her own conveniences for cooking and sleeping
                                                                                       iii.    her own household slaves
    1. Islam women had important responsibilities to maintain order in society as well as the household.
                                          i.    bearing and raising children
                                        ii.    providing food and clothes
                                       iii.    instilling religious beliefs
                                       iv.    instilling social values
c.    Islamic women were more important because of their benefits to the start of the Islamic religion.
                                          i.    Muhammad’s first wife was the first follower of Islam
1.    Before Muhammad
                                          ii. Muhammad’s other wives carried on ideas of the Hadith
3.    Byzantine women are more obedient than Islamic women.
a.    Both, Islamic and Byzantium women, were rarely every recorded by men.
                                          i.    During the Abbasid period Islamic women disappeared from the public records
                                        ii.    Byzantium men felt that women were inferior. So they shouldn't be recorded.
b.    Byzantine women were more independent than Islamic women.
                                          i.    Byzantine women held some political positions.
                     ii. Islamic women were known only as religious carriers.
                 c.  Byzantine women and Islam women both have some freedom but are still obedient to men.

Works Cited
  •          Tappen, Eva M. "Internet History Sourcebooks." Internet History Sourcebooks. Paul Halsall, Oct. 1998. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1550sultanavisit.asp>.
  •          "Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History." Portrait Bust of a Woman with a Scroll [Byzantine] (66.25). N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/66.25>.
  •          "Women in World History : MODULE 1." Women in World History : MODULE 1. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. <http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/modules/lesson3/lesson3.php?s=0>.
  •          Stewart, Desmond. "Domestic Life." Great Ages of Man: Early Islam. New York: Time Life, 1967. 92-93. Print.
  •          Rautman, Marcus Louis. "Society and Economy." Daily Life in the Byzantine Empire. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2006. 26+. Print.

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