AHC/PC: Women equal in Athenian democracy

Some anecdotes of women losing sports competitions is a genuinely inane thing to assess female combat capabilities from.
If you'd prefer, we can see how female Olympic athletes compare to male high school students across a variety of track and field events. Or we can look at research into the muscle mass and bodily strength of men and women. Or we can simply ask ourselves why so few societies employed female soldiers in any significant numbers, when doing so would have doubled the size of their manpower pool.
Right, so the statistics we have suggest that the Scythians were substantially more integrated than modern Americans.
The statistics we have suggest that a comparatively large number of Scythian noblewomen were buried with weapons. Saying that they therefore rode into battle with the men, or that the Scythians had gender equality, goes beyond what the statistics say.
 
If you'd prefer, we can see how female Olympic athletes compare to male high school students across a variety of track and field events. Or we can look at research into the muscle mass and bodily strength of men and women.
Those are also inane ways to assess female combat strength. I will also note that the presentation in your first link is deceptive--the difference between the high school finalists and male Olympic athletes in the 2016 100 meter dash is about half a second. Running specifically is a poor example because males are slightly taller on average, and no one is going to be sprinting well weighed down with military equipment.

There's a reason that actual militaries have been lifting prohibitions on front line combat service recently. There have been a lot of societies in which women couldn't do all sorts of things they are actually very competent at.
Or we can simply ask ourselves why so few societies employed female soldiers in any significant numbers, when doing so would have doubled the size of their manpower pool.
Your argument is circular. You're attempting to argue that female Scythians weren't in combat in significant numbers because few societies employed female soldiers in any significant numbers. But you'd raise the same objections to any evidence of female soldiers. So the evidence that there weren't female soldiers is... that there weren't female soldiers.

You are also, of course, ignoring the existence of sexism as a factor influencing those societies.
The statistics we have suggest that a comparatively large number of Scythian noblewomen were buried with weapons. Saying that they therefore rode into battle with the men, or that the Scythians had gender equality, goes beyond what the statistics say.
So you're completely ignoring the multiple quotes from the study I cited proving that Scythian females were engaging in combat (and you're assuming they're all noblewomen for... some reason), then? How quickly you ignore inconvenient facts.
 
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Aphrodite

Banned
Maybe they could equate childbirth with fighting in war, back then it was just as dangerous.
The Spartans did. A Spartan man would only have his name inscribed on his tombstone if he died in battle. A Spartan woman who died in childbirth got the same honor.

In a preindustrial society, the gender roles are pretty set. Childbirth and child care (think mammary glands) dictate that women stay home. Women are not going into battle.
 
maybe something like the dahomey all-female army arises independently. If theres a society where a majority of men die off it seems a possibility. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahomey_Amazons
it depends a lot on the situation, paraguay had the vast majority of its male population killed and did not allow women in the army in the long run.
the amazons in my view were more like the SS ( or soviet commissariat) than the army itself (even though they were in the late 19th 1/3rd century). They had great freedom/power (touching the king's wives was a death sentence), and were seen by dahomey as better warriors than men (but this seems to be due to their importance in the culture than facts in itself). With dayome attacking weaker enemies to get slaves it's hard to say how good they were. They lost badly to the French troops but must have been effective enough to last as long as they did (though I don't know if that was born out of the constant shortage of men and the kingdom's slave economy).
 
I think inheritance rules would be big impediments. Since sons could inherit from their fathers (although not inherit citizenship if mothers is not citizens). Men could always bought slave woman/go to war to capture woman. That make woman "cheaper" and more replaceable.

Perhaps some cities would need to develop/adopt matrilineality. With men's heir is his sister's children. That would make woman more precious since slave woman couldn't be integrated into society.
 
Perhaps some cities would need to develop/adopt matrilineality. With men's heir is his sister's children. That would make woman more precious since slave woman couldn't be integrated into society.
for this to happen, the greek culture has to change so much that the culture ceases to be greek to become something else.
 
no one is going to be sprinting well weighed down with military equipment.
the idea of this race is to strengthen the individual, while nobody will run with the same speed as they would without the weight, to say that it is a wrong way to evaluate is dishonest. There's nothing wrong with women not having the physical capabilities of a man, it's just a fact of life.
There's a reason that actual militaries have been lifting prohibitions on front line combat service recently.
The most recent case that I remember is from the USA, but in this case it was more political than anything else.
There have been a lot of societies in which women couldn't do all sorts of things they are actually very competent at.
yes it is unfortunate
Your argument is circular. You're attempting to argue that female Scythians weren't in combat in significant numbers because few societies employed female soldiers in any significant numbers. But you'd raise the same objections to any evidence of female soldiers. So the evidence that there weren't female soldiers is... that there weren't female soldiers.
Wouldn't that in itself be proof?
The evidence that there are no unicorns is the fact that there are no unicorns.
So you're completely ignoring the multiple quotes from the study I cited proving that Scythian females were engaging in combat
There is also some anatomical evidence from Pyzyrak sites could prove that female had directly participated in the warfare, and they have become the victims of cruel
warfare. But this would not indicate whether, for example, in times of war the family would go with the man to the war camp (historically common), if they were great warriors or if they helped in emergencies (common in history). One of the women had suffered injury in her right to a dagger, which means this woman was probably killed by the dagger, she was the victim of warfare, but there is no robust evidence to convince her that she was a warrior.
Historically migratory peoples tend to allow women more freedom due to the need for more manpower in the tribe. We cannot say whether or not there is a great culture of female warriors in this region, there are indications that some of them were together with the warriors (but the reason for their role is not known), they may, for example, be there more like an "organized crowd" " for the troops for example.

But as a whole it makes sense not to involve women in conflicts considering that biologically speaking they are the most important resource for the continuation of a people. For a tribe with 100 individuals to lose ten men is bad, 10 women a tragedy. Men are stronger and easier to replace than women. If you look at it biologically, it doesn't make much sense to risk the resource that literally keeps the community growing. In this case, I am seeing more in the biological and selection sense. Normative structures are usually maintained due to their reproductive and survival success.

Paraguay lost between 70-90% of its total male population in a war, the country managed to survive this calamity by becoming polygamous temporarily, a nation cannot survive a loss of 70-90% of its female population. (A woman can only get pregnant from one man and is out of commission for +- 1 year, in return a man can get pregnant as many women as he has and still function 100%. This makes men less valuable as a resource).
 
Those are also inane ways to assess female combat strength. I will also note that the presentation in your first link is deceptive--the difference between the high school finalists and male Olympic athletes in the 2016 100 meter dash is about half a second. Running specifically is a poor example because males are slightly taller on average, and no one is going to be sprinting well weighed down with military equipment.
Women consistently perform worse than men in activities requiring strength and endurance, and the difference usually isn't even close. Strength and endurance are important in battle. Therefore, etc.

Also, I note you completely ignored the part about scientific studies consistently finding that men have significantly greater body strength than women. I wonder why that might be.
There's a reason that actual militaries have been lifting prohibitions on front line combat service recently.
Yes, politics. At any rate, it's not that including women increases effectiveness:

"The Marines created a battalion of 100 female and 300 male volunteers. During the past year, they trained in North Carolina and California, taking part in realistic combat exercises.

"All-male squads, the study found, performed better than mixed gender units across the board. The males were more accurate hitting targets, faster at climbing over obstacles, better at avoiding injuries.

"The Marine study says its main focus is maximum combat effectiveness, because it means fewer casualties. The Marines have not said whether the study's results will lead them to ask for a waiver that bars women from ground combat jobs.

"Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he hopes to open all combat jobs to women."


Of note are some of the findings regarding female physical strength:

  • Anaerobic power: Females possessed 15% less power than males; the female top 25th percentile overlaps with the bottom 25th percentile for males.
  • Anaerobic capacity: Females possessed 15% less capacity; the female top 10th percentile overlaps with the bottom 50th percentile of males.
  • Aerobic capacity (VO2Max): Females had 10% lower capacity; the female top 10th percentile overlaps with the bottom 50th percentile of males.
I hope you're not going to try and argue that a study commissioned by the US military for the express purpose of comparing mixed-sex units with all-male ones is an "inane way to assess female combat strength".
You are also, of course, ignoring the existence of sexism as a factor influencing those societies.
It's highly unlikely that so many societies, which differed in so many other respects, would all happen to be sexist in the exact same way. Particularly given that many of them were continually engaged in fairly brutal struggles for survival, when even the smallest advantage could make the difference between victory and defeat.
So you're completely ignoring the multiple quotes from the study I cited proving that Scythian females were engaging in combat
As I said above, the study proved no such thing.
(and you're assuming they're all noblewomen for... some reason)
The graves cited included large numbers of grave goods, which is generally a sign that the occupant was a high-status individual.
 
Can we table the warrior women debate for the time being? Its detracting from the main point of the thread; which is creating a greek polis that grants political right to at least some groups of women. There are more paths to this than military service; wealth/property has been mentioned and explored some, but a religious reason has not been yet.
 
Can we table the warrior women debate for the time being? Its detracting from the main point of the thread; which is creating a greek polis that grants political right to at least some groups of women. There are more paths to this than military service; wealth/property has been mentioned and explored some, but a religious reason has not been yet.
If there is some kind of "public officials can vote, regardless of other restrictions" tradition, and "members of the priesthood" count as public officials (which they did in e.g. Rome), I suppose you could extend that to "priestesses count as public officials, ergo they can vote".
 
If there is some kind of "public officials can vote, regardless of other restrictions" tradition, and "members of the priesthood" count as public officials (which they did in e.g. Rome), I suppose you could extend that to "priestesses count as public officials, ergo they can vote".
Going off of that, would it be possible to have a female priesthood which exerts strong influence on the state? It wouldn't be legal equality, but it would empower women in the polis to have more rights, I think.
 
Going off of that, would it be possible to have a female priesthood which exerts strong influence on the state? It wouldn't be legal equality, but it would empower women in the polis to have more rights, I think.
Many things are possible. There have been plenty of societies with female priests that influenced the state (Egypt, Rome), property being passed down through the mother's line, and (yes, even if @Fabius Maximus wants to deny current archaeology) female warriors. That these things happened cannot reasonably be disputed--I think our best way to come up with a less sexist Athens is to ask why those elements either weren't present in Athens, or why they weren't effective at letting women carve out more of a role in the polis.
 
Going off of that, would it be possible to have a female priesthood which exerts strong influence on the state? It wouldn't be legal equality, but it would empower women in the polis to have more rights, I think.
having an exclusive group that has more freedom because of its religious importance does not mean that the rest have that freedom. Specific cases do not make general norms. To be honest, I don't think any pre-modern civilization will have women being equal to men. You have powerful women or groups of women, but having women as a whole have the same equality as men is almost impossible. Now having a religious group (like artemis hunters or something along those lines) is possible but it won't make it equal for everyone. To be honest, it makes sense for the group to prevent women as a whole from gaining more political power, thus having a monopoly.
 
There have been plenty of societies with female priests that influenced the state (Egypt, Rome)
ok, but they are not the exception, not the rule. a woman priest having influence does not make women as a whole have influence
, property being passed down through the mother's line
Matrilineality is rare, very rare. You have in Europe that I remember Sparta and Scotland and that's it. In Asia you have about 3 or 4 cases in Africa the same thing (America too). They are rare cases that are remembered for their uniqueness.
female warriors
again they are not the norm and occur in some societies under extreme pressure (such as dahomey). Now queens or or a few high ranking females is more common (but still relatively rare, being usually remembered for this factor and little else, Boudica is an example of that poor warrior and strategist who is remembered for being a warrior queen)
a less sexist Athens is to ask why those elements either weren't present in Athens, or why they weren't effective at letting women carve out more of a role in the polis.
perhaps lack of need, as a whole in cases women have more space in society comes from the need for more manpower in a generational way.
 
my idea for this to happen would be something similar to the pressure suffered by dahomey a city state that preys on weaker opponents with a lack of generational manpower creating space for women to help as auxiliaries in the army and be the bureaucratic body of the city with men almost exclusively served in the army (or in security) and more difficult manual jobs being done by slaves. With a function-by-genre division, men serve in security (army and navy) and some bureaucratic functions (higher bureaucracy and academic staff). With women serving in the bureaucracy, as representatives of their families and in the city's internal trade (external trade is handled by men). Basically, the inner part of the city is managed by a bureaucratic body that is composed of an absolute majority of women and external issues of the city are handled by men.
 
ok, but they are not the exception, not the rule. a woman priest having influence does not make women as a whole have influence
Hence why I think the more valuable question is, "How can these roles be leveraged to carve out more of a place for women in Athenian society?" not "Can they exist?" The answer to the latter is clearly yes.
Matrilineality is rare, very rare. You have in Europe that I remember Sparta and Scotland and that's it. In Asia you have about 3 or 4 cases in Africa the same thing (America too). They are rare cases that are remembered for their uniqueness.
Nearly 20% of human societies in the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample are matrilineal. It isn't the majority, but it isn't very rare. I would also like to say that this result came up in the first page of Googling "matrilineality."
That is grossly misrepresenting what they have been saying, and your continued aggressiveness amd attacks on their character is not helpful to the discussion at hand. Please stop
Dude, he said Scythian women did not engage in combat despite forensic evidence indicating that female skeletons with head wounds got them from right-handed opponents during active fighting, and that other female skeletons had bone wounds from warding off blows with their left arm while attacking with their right. I quoted that material. If this forensic evidence was present in a male skeleton no one would blink before declaring it clear proof that they were a warrior; it's a huge double standard. There are few better sources of evidence of a skeleton being of a warrior.

That sort of thinking is a problem in these discussions. It's hard to have a discussion about women being more equal in Athenian democracy if even clear archaeological evidence of blurred gender roles is just dismissed out of hand. This shoddy historical reasoning happens virtually whenever we have discussion touching on Western society's knee-jerk biases. And how can we adequately discuss alternate history if the biases that came about due to our own history prevent us from acknowledging things that historically happened?
 
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