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Life in ancient Africa – gender, slavery, food, clothing

By | 2017-10-02T12:29:29+00:00 October 2nd, 2017|Africa, People|

Mary and Jesus, from Ethiopia (ca. 1500 AD) (Now in the J. Paul Getty Museum) Ancient African society didn't have the huge differences between rich and poor people that plagued Europe and Asia. North Africa, being part of the Mediterranean community, was an exception. But south of the Sahara even kings and queens were not so much richer [...]

Married women in West Asia

By | 2017-09-15T16:26:06+00:00 September 15th, 2017|People, West Asia|

Grindstone from Syria, about 1500 BC (Louvre Museum) Most married women in West Asia lived with their husband's family, so young married women took orders from their husband's mother. Sometimes the two women got along well; other times they fought the way many teenagers fight with their parents. Some families hit or starved [...]

Girls and young women in West Asia

By | 2017-09-15T15:52:13+00:00 September 15th, 2017|People, West Asia|

An enslaved woman stands behind a free Elamite woman who is spinning (600s BC) In West Asia, even more than in most other state societies all over the world, men did not allow women to do all the things that men did. People valued women less than men. In Hammurabi's Code, from 1700 BC, there's a lower penalty [...]

West Asian people – families, schools, slavery

By | 2017-09-15T14:13:10+00:00 September 15th, 2017|People, West Asia|

Ur-Nanshe, the king's chief musician in Mari, 2400s BC What we notice most about the way people lived in West Asia is the widespread oppression of women. As compared to their neighbors in Sudan, Egypt, Central Asia, the Roman Empire, or even India, West Asian women were much less likely to become rulers. [...]

Slavery in ancient Rome

By | 2017-09-04T10:25:39+00:00 September 4th, 2017|People, Romans|

A Roman shepherd, probably a slave (Istanbul, 500s AD) Many Roman people were owned by other people, or by the Roman government, as slaves. Because the Romans didn't really have hourly wage work, or salaried work, as we do now, men and women who didn't own their own land and didn't own businesses of their own were often enslaved. [...]

Roman schools – education in ancient Rome

By | 2017-09-04T10:20:52+00:00 September 4th, 2017|People, Romans|

A Roman teacher home-schooling, about 200 AD Most Roman kids did not go to school. Like their parents, they worked in the fields hoeing and weeding and plowing as soon as they were old enough. Their parents needed them to work, to get enough to eat. They did not learn to read or write or do math. Some rich boys, [...]

Women in ancient Rome – gender and power

By | 2017-09-04T10:15:54+00:00 September 4th, 2017|People, Romans|

Roman woman, about 50 AD. The sculptor has made her look silly on purpose to make fun of old women Roman women lived under many restrictions that did not apply to Roman men. Roman women knew that men were treating them unfairly, and they did not like living under special rules. We can [...]

Ancient Roman people – who lived in the Roman Empire?

By | 2017-09-04T09:25:00+00:00 September 4th, 2017|People, Romans|

A barmaid brings a drink to two men sitting on chairs. The words show the men arguing about whose drink it is. (Caupona of Salvius, Pompeii, 79 AD) The Roman Empire was so big that there were a lot of different people with different cultures living in it. So you can't really say there was one [...]

Roman high schools – education in ancient Rome

By | 2017-09-04T08:56:00+00:00 September 4th, 2017|People, Romans|

A fragment of Homer's Iliad on papyrus Only the richest and smartest Roman boys went on from elementary school to high school. Girls generally couldn't go to high school, but sometimes they could be homeschooled. Most towns didn't have a high school, so in order to go to high school you had to leave home [...]

Roman freedmen – slavery in ancient Rome

By | 2017-09-04T08:46:13+00:00 September 4th, 2017|People, Romans|

A gravestone for a freedwoman, put up by her husband, who was also a freedman (ILS 1221, Rome, 80 BC) Freedmen and freedwomen were people in ancient Rome who had once been enslaved but had managed to get legally free. Sometimes they were freed because they were getting too old to work and the people [...]