ANE 15 Week 10 Notes
ANE 15 Week 10 Notes Ancient Near East 15
Popular in Women and Power in the Ancient World
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Isabel Yin on Sunday March 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Ancient Near East 15 at University of California - Los Angeles taught by Kathlyn Cooney in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 29 views. For similar materials see Women and Power in the Ancient World in Classical Studies at University of California - Los Angeles.
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Date Created: 03/13/16
China ● Chinese Neolithic (ca. 5000 2000 B.C.E), before the advent of written records in China, only the remains of the material culture provide clues about what life might have been like for women in the early period ● Earliest phases of Chinese history, paleographic sources for the most part include inscriptions made on oracle bones Prehistory China ● Evidences of lateNeolithic mortuary evidence points to the sexual segregation of labor, the inferior social status of women in relation to men, and the inclusion of women as the focus of ritual activity in ancestral cults ● Archeologists interpret that women were designated to weave ● Evidences of infanticide better care provided for male than female children, or at least a cultural context in which the burial of women did not warrant the same ritual attention given to men as men greatly outnumbered women in ancient tombs ● However a significant number of female skeletons found buried with objects such as beads, jade bracelets, pots, ivory combs, and spindle whorls, although women were less frequently the recipients of such ritual treatment at death, they were not entirely excluded from such religious observances Government ● Political power in China was traditionally hereditary: power in each Zhou dynasty state was concentrated in the hands of a lineage whose members were regarded as legitimate rulers ● Extending kingship of politics meant that traditional female roles in the family became imbued with fantastic new potential. The wives and mothers of emperors became important players in court politics as they extended their powers from the imperial family to the empire as a whole. Some empresses dowager dominated weak or young emperors outright. ● During the Han, women began to manage many of the myriad daily activities of the inner palace. Palace ladies were organized into carefully delineated formal ranks with specific duties corresponding in structure to the extermal male bureaucracy. ● The increasing formalization of female power in the palace coincided with a marked exclusion of women from the official bureaucratic process in the government as a whole ● Since male bureaucracy fought hard to exclude palace women from the most vital functions of the government, ambitious ladies could extend their power beyond the court only by undermining the male bureaucracy’s authority. ● Female participation in palace offices evolved along with the rise of bureaucratic administration in general ● In Qin and I Ian, geneology and connections were often more respected than formal civil service rank. Moreover, imperial consorts used court intrigues to wield power outside the inner palace and did not have to limit themselves to the grand titles but minimal powers of palace bureaucracy ● The general trend toward increasing bureaucratization in early government began to contrict women’s roles in politicels. ● The uptopian Rites of Zhou rovided the theory behind this new practice of Han providing equivalent bureaucratic and noble ranks for each grade of imperial consort advocated an idealized system in which the ruler’s may palace ladies were to be distinguished as one of the nine consorts (jiupin), dynastic ladies (shifu), or female attedatns (nuyu). Although not correlated to specific bureaucratic offices, these women were to be assigned official duties within the palace depending on their rank. The nine consorts oversaw education of lowerranking concubines; dynastic ladies dedicated themselves to ritual observances; and female attendants kept track of the order of precedence in the king’s bed ● Early Western Han emperors had roughly a dozen consorts each. But by the reign of Emperor Wu the inner palace has several thousand inhabitants. In response, the number ranks for consorts expanded from eight to fourteen. ● Managing an establishment as enormous as the imperial palace required a large and highly efficient organization complex bureaucratic organs evolved to manage the innumerable details of palace life ● One palace office managed the households of empress dowager and heir apparent. Specific offices were devoted to matters such as ritual sacrifices, food preperation, textile production, music, living quarters, and marshalling the palace’s multitude of servants and eunuchs. ● In 18 BCE, the various palace departments were finally centralized under the jurisdiction of a single office Empresses ● Real female power in government derived from kingship roles, although palace ladies held lofty titles and palace offices ● The early Chinese state was ruled not by an isolated individual but by the Liu family (custom dictated that the choice of ruler was an internal matter for the imperial family to decide, not a government affair) ● This temporary void in the kinship hierarchy allowed the ruling line’s senior woman to assume the role of kin group head. She could then use this authority to choose and legitimate a new male ruler ● Powerful men might interfere with the process and imperial concubines might resort to assassination or other forms of intrigue to upset the usual order and have a son declared ruler. Nevertheless, in theory only the empress dowager had final formal approval over imperial succession ● The stabilization of Han rule gradually made the abstract institution of emperorship more important than the person who actually sat on it ● Elaborate rituals and moral teachings upheld the imperial dignity, evolving into a sophisticated ideology centered on the symbolism of the emperor ● The tradition of powerful empresses dowager began soon after the founding of the Han: Empress Lu issuing a decree usurped the emperor’s most basic prerogative, so complete was Lu’s control of government from 195 to 180 BCE that the historian Sima Qian, author of the class account of the era, did not recognize Hui as having reigned because all the decrees issued druing his socalled riegn were issued in his mother’s name ● A peasant working in fields near the Wei River during the Cultural Revolution discovered a square seal of the finest translucent jade topped with a dragon and tiger, seal’s inscription reads “Seal of the Empress Dowager” ● Han dowager regents received officials in full public view at the opposite end of the throne hall from the titular ruler and received a copy of every memorial presented to the emperor (this earned the animosity of those who believed that an adult emperor ought to rule in his own right) ● The founder of the Eastern Han dynasty, Emperor Guanwu so detested Empress Lu’s shamelessly blatant usurpation of imperial power that he ordered her ancestral tablet removed from her husband’s shrine in retribution ● During the Eastern Han, empress dowager became more involved in court politics than ever. Despite Guanwu’s deliberate desecration of Empress Lu’s memory, that powerful woman had nevertheless set a precedent for female domination that was played out repeatedly during the reigns of weak emperors throughout the remainder of the dynasty ● The empress dowager’s kinship role as the emperor’s mother entitled her to a say in affairs of state ● Men of talent saw how empresses and their relatives monopolized opportunities and pursued intrigues and they expressed their criticism in writing. The changing protrayals of Empress Lu in historyical narratives exemplify this trend Consort Kin ● During the Eastern Han, the height of power for empresses dowager, 9/13 emperors were merely puppets true authority was vested in imperial women and their kin (used weak emperors as pawns to legitimize their own authority) ● More often, however, both emperor and empress dowager were manipulated by the empress dowager’s male relatives, some of whom could claim priviledges due to their own kinship links to the emperor ● Influential experts on rituals declared that the parents of a ruler’s spouse were not considered his subjects, elevating imperial inlaws to a uniquely priviledged status ● Consort relatives gained power from the prevailing dynastic system and usually prefered t owork within it rather than overthrow it (see Wang Mang example) ● An unusually and destabilizing characteristic of Han government was the cycle of domination by successive families of imperial inlaws the importance of the mother’s role within the kinship system made this remarkable political system possible ● A family’s continued power depended on repeated marrying its women to emperors, but no single consort family was able to marry its relatives into the imperial line for more than 3 generations during the Western Han. ● When kinship ties to the ruling Lius became too weak, a consort family’s fortunes collapsed ● Empresses sometimes met an unhappy fat such as dismissal or forced suicide after rivals eliminated the entire consort clan or killed a key supporter (right after Empress Lu died, her enemies and jealous members of the Liu clan banded together to utterly annihilate the Lu family) ● During the witchcraft hysteria of 91 BCE the suicide of Empress Wei paved the way for her natal family’s complete destruction. ● Bureaucrats were the perennial enemies of consort kin ● The power of consort relatives led to the rise of other great enemy of officialdom: the eunuchs. Being the only nonrelatives regularly allowed near the empress, eunuchs inevitably shared influence with the women they served ● Eunuchs also formed a pool of ambitious wellplaced men outside the external bureaucracy who hungered for power and wealth ● EMPRESS HUANG EXAMPLE ● For women to gain power within a system of government based on patrilineal principles, they ahd to undermine its fundamental instutitions, the struggle of the mothers and wives of the emperors to gain power within a government in which legitimate authority belonged to men brought chaos upon China Empress Dowager Lu ● She bore Kaotsu Emperor Hui the Filial, who was by nature weak and softhearted ● Rarely saw the emperor and they became more estranged ● Was a woman of very strong will ● Emperor Kaotsu passed away in the Palace of Lasting Joy and the heir apparent, Emperor Hui, succeeded to the throne ● Bore the greatest hatred for Lady Ch’i and her son, the king of Chao, thus ordered her to be imprisoned later gave him poison to drink when her son wasnt around ● Empress Lu later cut of Lady Ch’i’s hands and feet, plucked out her eyes, burned her ears, gaver her a potion to drink which made her dumb, and had her thrown into the privy calling her the human pig ● Empress Lu showed her son Lady Ch’i and her son grew ill and couldn’t get out of bed later sent a messenger to report to her mother that “I will never be fit to rule the empire” thus no longer took part of affairs of state so that his illness grew worse ● Because the king of Ch’i was his elder brother, Emperor Hui seated him in the place of honor which later got her furious ● Emperor Hui the Filial passed away, mourning was announced and Empress Dowager Lu lamented but no tears fell from her eyes ● Began deliberations with the idea of making kings fo the memebers of her own Lu family (wanting to elevate the members of her family to the positions of kings) ● Still with an eye to making kings of the members of her own family, she greated positions to the sons of Emperor Hui by his ladies in waiting ● The daughter of Chang Ao, the marquis of Hsuanping had been made the empress of Emperor Hui. When she failed to give birth to a son, she pretended to be pregnant and substituting a child born to one of the emperor’s ladies in waiting, called it her own ● Fearing that the emperor would revolt in the future she kept him shut up in the Long Halls and gave it out that the emperor was gravely ill, later had him murdered in his place of confinement (king of Chao) ● Later she passed away herself, leaving the majority of her family to rule in office ● Empress Lu’s daughter was married to Chang Ao, the marquis of Hsuanping, and their daughter became the empress of Emperor Hui replace Emperor Hui’s concubines’ son and gave it to her daughter hoping to establish firm ties that would bind her family more securely to the source of power Shih chi 49: The Hereditary Houses of the Families Related to the Emperors by Marriage ● From antiquity the emperors and kings who were chosen by destiny to found new dynasties, as well as those who by birth succeeded to the throne and carried on the institutions of their predecessors, have won glory through the virtue of their own families, but have been aided also by the families related to them by marriage. Thus the Hsia dynasty arose from Emperor Yu’s marraige to the Tushan family, whole the banishment of the last Hsia ruler, Chieh, was brought about by his empress, Mohsi. Empress Dowager Po, Mother of Emperor Wen ● Father was a man of Wu whose family name was Po ● During Ch’in dynasty he had once had relations with Dame Wei, a daughter of the former royal family of the state of Wei, and bore Lady Po ● After the feudal lords revolted against the Ch’in dynasty Wei Pao was set up as king of Wei, and Dame Wei summoned her daughter to live in the palace of Wei, also took her to be physiognomized by a certain Hsu Fu and he examiend her face and said “She shall give birth to a Son of Heaven” ● After Kaotsu took over Wei Pao, Lady Po was sent to work in the Weaving Rooms, and her childhood friends Madam Kuan and Chao Tzuerh promised each other “whichever wins honor first shall not forget her friends” thus KaoTsu moved by their promise, summoned Lady Po and favored her ● Lady Po said “Last night I dreamed that an azure dragon lay upon my belly” then Kao tsu and her had a son who became the king of Tai ● Empress Dowager Lu spared her because she had rarely seen the emperor, was permitted to depart and accompany her son to Tai ● After Empress Dowager Lu died, because of Po family’s humane and upright conduct, the king of Tai was invited to come to the capital and became Emperor Wen ● Father of Dowager Po was honored with the posthumous title of Lingwen or “Divine Order Marquis”, villagers who live near his tomb set up rituals regularly ● Empress Dowager Po considered that since her mother’s family had been descendants of the kings of Wei and since she had lost her parents early, her high position as empress dowager was due in reality to the efforts of the Wei family she ordered them to be exempt from labor, and honored them with gifts Empress Dowager Tou, Mother of Emperor Ching ● Native of Kuanchin ● One of the palace ladies selected by Empress Lu to various kings ● Sent to king of Tai, he gave his attention all to her and she bore him a daughter named Piao and later two sons ● Lady Tou’s elder son was the oldest male heir, the emperor appointed him heir apparent and made her his empress Family ● The zhou dynasty families were organized as patrilineal, exogamous kin groups ● Elite women entered marriages as primary wives, secondary wives or concubines ● Spring and Autumn period elite men could have more than one primary wife at a time ● Hany dynasty however, prohibited polygamy but allowed men to acquire concubines ● Divorce was permissable and could be initiated by either spouse or at times by both kinsmen and nonkinsmen, to fulfill political but personal objectives ● The Zuo Commentary (filled wtih anecdotes concerning the schemes, intrigues, suffering, and heroic actions of women from the Psring and Autumn period. These quasihistorical narratives represetned the most repvalent literary roles of owmen) protrays elite women who, through the institution of marriage, acted as important mediators between political equals engaged in intense competition for status and power in a multistate system ● Elite women who made political marriages were expected to forge good relations between their states and those they had married into in the short run she used her influence to look after the interests of the state ruled by her natal lineage and in the long run to produce a line of heir who would be amenable to maintaining friendly and supportive relations with it Week 10 Lecture 2 Notes (bolded = slide verbatim) Ernestine Friedl ● “The greater the male monopoly on the distribution of scarce items, the stronger their control of women seems to be.” ● Unequal situation where the women has to be educated at the right time and place in order for a woman to gain power ● Scarcity and economy education is a scarce resource for Egyptians, allowing her to reach the pinnacle of political succession ● Ideological power and how it is wielded as very exclusive barring people of lower education level, nonelite: access of ideological power as quite scarce the tighter the control the more easily the woman can gain power in the region because you need to have the scarcity of resource that are controlled and but an interest in continuity in stasis in combination so much interest in keeping its system in tight control that it allows a woman to lead into power Maps and Pattern: Deeper Insights? ● If they are isolated and easily unified can gain continuity eg. Egypt when brought into the Roman Empire or Mediterranean Sea ● Empire is always a game changer even dealing the places that value continuity Nefertiti’s Transformation (Extra Credit) Nefertiti = queen married to Ahkenaten Changes her name: Neferneferauten Nefertiti as Queen Then she disappears and year 12 She became Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten as coregent elevated to a different level no succession crisis Finallyhe became Ankhkheperure Smenkhkara Djeserkheperu as sole king (is when there is a succession crisis) Cobra and a bird on her head nothing from the burial of Smenkhkare Tutankhamun’s tomb is on the right (female queen tombs are on the right) Even till now women politically powerful individuals still is preferred to have a male counterpart by her side
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