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ANAHITA  January 1998

ANAHITA January 1998

Subject:

Re: Age of Menarche

From:

Francis Girard <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 29 Jan 1998 17:32:53 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (96 lines)

Considering the average age of menarche in my area of the world is
around 12, not 16, I do not see how we can determine the age of menarche
in Alexendria (C4-5) by comparing it to Rome or any other region, unless
the surrounding geographical conditions as well as sociological are very
close. As to the relation to the age of marriage and that of menarche, I
agree with "Sheila Shiki y Michaels" that they are irrelevant, since it
is sometimes acceptable in ancient cultures to marry young children.

Francis Girard



>-----Original Message-----
>From:  [log in to unmask] [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
>Sent:  Thursday, January 29, 1998 4:27 PM
>To:    Multiple recipients of list ANAHITA
>Subject:       Re: Age of Menarche
>
>Twenty years ago, when I lived in India, I was told that the great
>celebration
>in a South Indian girl's life was her 16th birthday.  It was said to be the
>age of menarche.  Since that roughly seemed analogous to the Sweet 16 parties
>of my own youth-hood and the great celebrations of middle-class girls in
>South
>& Central America, I thought there might be something in it.  Also, at that
>time, the India-wide life expectancy, I was told,  was roughly that of
>ancient
>Rome, about 28 years.
>
>I do think that the respondants are right, & that any number we get will come
>with numerical or other cultural expectations, as the South Indian
>celebration
>might.
>
>As for the age of menarch & marriage being co-incident, that is not reliable,
>either, as we know that in many countries the masses of poor girls are given
>to their marriage families as soon as they can work.  It is a matter of
>economics, rather than biology.  Unfortunately, girls around the world are
>giving birth before they even begin their menses.  (Not within this purview
>are the girls of five or so who are being sold into prostitution.)
>
>This is to say, that in the absence of information which is not culturally
>weighted, my own rule of thumb has been something-like-16, unless there is
>evidence to the contrary, such as graves of younger mothers (i.e., of upper &
>middle-class girls).
>
>Sheila Shiki y Michaels
>
>In a message dated 98-01-29 01:07:59 EST, you write:
>
><< General theory (Tanner et al) would have it that it came later, even
> much later than it does in the western world today.
>
> Does anyone have references that would provide more direct evidence? >>
>
><< shouldn't there be a reasonable assumption that the
>minimum age for marriage (in Roman law at least) is probably an indication
>of the minimum age of menarche at that time as well?>>
>
><<But I think the problem is that works such as this relies on medical
>writers' statements of when it SHOULD occur, which are based on ideas
>about the division of the human life cycle into 7 year units - hence 'the
>14th year' as the stated norm for menarche. From 'modern' work we
>would indeed expect menarche later than this. This turn suggests that the
>medical texts state the ideal, and then - perhaps - intervene with
>therapies to create that ideal when it is not found.>>
>
>----------------------------------------------------
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>Diotima's address: http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/gender.html

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