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ANAHITA  December 1999

ANAHITA December 1999

Subject:

From:

Deborah Ferber <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 27 Dec 1999 10:37:49 -0800

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Robin wrote:

"If there is no evidence to support matriarchal cultures in prehistory, what
evidence is there to support the assumption that these were patriarchal
cultures?  Since we are dealing with a time period where written records are
not available and we have to base our interpretations on the analysis of the
material remains, what specifically is there that concludes that these
cultures were dominated by men?"

I liked Max Dashu's answer to your question ( :In the case of Crete before
the IE conquest, none.)

I think this is a very important question.  It is important because if we
wish to sift through the remains of the prehistoric past, we need to at
least begin with clear minds. It is a daunting task.  It feels so odd to me,
as a woman, to constantly bump up aganist the patriarchial bias among
honored acedemics.  For example, in my Minoan research, I read a paper by N.
Platon, who was the director of the archeolgical excavations at the palace
ruins in Zakro, Crete.  He proposes the existence of a theocratic basis for
the Minoan society and state, . . . "the leading figure of which was a
priest-king."

His supporting evidence for the priest-king is a figure depicted on a seal,
which was indentified with a full-length figure of a young man on a fresco
at the end of a procession corridor, and another figure that looked similar
found in a shaft grave in Mycenae!

In the museum of Heraklion, and in books with photos of the artifacts, I've
seen many hundreds of depictions of the Goddess or her human priestesses,
associated with the palace or in fresoces where they were seated or stood on
a high dias above everyone else.

I guess for this reason, I am driven to seek evidence for a matriarchy.  Not
because there has to be a domination-type leadership, not because the men of
our present patriarchy want to keep us busy trying to "prove" them wrong --
but because I want to know what women with power looked like!  Minoan Crete
provides a tantalizing glimpse . . .


Deborah Ferber
Seattle Washington, USA

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