[LMB] Men and Women, and Direction-Finding (was OT: Joke, Apologies)

Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com
Mon Mar 23 01:06:56 GMT 2009

> paal at gis.net wrote:
> > The Athenians and ancient Romans, who did NOT have
> > cultures which enfranchised--disenfranchised, rather-women, had
> > Artemia/Diana the hunt goddess.  There are also much older goddesses of > > wild animals and hunts. If it were men which went out and hunted and 
> > not women, wherever could the concept of huntress goddesses not 
> > only have come from, but ever even been accepted?!  

The theory I have generally heard, and this is in general, not just in relation to Athenians, is that historically the male-dominant culture (usually thought to be Indo-Europeans) took over the location and absorbed the local gods. So that a culture in which women were free (to varying degrees) and which had powerful female gods, would be subsumed in a male-dominant society that those gods would join the pantheon, or would be come associated with the gods they already have - i.e., what was seen as one goddess would have two gods, one from the old culture, one from the new.  Sometimes the goddesses would lose status, sometimes gain. 

Another theory - this one my own - is that religions have deep and old roots, and the Athenean gods are based on earlier gods, such as are equally seen in Sanskrit-based cutlures - regardless of who conquered whom.  There was plenty of cultural imperialism going on, but that isn't the only way religions spread.  Travellers set up shrines and temples, tell stories, convert others - and religion was more fluid then than it has been in the past two thousand years.

Howard said:

> But I have read of a more scientific study that resulted in
> someone noting that Mediterranean temples were generally for
> goddesses until literacy came along - then they switched to gods. 

Can you cite the source? I'd like to read that, and see which ones they were thinking of.

I also suspect there is not just one dynamic at work here, but many. And that it was different in different places. 


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