THE SUBJUGATION OF WOMEN AND THE ORIGIN OF THE PATRIARCHAL FAMILY


“Riane Eisler says the during the long transition from matristic to the generalization of patriarchy there were forms, regulations and institutions resulting from the pacts between both ways of living, which reflected the correlation of strengths in each different situation and time. Women, Eisler explains, were prone to negotiation to avoid wars and deaths. In Bachofen´s opinion, the first form of marriage, the demetric marriage, was a proposition made by women to mitigate the sexual violence of men. Some opted for a ‘guerrilla’ society (the amazons), some matriarchal governments erected walls around their cities. The transition didn´t last some few years or centuries but, depending on the place, between 3000 and 4000 years; with times of war and ceasefires, and times of peace settled by establishing borders, norms of coexistence and neighbouring, until the ancient lifestyle remained in very isolated areas (as in the Caribbean up til the XV century) or in the catacombs (cults of the Goddess, witchcraft...)”   Casilda Rodrigañez, ‘El Asalto al Hades’

 

a) Mesopotamia:

 

“The first written law is known as the Hammurabi’s Code, which is engraved (and not by chance) on a huge stone phallus over 6 feet high; dating from 1800 BC, it can be seen at the Louvre Museum in Paris. According to this code, women were already male´s property, and their social stratification was based on the category of children they were meant to have; if latter (the progeny) were meant to be heir, slave or substitute, they (women) had to be spouse, slave or substitute.

 

The concept of substitute is very good evidence of the economic liberalism and flexibility of staff to improve the efficiency and productivity of the patrimony. Unlike it happened in Hebrew society, their heir wasn´t necessarily the first male born of the first wife, but the father´s favourite. This way it promotes the mother to educate her sons according to the desires of the patriarch and secures the patrimonial continuity in a time when marriage didn´t exist and the roll of the spouse wasn´t consolidated enough to guarantee the proper education. When the father chose the heir, his mother became the lords spouse and reached the highest rank a woman could.

 

Later, it appeared the system of Primogeniture: […] Perhaps the Firstborn system prevailed because the struggle to get the father´s favour was too debilitating, becoming dangerous for the continuity of patrimony and lineage. The firstborn system is established when a suitable level of submission of female is achieved, and there are enough guarantees (backed up by the father and the woman´s family: coming from a good family is a quality for a good marriage, not only for the substance of the patrimony but also for the education it confers) for the fulfilment of her task, so she can be spouse prior to give birth. That´s why, till very recent times, there´s been such an emphasis in the dominant classes for their sons to choose the mother of their own children among the families within their own rank, which secures the training of the next generation. The system of primogeniture consolidates the institution of marriage.” Casilda Rodrigañez y Ana Cachafeiro, ‘La represión del deseo materno y la génesis del estado de sumisión inconsciente’

 

b) Israel:

 

“The Levite priesthood enforced patriarchal custom as tribal law, with the result that any infringement of sexual taboos was punished out of all proportion to the offence. Woman belonged to one of two men, their father or their husband. The morality of the earlier era, whereby children could be born to temple priestesses and be supported by the temple, was suppressed.

 

So also, although with great difficulty, was the ritual of sexual intercourse on special occasions, wich was believed to contribute to the earth´s fertility. Husbands could have several wives and could discard their wives without obligation to support them, but wives might have only one husband and adultery was punished with death by stoning. Every woman who was betrothed or married could be stoned to death if she was raped, unless the rape took place in the countryside where her calls for help went unheard (Deut. 22:26-7). The injuction: Do not prostitute they daughter to cause her to be a whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness (Lev. 19:29) was a directive to stop the hebrews following the baby lonian, and probably also the canaanite, custom whereby a girl before marriage offeres her virginity to the goddess or became a temple priestesses. There were to be no Hebrew priestesses. Any Levite priest whose daughter was discovered following the old customs was to burn her" Anne baring and Jules Cashford, "The myth of the Goddess"

 

c) Greece:

 

Francisca Martin-Cano believes that the founding of the patriarchal marriage had some consequences:

 

“-The establishment of the patrilinear legacy, by which the property of the farming land was inherited by the male descendants, caused women to loose access to the produce of the land and made them unable to support themselves.

 

- Having no other economical value, women were worth in relation to their capabilities of spouse and having many children. Given her exclusive roll as procreator of the patriarchal family, the spouse would be always pregnant […] Kneissler says of the Greek patriarchal societies: when women weren´t already pregnant their husbands merely visited them three times a month to fulfil their marital duties.

 

- It was times of Cecrops when the patriarchal family and the institution of marriage were established in Athens. This event is told as a punishment to women for the battle in which Athena defeated Neptune and giving her name to the city. To calm Neptune down who also wanted to give his name to the city, Cecrops, father of Athena, imposed upon women the next three punishments: a) Deprive them from their right to vote; b) forbid the descendants to carry the name of their mother and c) divest them of their right of citizenship, being but mere spouses of the Athenians. Since this patriarchal punishment, children would bear the name of their fathers (patrilinear), when prior to that they had their mothers (matrilinear).” Francisca Martin-Cano.

 

d) Rome:

 

“For the Romans the word family is not applied to the marital couple nor their children, but just to their servants. Famulus means domestic slave, and familia the group of slaves owned by the same man. In times of Gaius, the ‘family’, id est patrimonium (that is the ‘patrimony’), was passed on by a legal will. This expression was invented by the Romans to name a new social organism, the head of which owned the wife, the children and a certain number of slaves, with the custody and the rights of life and dead over all of them.” Wikilingue

 

“Opposing the muttertum (Bachofen) and group reproduction, the concept of lineage is established and the rules of familiar hierarchy, of the vertical and individual transmission of property are fixed. The son is not the child of the womb (in a sense of physical provenance) which belongs to the group, but the filium, he who is chosen for following his father. In the patriarchal family the mother belongs to the father, and it is in a sense of property, and her purpose is to acknowledge him as her superior and obey his orders, inherit his goods and help developing his patrimony.” Casilda Rodrigañez.