You may wish to read the introduction of this series Trojan Women: Women's Roles in Ancient Anatolia and Mycenaean Greece or Part I What Hittite and Mycenaean Women "Did" or Part II A Woman's View From the Top: Hittite and Mycenaean Queens or Part III The Hittite Hasawa: Priestess, Therapist, Healer, Diviner, and Midwife or Part IV Hittite Women as Reflected in the Laws of Marriage, Adultery and Rape
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“You are a woman and think like one. You know nothing at all.” (Hittite Myths, Hoffner, 83) So, in a Hittite myth, says a very grouchy husband to his wife when she has asked yet again about his inability to get her pregnant (or so I interpret the extant portion). Does this show that Hittite men had a decidedly low view of women? Given the context, I’d hesitate to draw too broad a conclusion.
Another pronouncement from Hittite mythology on the state of women’s thinking and supposedly subservient role occurs in a tale about a fisherman who desperately wants to have a child but hasn’t succeeded (hmm, there seems to be a theme here when men are dumping on women). He finds an abandoned baby and brings it home to his wife. He tells her to cry out and pretend she’s in labor so that the neighbors will think she has delivered the baby herself.
|Hittite Goddess and Child 15-13 century BC in the Metropolitan Museum photo (Copyright PHGCOM Wikimedia Commons)|
These two passages from Hittite mythology offer a perspective into the Hittite mind, but it’s a fragmentary view from a specialized context. However, since we rarely or never get the “big picture” of ancient cultures, this is a worthwhile and pretty amusing tidbit when considering the role of women in ancient Anatolian culture.
Again we welcome Judith, who brings us this final installment of her fascinating series of articles. Judith is a novelist and book reviewer who sets her historical fiction and mysteries in the period of the Trojan War and the Hittite Empire. She blogs on these and other topics, as well as reviewing books, here. She can also be found on Twitter and on Facebook. Thank you again, Judith, for this look at women in the ancient world.