Segments in this Video

Civilization—The Ascent of Woman: Introduction (02:59)


This segment orients viewers to the topics of women in history and gender inequality.

Çatalhöyük, Turkey (02:37)

Dr. Amanda Foreman considers the "biological truth" of women as the secondary sex. She arrives in Anatolia and visits one of the first known human settlements. Archaeologists believe the society was egalitarian.

Family and Gender (03:32)

Çatalhöyük residents buried the dead under their sleeping platforms. Scientific tests revealed little gender division of labor or domestic space, and communal ties. Experts discuss the female figurine found at the site.

First Civilizations in Mesopotamia (03:23)

Society organized itself around divisions of gender as agriculture was increasingly controlled. Dr. Foreman discusses Sumerian society and the role of women. Sargon the Great made Sumer a vassal state; women began losing freedoms.

Ancient Art (04:31)

Foerman examines male dominated art of ancient civilizations. Enheduanna was the world's first named author and the daughter of King Sargon I; her hymns helped legitimize her father's rule. Enheduanna repeats her name in "The Exaltation to Inanna."

Mesopotamian Laws (03:22)

After Enheduanna, women's rights became increasingly controlled. Foreman examines the earliest known law codes and the Code of Hammurabi.

Assyrian Power (02:20)

Assyrians further reduced the legal status of women. Foreman examines art exhibiting male virility and the 112 Assyrian laws.

Assyrian Culture (03:07)

Law 40 in the Assyrian Laws is the first known veiling law. A group of Middle Eastern women discuss the law that divides women into five categories.

Legacy of the Veil (01:46)

The veil is the most pervasive legacy handed down from the ancient world. Dr. Foreman reflects on what the veil meant in ancient times.

Orenburg Plain, South Russia (03:06)

The Scythian, Pazyryk, and Sarmatia tribes wandered the Eurasian Steppes. Prof. Leonid Yablonsky discusses the role of women in nomadic culture as evidenced by archaeological finds.

Burial Items (02:29)

Foreman examines the treasures, including weapons, discovered in female nomadic graves. Yablonsky considers the role of women in Sarmatian wars. Nomadic women were recognized because of their skills and contributions.

Ukok Ice Maiden (04:32)

In 1993, archaeologists located a tomb dated from 400 BC in the Ukok Plateau; see her burial items. She is a symbol of pride for the people of the Altai Mountain region. The mummy's tattoos reveal her special status within the Pazyryk tribe.

Symbolism of the Hat (01:36)

Nomadic tribes marshaled the economy between East and West and the women played a vital role in society. The hat illustrates nomadic women's status; hats are a "portable bank account" throughout the Eurasian Steppes today.

Ancient Athenians (03:28)

Each side of the Parthenon depicts a founding myth of the city. Foreman reflects on the paranoia of Athenian society and the role of Athenian women; democracy was open only to men.

Athenian Culture (03:40)

Athenian women are nearly absent from public records, highlighting a paradox in Greek culture. Women had a collective voice in religious rituals. Foreman describes Thesmophoria.

Symbol of Male Control (05:11)

Athens adopted the custom of veiling from ancient Assyria. The veil embraced a phobia of the female body and the idea that "women's inferiority was rooted in nature."

Destructive Rationale for the Veil (01:48)

Aristotle's ideas about the female body were influential beyond the Greek world. The honor of a household is located in the female body.

Ancient Egyptian Society (03:00)

Roman Egypt portraits dated to the 1st century AD depict female social and legal emancipation. Ancient Egypt embraced the masculine and feminine. Hatshepsut was the greatest of Egypt's ruling queens; the ruling pharaoh after her defaced her monuments.

Civilization Review (01:36)

Foreman reflects on the role of women in ancient societies. Civilization meant the regulation and control of women.

Credits: Civilization—The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story (00:35)

Credits: Civilization—The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story

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Civilization—The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story

Part of the Series : The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story
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Civilization has given humanity extraordinary advances, but what does it look like from the point of view of women? Dr. Amanda Foreman explores how early civilizations dealt with the roles and status of women and asks profound questions about the legacy they left behind. In Anatolia, she visits Catalhöyük, one of the world's earliest settlements. In Mesopotamia, she explores the world's first law codes written to regulate women's status and behavior. Across Europe and the Near East, she uncovers a group of extraordinary women who created their own routes to power in male-dominated worlds. These include Enheduanna, the Ukok Ice Maiden, and Hatshepsut. She also explores the darker legacy of gender inequality in ancient Greece, whose influential ideas on the inferiority of women have cast a long shadow over women's lives across the globe to this day.

Length: 59 minutes

Item#: FMK114440

ISBN: 978-1-68272-693-8

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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