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Beyond Hearth and Home: Women in the Public Sphere in Neo-Assyrian Society
State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume XXI
by Sherry Lou Macgregor

Helsinki 2012 • 175 x 250 mm • Pp. xvi + 154
Paper • $59.00 • ISBN-13 978-952-10-1337-9 • ISBN-10 952-10-1337-0

Although the impression may still linger that Assyrian women are hidden and unavailable for study, nothing could be farther from the truth. There is a rich treasure trove of textual, visual and archaeological information that gives a detailed and coherent picture of women in the temples and palaces of Assyria. This study reveals that women in Assyria were definitely in the public arena and their lives were not as circumscribed or limited as has been previously supposed. The positions they held in palaces and temples frequently required administrative abilities, business acumen and literacy. In the temples women participated in public rituals and female prophets revealed messages to heads of state. Female musicians performed at public events while foreign female musicians were popular and much sought after. Royal women had names and images displayed in public. Women in the temples and palaces of Assyria generated great respect from the king himself, his circle of advisors and Assyrian and foreign officials. They actively and noticeably participated in the “great institutions” of Assyria. This study makes an important contribution to the increasing number of publications on women in other areas of Mesopotamia and the larger ancient Mediterranean world.

With indices, bibliography and 15 illustrations.

Brief Table of Contents

     Introduction
     I. Temple Women
          Women Cultic Officiants
          Female Prophets and Prophecy
     II. Musical Women
          Textual Evidence
          Visual Evidence
          Conclusion
     III. Palace Women
          Households
          Royal Women
          Sammuramat
          Tašmetum-šarrat
          Ešarra-hammat
          Libbali-šarrat
          Conclusion
     IV. Naqia/Zakutu – Queen Extraordinaire
          Two Names: Naqia and Zakutu
          Titles
          Religious Activities
          Political Arena
          Personal Information
          Three Theories
          Visual Image: The Bronze Relief
          Loyalty Oath
          Conclusion
     Conclusion
     Bibliography
     Indices

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