Male Dominance in Sumerian Civilization

1. Introduction

Male dominance has been a problem since the ancient Sumerian civilization, which encouraged the subordination of women to men and ensured their oppression in the name of religion. The problem of male dominance is compounded by the fact that ancient Sumerian society was extremely patriarchal, with men holding all the power and women being largely relegated to the role of concubines, slaves, or property. This essay will explore the various ways in which Sumerian civilization encouraged male dominance and the oppression of women.

2. Sumerian religion and male dominance

The ancient Sumerian religion was based on the belief that the gods were male and that they required human males to serve them. This meant that men were considered to be closer to the gods than women and that they were more deserving of religious worship and service. Furthermore, the Sumerian religion dictated that women were to be subordinate to men both in this life and in the afterlife. In other words, women were seen as being inferior to men both spiritually and religiously.

This religious subordination of women helped to ensure their social and political subordination as well. Since men were seen as being closer to the gods, they were also seen as being more worthy of political power. This inevitably led to a society in which men held all the power and women were given very little agency or control over their own lives.

3. Women as concubines and slaves

Another way in which Sumerian civilization encouraged male dominance was through its treatment of women as concubines and slaves. In ancient Sumer, it was not uncommon for wealthy men to have multiple wives as well as concubines. Concubines were typically young women who had been acquired through war or trade and who served their masters sexually and domestically. They were considered to be property rather than people and they had very little rights or protections under the law.

Similarly, women could also be enslaved if they could not afford to pay their debts or if they committed certain crimes. Slavery was a very common practice in ancient Sumer and it ensured that women had even less control over their own lives than concubines did. Like concubines, slaves were considered to be property rather than people and they had virtually no rights or protections under the law.

4. Women in the adoption process

Another way in which ancient Sumerian civilization encouraged male dominance was through its treatment of women in the adoption process. In ancient times, it was not uncommon for families to give up their daughters for adoption if they could not afford to care for them. Adopted daughters were typically marry off to wealthy families in order to increase their social status or to pay off debts. This meant that adopted daughters often had no choice in whom they married and that they could be forced into arranged marriages with much older men.

Furthermore, adopted daughters were not considered to be fully members of their adoptive families. This meant that they could be treated like property rather than people and that they had very little say in how they were treated or what happened to them. Adopted daughters were often mistreated and abused by their adoptive families and they had no legal recourse if this happened. Consequently, many adopted daughters ended up leading lives of misery and oppression.
5. Conclusion


Male dominance in Sumerian civilization was manifested through various means, including economic, political, and social control.

The origins of this male domination are thought to be rooted in the fact that Sumerian society was largely built around agriculture, which required a great deal of physical labor. As such, men were typically seen as being better suited for this type of work and were therefore given more power and authority.

This male domination had a significant impact on Sumerian women, who were often relegated to second-class status within society. They were denied many basic rights and privileges, and their lives were generally much harder than those of their male counterparts.

There was some resistance to this male domination from both Sumerian women and other groups within society; however, it was generally not successful in overturning the existing power structure.

The rise of cities and civilizations led to a change in the power dynamics between men and women in Sumerian society; as these new urban centers became increasingly important economically, women began to gain greater access to education and opportunities for upward mobility.

Female deities did play a role in reinforcing or challenging male dominance in Sumerian religion; however, their overall impact is difficult to determine due to the limited available evidence.

The experience of Sumeria provides valuable insights into gender relations more broadly speaking; specifically, it highlights the importance of economic factors in shaping these relationships