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The City of Women: Women’s Places in Ancient Israeute Cities

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Chapter Summary

For modern men in Western Europe or the USA women in the Near East are immediately associated with veils and hareems. Both of these are aspects of a deeply-felt need to seclude women from public life and to keep them away as much as possible from aggressive looks, remarks and gestures, or even pawing of strangers. It is remarkable that the Israelite city of biblical times is always described as a city of men, even by modern female authors. If the author's conclusion is right that the "city of women" had at least two poles; the family-house and the source of water, then the connecting area was also important. This consisted of the streets and "squares", and, for ladies of some status, the roofs and the city-wall. It is not difficult to imagine the situation in the narrow, crowded, muddy and slippery streets and alleys of an Iron Age city.

Keywords: biblical times; city of women; hareems; Iron Age; Israelite city



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