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  ― 03 ―

Ancient Egypt and Chaldea.

The oldest records which exist are the inscriptions on the temples, tombs, and monuments of Egypt; and on the carved diorite statues and stones, and the inscribed clay-cylinders of Chaldea: both of which conclusively establish that at a period from one to three thousand years before the Bible Chronology there existed in the Valley of the Nile and on the Plain of Mesopotamia a high order of civilization, in which women took an active and prominent part.

Mr. Samuel Laing in his “Human Origins,” says:—“The position of Women is one of the surest tests of an advanced civilization; for in rude times and among savage races force reigns supreme, and the weaker sex is always the slave or drudge of the stronger one. It is only when intellectual and moral considerations are firmly established that the claims of Women to an equality begin to be recognised. Now, in the earliest records of domestic and political life in Egypt, we find this equality more fully recognised than it is perhaps among ourselves to-day in the Nineteenth Century. Birch, in his ‘Ancient History of Egypt from the Monuments,’ says:—‘The Egyptian woman appears always as the equal and companion of her father, brethren, and husband. She was never secluded in a harem, sat at meals with them, had equal rights before the law, served in the priesthood, and even mounted the throne.’ ” (p. 107.)

Of the social and political status of Women in ancient Chaldea, the records are less explicit, but from the fact that in the old mythology Istar, the “lovely” goddess, who is described as a “great goddess in her own right,” was one of the favourite and most powerful deities, it may be assumed that women occupied a position equal to that of the women of Egypt. For while to Ninus is ascribed the glory of founding Nineveh, he was eclipsed in fame by Semiramis, his wife, who founded Babylon, and hung her gardens in the air of Medea.

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