Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shapur never killed a shrew

Normblog's Writer's Choice book this week is Sexual Politics in Modern Iran, a topic about which I know nothing. However, I know a very little something about sexual politics in pre-modern Iran, a casual familiarity I picked up during my Zoroastrian phase.

Purity rituals aside, the ladies did all right under the Sasanians. (And even the purity rituals were all right, as constricting as they were, since there ain't no party like a menstrual hut party, etc.) Consider this bit from the Herbedestan:
5.1) Which of the two shall go forth to pursue religious studies, the woman or the householder?

5.2) If both take care of the possessions
[i.e. if they can take care of the property single-handed], either one may go forth.

5.3) If the lord of the house (takes care of) the possessions, let the woman go forth.
No link; this passage (including the brackets, which are not mine) comes from an old college course packet. Also, apologies for the hyper-obscure pun in the title.

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