Don't let this happen again...
I was working on my book today and wanted to share this passage from The First Sex by Elizabeth Gould Davis, pp. 198-199
"Women attained great power and influence in the Roman Empire," writes P. Donaldson. "They enjoyed freedom of intercourse in society; they studied literature and philosophy; they took part in political affairs; they defended their own law cases if they wished; and they . . . engaged in the government of provinces and the writing of books. . . . But all this was swept away in the rising tide of Christianity." 47
It has been the custom of Christian historians for eighteen centuries to bewail the freedom of Roman women and to hold them responsible for the decline of the Roman Empire. But the facts do not bear out this accusation. Rome did not fall until after it had adopted Christianity, a fact which suggests the "heretical" belief, voiced by Dante, Gibbon and others, that Christianity itself caused the decline and fall of the empire and the Dark Ages that followed, "when this power of destruction and decay sat like a ghost on the throne of the Caesars." 48
The extreme patriarchalism of the Paulist-Semitic Christians was wounded to its core by the freedom and power of the Roman women. The Semitic women had for centuries been the slaves and chattels of men, and it was the intention of the church fathers to put all women in similar subjection, as decreed by Paul, "the little,bald, bandy-legged renegade Jew" of Tarsus, as James Cleugh describes him.49
Paul's antifeminism amounted to an active phobia of all things female. Modern psychologists have attributed Paul's misogyny to everything from homosexuality to resentment of women's repugnance at his own misshapen body and ugly features.50
Whatever the cause, Paul's contempt for women led to disastrous results just when the patriarchal revolution was beginning to level off toward a true equality of the sexes. Western women and Western civilization are still suffering from the rabid misogyny of Paul and the church fathers. One has only to read the fulminations of these early "fathers" to realize the vitriolic unease with which the Christian Church regarded women and to plumb the depths of the church's psychopathic determination to degrade the female and annihilate her soul.
A modern French historian of ancient Rome, who certainly can- not be regarded as a feminist, has written the deserved epitaph of these Roman women whom the early church so hated and feared: One of the fairest examples of human greatness was the woman of Imperial Rome. Thanks to ber, proud and free as Arria, ancient Rome, in the very years she was about to receive . . . the bloody baptism of Christianity, scales one of the loftiest moral heights humanity has conquered.81
But the most fitting epitaph for Roman and all pre-Christian women was written by a Roman poet of the empire, speaking for all women of all time:
Clames licet et mare caelo
Confundas! Homo sum! 52
Which, freely translated, means:
You men may raise all the hell you want to about it!
I, too, am a human being!
Birth control and abortion were so common in this era that women were begged to consider having at least two babies. I've been thinking about the comments someone made on Athana's blog, Radical Goddess Thealogy as to whether her wish to wipe out patriarchal religion altogether is too extreme. When I consider all we lost with the advent of patriarchy - peace, prosperity, advanced technology - I have to conclude that it may may be entirely necessary to do away with male gods completely. It only seems unreasonable if you don't look at the torture and death that has happened and is happening all over the world. It's going to take radical change to restore balance. I just hope that if we do manage to restore a natural social order, that we hang on to it.