Responses to History Questions

Responsesto History Questions

Responsesto History Questions

Genderroles in China and India





Status of women in the society

  • Ancient women were subordinate to men for much of their lives.

  • Women lived oppressed lives and were often treated as inferiors regardless of their status in the society

  • Women were not free to choose their husbands as marriages were an arranged affair set in a manner that both families profited from the marriage

  • A woman’s family provided dowry, but the woman did not have any say in the union whether she was a peasant or a noble

  • Male relatives could sell their women for some reasons, for example, during bad harvests especially in the lower classes

  • In ancient India, women enjoyed similar status with men in all elements of life. They were usually educated in the ancient Vedic period (Das Gupta et al., 2003).

  • Women wedded at a mature age and had freedom to choose their husbands.

  • However, in later periods, the status of women declined

Roles of women

  • A woman’s duty was to look for her sons, husband, and other men thus, her greatest role in the society was to have a son. As such, a woman’s role as a mother-in-law and as a mother was always respected

  • A woman’s responsibility was to look after men in her families. Confucius believed that women were not supposed to be ambitious, as well as, have any life outside of her house (Das Gupta et al., 2003)

  • Women’s main roles were cooking and nurturing children

  • Per the instructions of the Vedas, a woman’s main responsibility was to help her husband in accomplishing his obligatory roles, as well as, empower him to continue his family tradition (Das Gupta et al., 2003)

  • A woman’s role also involved giving birth and taking care of the children

  • Although men had greater duties and roles, women sometimes held administrative duties especially those in the high class





Status of women in the society

  • In both regions, women were inferior to men.

  • In both countries, infanticide or the illegal killing of infants occurred especially on girl babies

  • Women were usually regarded as homemakers and carers

  • Both countries had castes, for example, some women were superior than others

Roles of women

  • The primary roles of women in both countries were to give birth and take care of the children.

  • Women in both regions were charged with upholding family and society’s values as their roles as mothers and wives

Contrastingand Comparing Mesopotamian to Egyptian Civilization

Although both civilizations advanced at the same time along greatrivers geography, religious formation, and government structuresaffected differences in the way the two civilizations developed.Regarding environmental patterns, the two civilizations were riverinewith Egypt using river Nile and Mesopotamia using river Tigris andEuphrates (Verbrugghe &amp Wickersham, 2001). River Tigris and theEuphrates that watered Mesopotamia had unpredictable floods and openplain without natural barriers while river Nile flowed north, hadwaterfalls, and predictable floods. Tigris and Euphrates riversusually caused destructive floods as the floods were unpredictable,which inundated villages and cities killing livestock and people. Dueto the vastness and the open plains of Mesopotamia, people had toconstruct city walls, unlike Egypt where natural barriers protectedthe region. Moreover, river Nile flooded its banks yearly anddeposited rich natural fertilizing particles that allowed Egyptiansto grow barley and wheat often providing a surplus.

Both civilizations used a polytheist religion, built temples forworshipping, and had humanoid gods. However, unlike Mesopotamians whomade statuettes entreat for them while they did other things,Egyptians worshiped pharaohs as their gods (Verbrugghe &ampWickersham, 2001). Although both civilizations’ religion were apolytheist, they had one religion throughout and believed in theafterlife. Regarding culture and civilization, both civilizationsestablished systems of writing, which began as pictograms andprimarily utilized for bookkeeping although Mesopotamian’s formswere cuneiform while Egyptians were hieroglyphics (Katz &ampImhausen, 2007). Soon, a structure of schools developed where smallboys were trained as scribes, an essential part of the ancient socialstructure. The two religions also actively engaged in trade.

In its nascent stage, Mesopotamia began as a chain of antonymous,self-governing city-states, which rivaled for power. The regionunited under the rule of Sargon the Great in 2370 B.C.E. during theSemitic dynasty. However, with the fall of Akkad, the region sawleadership fall under different kingdoms such as Hittites, Assyrians,Amorites, and Kassites until the Cyrus established the Persiandynasty, which saw the attainment of political unity (Katz &ampImhausen, 2007). On the other hand, the Pharaoh, a semi-godly kingaided by bureaucrats and a vizier, led the Egyptian government formuch of its long history. Egypt had powerful dynasties under theleadership of Pharaoh, which ensured the perpetuation of affluenceonly disturbed during momentary periods of civil wars andcommencement of external incursions at the end of the Middle Kingdom.

Europeanfeudalism Japanese feudalism

Despite the fact that there was minimal contact between Japan and therest of Europe during the mediaeval period, the two regions managedto develop social-political systems that had comparable principles.One such system was feudalism. One of the similarities betweenJapanese and European feudalism is that social norms characterizedthem, and there were social-economic positions that everyone occupied(Duiker &amp Spielvogel, 2015). Land ownership was a common factor.While in Europe, Knights gained the land from their lords as paymentfor protection, the Japanese land had no direct owner. Instead, thedaimyo use the income from the land to pay the samurais. In terms ofreligion, the European feudalism was monotheistic, while the Japaneseform was polytheistic. The European feudalism was based on the Romanlegal structure, while the Japanese one was based on the ChineseConfucian morality. The European feudal Knights had almost as muchsocial power as the Japanese Samurais, taking great control of theland and farm produce. The moral values guiding the European knightsand the Japanese Samurais were also different. Based on the Christianvalues, the European knights were now allowed to commit suicide.However, their Japanese counterparts could do this in the name ofprotecting their honor, under a ritual known as “sepuuku” (Duiker&amp Spielvogel, 2015). The political systems of the two forms offeudalism shared a similar pyramid-like structure. In Europe, theKing, followed by the nobles and the knights below him, occupied thetop of the pyramid. The peasants lay at the bottom of the pyramid. InJapanese feudalism, the Shogun was at the top of the pyramid. Daymioand then the peasants followed him. The merchants occupied the bottomof the pyramid. The Catholic Church occupied the European powervacuum. In Japan, the Samurai took over the social and politicalpower.

Christianand Muslim holy war

The two Abrahamic faiths have their principles regarding armedconflict and combat. In the Christian religion, the Holy war wasreferred to as crusade, while the same was referred to as Jihad inthe Muslim religion. Both wars are defined by a struggle to protectthe religions’ respective beliefs and people, meaning that theywere waged against the perceived non-believers. However, theChristian crusaders were more concerned with helping their religion’smembers to achieve a cultural and economic revolution, centeredmainly in Europe. On the other hand, the Jihad was characteristic bydecadence and obscurantism. The Jihad warriors used the teachings ofthe Quran, as presented by Muhammad, to fight the non-believers andensure that Allah’s message was passed across to every corner ofAsia, then later across the world (Hashmi, 2012). However, theCrusaders were mainly concerned with protecting the teachings ofJesus, who they considered the son of God sent to liberate man fromsin. While the Crusaders’ approach was mainly defensive andvigilante, the Jihad approach can be considered as constructivist.

The main aim ofthe Christian crusades was to liberate their holy land from theoccupation of the Muslims. On the other hand, the holy war againstthe Mongolians was fueled by the need to protect the people, theirreligious beliefs and their socio-economic wellbeing againstinvaders. At the same time, the Crusader war was considered as aresponsibility, one to protect the Christian values and to preventother religious philosophies from affecting their own. However, theencounter with the Mongols was considered as a punishment for sin,while other Christians believed that it was the start of the end ofthe world (Hashmi, 2012). While the crusades were fairly distributedacross Europe, the Mongol war was mainly concentrated in Jerusalem,and later around the papacy. Another significant difference was thatthere were senior Christian civilian figures who spearheaded theCrusades, while the main controllers of the war against the Mongolswere the Popes.


Das Gupta, M., Zhenghua, J., Bohua, L., Zhenming, X., Chung, W., &ampHwa-Ok, B. (2003). Why is son preference so persistent in East andSouth Asia? A cross-country study of China, India and the Republic ofKorea.&nbspThe Journal of Development Studies,&nbsp40(2),153-187.

Duiker, W.J. &amp Spielvogel, J.S. (2015). World History. Mason,OH.

Hashmi, S.H. (2012). Just wars, holy wars, and Jihads: Christians,Jewish and Muslim encounters and exchanges.

Katz, V. J., &amp Imhausen, A. (2007).&nbspThe Mathematics ofEgypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam: A Sourcebook.Princeton University Press.

Verbrugghe, G. P., &amp Wickersham, J. M. (2001).&nbspBerossosand Manetho, introduced and translated: native traditions in ancientMesopotamia and Egypt. University of Michigan Press.