Women in Ancient Persia, 559-331 B.C

By Maria Brosius | Go to book overview

3
Royal Marriage Alliances

INTRODUCTION

Any discussion of the marriage alliances of the Achaemenid royal house must examine the questions whether Achaemenid kings practised polygamy and to what extent they permitted next-of-kin marriages. Polygamy and certain kinds of incestuous marriages were unacceptable in Greek society. The Greeks noticed that the Persian royal family appeared to engage in both and described these practices to emphasize the monstrosity of the Persian king, his decadence, and his domination by women. What seems to have been less well understood by Greek writers were the political motivations that underlay these practices. Both polygamy and endogamic marriages are excellent tools to help concentrate and preserve power; they restrict the families from which a royal wife can be selected, and help to secure male offspring (XPf 28-32; Young 1988b: 71-2; Burn 1984: 277-8).

The various references made to the mother of the king grant her a significant role in relation to the male royal offspring, in particular for the heir to the throne. While references to full brotherhood imply the existence of half-brothers and therefore of other women of the king besides the king's wife, the 'political' parenthood of a successor to the throne points to the fact that his mother carried a political weight which exceeded that of other women. If we assume that there were other 'royal women' we must inquire how they were distinguished from the king's wife, whether they were married to the king, which would indicate the existence of polygamy, or whether they were not married and only held the status of 'concubines of the king'.

Near Eastern evidence for the Persian period unfortunately does little to assist us in answering these questions. The best-known Greek evidence comes from Herodotus according to whom each

-35-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Women in Ancient Persia, 559-331 B.C
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 260

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.