Why did God show up only 3000 years ago?
Why were women oppressed?
In a study published (2009) at the Centre of Gender Studies at the University of Lund, Sweden, I define what I call “Evenisation”. A term borrowed from the Biblical Eve, defining the long-developed patriarchal belief describing women as inferior, sexually debased, and the patriarchate’s related urge for a subdued female figure, internalizing male power oppressive doctrines and its epigenetic consequences.
The study is a genealogy of oppression of women, its causes and implementation’s, emphasizing the evolutionary sexual passions exposed in earliest civilizations, with special focus on the Mesopotamian pre-patriarchal civilizations and the paradigm shift that led to male domination over women and the emergence of monotheism and creation of three female archetypes; Lilith, Eve and Virgin Mary.
Aspects of love for emotional deep sexuality is, because of being a subject of it own, not included in the study, but also because of the mere nature of love, which require freedom of choice to reach its true evolutionary dimension. A condition that has been restricted by the patriarchate for thousands of years and therefore have had severe impact on the epigenetic constitution of how humans communicate love.
The study is making extensive use of nearly 400 literary compositions recorded on sources which come from Ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), and date to the late third and early second millennium B.C.E. Together with the Bible, Biblical commentary sources, esoteric Jewish mysticism and early Church father teachings, the study analyses how the change of view on women was transformed during the third and second millennium B.C.E and first millennium C.E., and its influence on modern society.
I argue that enough evidence is available from the earliest writings dated around 2400-2100 B.C.E. to substantiate claims that the world looked differently until the emergence of warrior tribes from Eurasia, whom after domesticating the horse and developing advanced weaponry through sophisticated metallurgical processes, succeeded in altering the path of human civilization onto a road towards male supremacy.
The inventions were adopted by the Akkadian civilization, which changed their earlier rather equal gender-status between the sexes – based on the Sumerian fertility and nature-orientated devotion – into a male physical devotion with dominating male goods.
One of the most important writers, being a witness to the paradigm shift, was the high priestess Enheduana (Encheduana) of the (male) Nanna (moon) temple in Ur, Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).
In open-hearted writings she describes her devotion to the goddess Inana and portrays her as the prime god. Enheduana writes about her fear of what is happening and warns what the outcome will be.
“Your holy command has been spoken over the city which has not declared “The foreign lands are yours!”, wherever they have not declared “It is your own father’s!”; and it is brought back under your feet. Responsible care is removed from its sheepfolds. Its woman no longer speaks affectionately with her husband; at dead of night she no longer takes counsel with him, and she no longer reveals to him the pure thoughts of her heart. Impetuous wild cow, great daughter of Suen, lady greater than An, who can take anything from your [Inana] province?” (ETCSL 4.07.2)
Enheduana portrays in this 4200-year old writing women as the caring entity. Women will – according to her acknowledged wisdom of the goddess Inana – care for the best of the people . If men do not obey this demand, women will not show them affection, will not disclose their inner feelings and at midnight they will not allow men to counsel them.
In the name of a god
Sargon the great (2334-2279 B.C.) and Enheduana were Semitic Akkadians but acknowledged their fortune to the goddess Inana, who they inherited from their predecessor, the non-Semitic Sumerians. But Enheduanna´s grand son Naram-sin broke away from the belief of god willing fortunes. He proclaimed himself “god of Akkad”, and portrayed himself with a divinely horned-helmet. He rejected his grandmother´s call for counselling between the sexes and instead sat a new standard that a millennium later would create believes that humans can do whatever they want as long as it is done in the name of a god.
Inana was the goddess of fertility, sexuality and war (in later cultures she appears under the names Ishtar and later Venus). She personified the connection between fertility of the land and the fertility of humans.
The people of the Sumer-Akkadian city-states were involved in numerous sexual rituals to please the gods and presumably themselves. The sexually explicit words of how the river Tigris was born most probably had a deep impact on Sumerian people
Father Enki had lifted his eyes across the Euphrates, he stood up full of lust like a rampant bull, lifted his penis, ejaculated and filled the Tigris with flowing water … By lifting his penis, he brought a bridal gift. The Tigris rejoiced in its heart like a great wild bull, when it was born” (ETCSL:c.1.1.3).
Another text tells the story of how winter and summer are born
He copulated with the great hills, he gave the mountain its share. He filled its womb with Summer and Winter, the plenitude and life of the Land. As Enlil copulated with the earth, there was a roar like a bull’s. The hill spent the day at that place and at night she opened her loins. She bore Summer and Winter as smoothly as fine oil” (ETCSL:c.5.3.3).
The heavenly god An and mother earth goddess Namma, together with a primal universal energy called “me” (pronounced may) constituted the framework for Sumerians. Over time the Sumerian and more so Akkadian societies were crowded with gods and goddesses, numbering almost 4000 when Abraham according to the legend was born. “Me” gave everything its sexual power and Inana in the words of Enheduana ”described a goddess of unbridled sexuality actively pursuing the object of her desire” peg my vulva, my star-sketched horn of the dipper, moor my slender boat of heaven, my new moon crescent cunt beauty (Meador:11).
The sacred marriage rite is described explicitly
…Tenderly he caresses her, murmuring words of love: ‘O my holy jewel! O my wondrous Inanna!’ After he enters her holy vulva, causing the queen to rejoice, After he enters her vulva, causing Inana to rejoice, Inana holds him to her and murmurs: ‘O Dumuzi, you are truly my love.’ (Wolkstein&Kramer:108).
Hetero-, homosexual and transgender male and female prostitutes paraded around the temples or met privately at the popular taverns, where also non-prostitutes met for drinking the popular sweet pale ale beer, that in poems was compared to the moisture of women´s vagina
Like her mouth her genitals are sweet, her beer is sweet. Her diluted beer, her beer is sweet” (ETCSL:c.126.96.36.199).
Women are also portrayed as choosing their partners
… of my own free will I shall come to you… Man, let me do the sweetest things to you. My precious sweet, let me bring you honey. In the bedchamber dripping with honey let us enjoy over and over your allure, the sweet thing (ETCSL:c.188.8.131.52).
A proverb advocates the seriousness of partnership
A dishonest man chases after women’s genitals” (ETCSL:c.6.1.23).
The genitals were considered holy comparing its essential function to the lands fertility.
Having said that, earlier writings were also full of sexual related texts
… when he ruffles my pubic hair for me, when he plays with the hair of my head, when he lays his hands on my holy genitals, … when he treats me tenderly on the bed, then I will too treat my lord tenderly” (ETCSL:c.184.108.40.206)
Women´s sensuality, sensitivity and care are contrasted by men´s portrayal as forceful and resourceful. The ancient texts manifest societies of balanced gender relations, which however were about to change fundamentally over the coming centuries.
Horse-ridden tribes from Eurasia made their impact on the Sumerian city-state rulers, who only had donkeys pulling their chariots and inferior weapons of lower metallurgical quality, due to absence of essential metal deposits in Mesopotamia.
One of the most successful tribes was the Yamnaya whose culture rapidly spread throughout the Volga-Ural region. In contrast to earlier and contemporary Eurasian cultures, they bare evidence of only male-dominated graves. Only in about every fifth grave was a woman buried. The same figure is found in the Scythian-Samarian “soldier-graves” where women are dressed for battle, A phenomena that probably inspired the Greek tales about the ‘Amazons’, according to Archeology professor David Anthony in his book ”The Horse, The Wheel, and Language – How Bronze-Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World” (2007). He points out that maleness is advocated in the proto-indo-European language as thankfulness is expressed for sons, fat cattle, fast horses towards the heavenly father ”dyew pater”.
The tilting of values towards male-dominated doctrines gained force and by 2360 B.C.E women found themselves restricted; ”The women of former days used to take two husbands, (but) the women of today (if they attempted this) were stoned with stones (upon which was inscribed their evil) intent” (Kramer:1963). A century after Enheduana´s death it is obvious that masculine gender power is discrediting women as the forth law of Ur-Namma reads (about 2100 B.C.)
If the wife of a man, by resort to her charms, enticed a(nother) man, so that he slept with her, he! (i.e., the husband) shall slay that woman, but that man (lit. ”male”) shall be set free” (Finkelstein:1968).
The sexual rituals also lost their divine associations, which led to sexual objectification of women and the birth of prostitution as a profession and object of trade.
The accelerated process of what I call Evenisation reached new heights with the introduction of monotheism.
Unique female sexual orgasmic potential
In looking for further ‘causes’ to oppress women, the Israelites continued develop the Sumerian tale of the maid Lil (literally “wind” in Sumerian) – a spirit living in the trunk of the Huluppu tree. The Israelites named her Lilith and projected her as filled with sexual desire and an urge for independence. She roamed the Earth and is portrayed as a naked woman with bird’s feet as the image from pre-monotheistic era, around 1800 B.C.E shows.
The Sumerian Lil was probably an acknowledgement of the unique female sexual orgasmic potential far surpassing male orgasmic ability.
Female chemical and emotional orgasmic sensations are triggered by one, two or three physical points; clitoris, g-point (3-4 cm inside vulva) and o-point (deep inside vulva), while men are left with one; penis (being a huge clitoris – or rather the clitoris being equal to the penis head).
While ejaculation is required for (most) men to achieve orgasm, female orgasm is not necessary for the egg to receive a sperm and successful reproduction. Evolution probably favored this constitution because women once enlightened and experienced, would strive to replicate the sensation, resulting in more pregnancies. Evolution has thus in women created optimal resources for initiating reproduction, but it has also paradoxically caught women in a sex trap.
Women sexual power became in the developing 3rd millennium urban city states suspicious to men and patriarchal gender power used it to “animalise” women.
In the Israelite version, Lilith spirit became the always dormant spirit of all women, as is showed in the story of how Eve ensnared Adam to taste the apple from the tree of knowledge (syncretic with the Huluppu-tree). Subsequently, it was understood that women must always be under the control of men. Even the feature unique to women only – the ability to give birth – is altered by Adam who managed to create the first woman from one of his ribs. This story is also syncretic with a Sumerian tale of how the goddess Ninti was born from ribs of goddess Ninchursanga. Kramer points out that the Sumerian word for rib (ti) also means ”to make live”- a double meaning lost in the Hebrew language.
Christianity reached further new heights of Evenisation when Virgin Mary was introduced as the ultimate role-model of female innocence. Totally asexual and denying the evolutionary urge of reproduction, she gave birth to Jesus, elevating herself from sexual desire, into a world of total subjugation to men but also a reversal to pre-Eden conditions when man, according to the Scripture, was not aware of his bodily desires. A condition that the early church fathers – amongst others Chrysostomos and Tertullianus – preached the Christians to return to.
However, a window of opportunity for female values was created shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus, when women who were the sole head of domestic affairs, opened up their homes for secret meetings with followers of the new Judean-Christian faith. Due to the rapid growth of Christianity, the homes were however soon discovered to be too small and Christianity moved into to the public area were men constituted the authority. Thus the voices of women attracted by Jesus’ words of equality were silenced and women were instead told to be quiet, as the Apostle Paul writes in Corinthians 14: 34. ”Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak”.
This was in sharp contrast to Jesus’ teaching where one of his foremost disciples were Mary of Magdala who herself is attributed with a Gnostic Gospel.
The hegemonic patriarchal gender power was manifested in both the Greek and Roman cultures by the portrayal of women as passive and receiving whilst men were described as active and creative. Women were compared to the earth as receiving and men compared to heaven. A syncretic heritage of the Sumerian culture (ETCSL:c.1.1.1).
The major difference was that during two thousand years the patriarchate succeeded in guiltifing women and in portraying the female genitals as an incomplete copy of the complete male sex organ, believed to be true by men as well as women.
Aristotle believed that male and female were distinguishable by their abilities and disabilities (Aristotle:732A). The physicians Galen and Soranus, both active during the first century C.E described the vagina as an inverted penis (Laqueuer:26).
Female sexuality, as opposed to male sexuality, was in Antiquity based on preserved chastity ”a passive form of honour that ought to be defended … If a woman limited her activities to household issues, she could defend her sexual reputation. If she participated in public affairs, she could be accused of un chastity, of ”running around’ (Torjesen:211).
Women’s sexual needs were during the millenniums limited by rigorous laws and civic codes. Conditions that resulted in more or less pronounced state of illnesses, with ”Hysteria” (from the Greece word for matrix) as a collective name.
The physician Galen described Hysteria as an illness caused by shortage of sexual satisfaction amongst passionate women. The cure in middle-age and Renaissance medicine were intercourse if married, marriage if not married or pelvic massage by a midwife as a last resort (Maines:1999).
By 1859, a physician claimed that one fourth of all women suffered from Hysteria. Another doctor used a 75 page catalog of possible symptoms of Hysteria (Briggs:246-73).
Evenisation peaked in the 1890s C.E. when women in Western Europe were forced to submission by men to such depths that the symptom Hysteria was one of the most common illnesses. However, it dropped to insignificance levels once women gained some power and increasing freedom at the turn of century (Micale:496-526).
The First World War and the Suffragette women-rights movements was a turning point and paved the way for women to regain control of their bodies after millenniums of oppression. A temporary patriarchal attempt of male dominance occurred after the Second World War, when women were taught that the best of worlds were at home – an attempt to return to the millennium-old practice of the domestic (women) and public (men) affairs.
The 1960 free-love-movement emerged as closely resembling the openly sexual societies of Sumer-Akkad 4200 years earlier. However it missed a ‘higher’ connection and meaning of sexuality and emerged merely as a reaction against millenniums of sexual oppression.
I argue that four millenniums’ oppression of women have had a disastrous impact on the development of civilization. Totally subdued to men, women (with few exceptions) have been excluded from having their say on how to run society. Those rare instances where it has occurred, has been on the premises of male values. For example, I argue that no matter from what power position, women as an evolutionary caring, embracing and enclosing entity are unable to commit atrocities as have been conducted throughout the history of mankind, from the Spanish Conquistadors, Russian Bolsheviks, German Nazis, Chinese cultural revolutionaries, Cambodian Khmer Rouges and Rwandan Tutsis .
The values and considerations of women have been almost totally suppressed. The question is what impact genuine femininity would have had as a balancing factor in the decision making historical processes? An answer to this question will never been given, but to leave out half of the human race from the decision-making process, as it is done among the vast majority of cultures today around the world, is from all points of view, disastrous to both women and men, as it creates imbalance in the joint projects of how men and women shape human civilization.
Anthony, David, The Horse, The Wheel and Language, Princeton University Press, 2007.
Aristotle, The politics of Aristotle’s, W.L.Newman, Clarendon Press, 1887.
Briggs, Laura, The Race of Hysteria: ”Overcivilization” and the ”Savage”, Woman in Late Nineteenth-Century Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Quarterly 52: 246-73, 2000
Conricus, Richard, Evenisation – The Sumerian-Akkadian women figure contra women oppression in monotheistic literature, http://www.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=19464&postid=1423087, 2009.
ETCSL, The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Ebeling, J., Flückiger-Hawker, E., Robson, E., Taylor, J., and Zólyomi, G., (http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/), Oxford 1998–2006.
Finkelstein, J.J., Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Vol. 22, No. 3/4, pp. 66-82, (1968 – 1969).
Kramer, Samuel Noah, The Sumerians, University of Chicago Press, 1963.
Laqueur T., Orgasm, Generation, and Politics of Reproductive Biology, I The Making of the Modern Body. Sexuality and Society in the Nineteenth century, Red. Gallagher C & Laqueur T, Berkley, University of California Press, 1987.
Meador, Betty De Song, Inanna – Lady of Largest Heart, University of Texas Press, 2000.
Maines, Rachael P., The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Micale, Mark S, On the Disappearance of Hysteria: A Study in the Clinical Deconstruction of a Diagnosis, Isis 84: 496-526, 1993.
Torjensen, K.J., When Women Were Priests, Harper, 1995.
Wolkstein, Diane & Kramer, Samuel Noah, Inanna – Queen of Heaven and Earth, Harper & Row Publishers, 1983.