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History of Motherhood: 2000 B.C.E. to 1000 C.E.

  • By: Marcella Bush Trevino
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

During the transition from ancient to classical times, the more modern family unit began to surpass the clan as the main system of social organization.

Marriage, procreation, and family life were highly valued and expected. Women's legal, political, and social status varied considerably between civilizations, but women generally held an inferior status. Marriage and motherhood were their expected roles. Religious, philosophical, cultural, and medical beliefs also impacted society's expectations of women in general and mothers in particular. Religion was intertwined with every aspect of daily life, including motherhood. Most societies viewed marriage and procreation as religious duties, cultural ideals, and economic necessities. The dangers of childbirth and high infant mortality rates caused great concerns. Mothers raised surviving children in ways meant to ensure their successful ...

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