Here is a history of issues related to women in Persia.
New mothers and pregnant women received higher rations and sons were clearly preferred over daughters. If they delivered boys both the mother and the nurse or the physician received higher rations. The extra payments were given out for one month only. Consistently mothers of boys received twice the amount compared to mothers of baby girls. There is no evidence of infanticide for girls as the number of births of male children only slightly exceeds the number of girls born.
In ancient Persia, women could take the throne in case the king passed away and the crown prince was still a minor. One such woman was Pourandokt, the first Persian queen regnant in Ctesiphon. Ancient scriptures describe her as a wise, just and good-natured woman who did her best to revive the Sassanid sovereignty.
By the time of the Achaemenids, women were also seen in positions of military leadership in the imperial armies of ancient Persia. Artemis or Artemisia was the legendary Grand Admiral and leader of the Persian Navy during Xerxes. She was also Xerxes' great love. She was a great powerful, independent and intelligent woman.
The women warriors, known as "Amazons" by the ancient Greeks, were typical of such fighters who prevailed in Iran's north (modern Gilan, Mazandaran, Gorgan) and northwest (modern Azarbaijan in Iran) as early as the 5th century BC or earlier.
One such example is Pantea Arteshbod who was one of the all time greatest Persian commanders during the reign of Cyrus the Great (559 - 529 B.C). She was the wife of General Aryasb (Achaemenid's Arteshbod). She played an important role in keeping law & order in Babylonia after the conquest of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 547 B.C. by Cyrus the Great. Commander Pantea truly was an important and sensitive military commander whose presence on the ancient battlefield made a difference to the outcome of the battle and played a part in building up the tapestry of ancient military Achievement.
The Persepolis tablets reveal three different terms of reference for women, mutu, irti and duksis. The first one is always applied to ordinary women while the other two were used for royal women. In one document Artazostre, a daughter of king Darius is referred to as Mardunuya iriti sunki parki meaning 'the wife of Mardonius, daughter of the king'. Such use of terminology shows the significance of the women's marital status and her relationship to the king.
Although noble Persian women had to act within a defined framework set by the king, they also enjoyed economic independence and had control over their wealth. One of the most interesting finds was the discovery of a large number of seals in the graves of women. Seals in antiquity were often symbols of power and authority.
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