The Celts of Europe: A Comparative Study of Gender Equality in the Late Iron Age
By Daniel Friedman
Throughout documented time, history has been dominated by the actions, words, and ideas of men. Western civilization, founded on the basis of the Roman Empire, is by definition built on the shoulders of powerful men. Names such as Julius Caesar, George Washington, Vladimir Lenin, Winston Churchill, John Locke, and countless others come to mind. As the list continues on into the depths of history, it becomes obvious that very few female names have made it into the history books. After Queen Victoria, Joan of Arc, and Cleopatra, it seems that the flow of names quickly runs dry. But even in the case of the very few women that seem to have landed a position on the “waitlist” of documented history, they all seem to be riddled with negative qualities and poor reputations.
Let us examine the short, and stereotypically cliché list of female leaders that was provided in the above paragraph. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom is not well known for her diplomacy, military prestige, or leadership abilities. Instead, Queen Victoria is known for being the first in any royal line to carry the blood disorder known as hemophilia, for being the symbolic leader of England’s monarchy, but not an unquestionable sovereign ruler, and was attributed with the matronly title of “Mother of Europe” (Arnstein 2005: 167, 49-51). Joan of Arc, along with being considered a symbol of French feminine heroism, bears the burden of being considered a heretic, defiant of authority, and a testament to the concept that females can not survive in a man’s world unless they “become men” – meaning a female who takes on male roles, and in Joan of Arc’s case, dressed as a male as well (Pernoud and Clin 1995: 88,18). Cleopatra, while being known for her subversion which pilfered the Egyptian throne from her brother as told by ancient Roman author, Strabo, is best known by the powerful men she...