Women According to the Law

The readings in Kaiser and Marker pages 49-59 solidify the social presence of the church in Kievan Rus’ society; specifically in the way that women were treated. The most evident is the definitive distinction between “good” and “evil” women. Good women were characterized by their attentiveness to the Christian faith and their strict adherence to social principles; Evil women were those who strayed from the church and asserted their social independence. Even the way that these laws are writhed prove how male- centric the society was. Every law is geared towards the man, and in situations where the male is punished the prince offers punishment whereas where the female is punished she is punished by her husband (page 52, law 37). On the other hand, there certainly are some surprising laws that protect the women and her personal choice. For example, if a girl wishes to marry (or wishes not to marry) but her parents make her do the opposite of her wishes and she causes harm to herself her parents must accept responsibility. It is unclear on whether they simply accept responsibility or must allow her to assert her own wishes, but this still provides some insight into the value of the woman’s choice. ¬†However, there is no way to ensure that these laws were held up in society or just looked at as if the women who enacted these laws were considered “evil” women who were too independent from a male’s rule. In addition, many laws that would appear to be protecting women were simply created to protect their societal role- their ability to care for children (and not respecting their own lives).

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