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The life of women in the oldest times

In the extracts below from "History of Bulgarian Literature", Chapter I "The life of Bulgarian people in the oldest time", written by Dimitar Marinov in 1885, the author speaks about the life of women and the relationships between women and men in the family before the establishment of the First Bulgarian Kingdom in 681.

"The family of the man was looked up to and respected. This was reflected in the difference between the expressions "man's blood" and "man's vine" or "woman's blood" and "woman's vine". The woman was only named "woman", which is synonymous to "female parent", destined only to give birth and bring up the children, while the man was also referred to as a "human being". All members, linked by family relations, were considered as "one blood", "one wine", "one root", "one stock" etc."  

"The status of women in the family and society was almost slavish. The woman had to do not only the domestic but the field work as well. Some people consider that this slavish status of women resulted from the circumstance, known in some villages even today that the lad had to pay a big sum for the lass, whom he was asking for a wife.

Sometimes women had to join their men in battle. For instance, in 626 at the seige of Tsarigrad (Constantinople, note transl.), among the bodies of the killed slavic warriors were found women as well. Such things are told among the the Montenegrins even today. But in return to all this, the woman was highly respected: she could not be  subject to the slightest offence in any case and was considered as the basis of the family happiness. To insult a woman was considered an outrage for the man and his dignity; a man who dared to insult a woman, no matter by words or actions, has humiliated not only himself but men's dignity and he was treated with contempt by everyone. For the insult to a woman the whole family, and even the whole tribe, had to revenge."

Source: Dimitar Marinov, History of Bulgarian Literature", Chapter I "The life of Bulgarian people in the oldest time", http://liternet.bg/publish17/d_marinov/istoria/content.htm

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