The Roles Of Livia And Esther

1007 Words 5 Pages
During both the Roman and Persian Empires, women played an important and pivotal role in their societies. These women held both public and political positions in their empires, and possessed the authority that women in previous times had never had before. Both the Roman and Persian women who obtained this power did so in different ways, and these women also both conducted themselves differently once obtaining this uncommon privilege. Livia and Esther were both some of the first patricians in their respective ancient societies. They served under both emperors and a king, and through both their sexuality and intellect, they rose to a prominent and powerful position.
Livia was known mostly for her relationship with Augustus Caesar, born Julius
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A Jewish orphan named Esther, to whom a biblical book is named after, vied for the position of Xerxes wife. The position was opened after Queen Vashti was banished after she disavowed his request to show herself nude in front of him and his guests (71). Esther saw an opportunity and after a year of beauty preparation, she presented herself to him, and he made her his new queen. The power of women in the Persian Empire is shown when one of Xerxes’ principal advisors suggests the eradication and execution of all the Jewish people in the empire (71). Mordecai, Queen Esther’s cousin who raised her, suggested to Queen Esther that she approach King Xerxes and plead to him not to allow this to happen. Xerxes granted the audience for her to do so, and he granted her …show more content…
Insubordination to a male superior was seen as a great offense, as seen with Queen Vashti, and it would not be tolerated. Xerxes’ male advisors suggested that if women were to hear about examples of this disobedience, women would be more likely to refuse their husbands, which results in angry husbands. Aside from Queen Esther, women were normally not acknowledged without first being acknowledged. Xerxes sent out a letter to every span of his empire stating how “husbands should have complete control over their wives and children” (72). He and his advisors believed that sending this letter would bring the necessary awareness that no matter how wealthy or poor a man may be, his wife must still respect him (72). One woman prompted Xerxes to enforce the patriarch values present in his empire. The strict guidelines that existed in the Persian Empire are the reason women were less influential than men. Queen Esther was an exception. She used her beauty and sexuality to persuade and speak to Xerxes about her petition, she claimed he should spare her people because “no such distress should disturb the king” (74), and unlike any other woman in his empire, he listened to her because she spoke to his desires. Xerxes proceeded to prosecute the party responsible for the suggested annihilation of her people. The man knew that he was going to be executed, and he attempted to plead for his life to Queen Esther, and after she

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