Motherhood in the Early American Republic

Women’s roles present in the emerging United States before, during, and after the American Revolution. Introduction “Republican Motherhood” is an 18th-century term for an attitude toward women’s roles present in the emerging United States before, during, and after the American Revolution. It centered on the belief that the patriots’ daughters should be raised to uphold[…]

Childbirth and Maternal Health in 17th-Century England

Historical material about the bodily and emotional experience of the period after birth has been relatively neglected. Summary For a month after childbirth, the authors of medical and religious prescriptive literature instructed new mothers to keep to their beds. During this time they were expected to bleed away the bodily remnants of pregnancy. At the[…]

A Saint, a Seurat, and a Baby in a Cot

How three artists, from three different eras, depicted motherhood. Introduction The first official Mother’s Day holiday was observed in the U.S. in 1908, but celebrations of mothers date back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who honored goddesses who were mothers. Depictions of mothers range from images of Aphrodite and her son Aeneas on a[…]

Ten Noble and Notorious Women of Ancient Greece

Many women in ancient Greece led interesting lives and performed heroic acts and who remain lesser known in the modern day. Introduction There were, no doubt, many notable women in ancient Greece, but history books are usually silent on female accomplishments. According to the historian and novelist Helena P. Schrader, this is because, “Herodotus and[…]

The Five Gifts of Hathor: Ancient Egyptian Goddess of Fertility and Motherhood

Hathor was a multifaceted goddess, appealed to for a wide variety of needs, who provided many of the best aspects of life to humanity. Introduction The central cultural value of ancient Egypt was ma’at – harmony and balance – which maintained the order of the universe and the lives of the people. Keeping balance in one’s[…]

Tiamat: Ancient Mesopotamian Mother Goddess

The author of Enuma Elish drew on the earlier Sumerian goddesses, Nammu and Inanna, to create the goddess of chaos. Introduction Tiamat is the Mesopotamian goddess associated with primordial chaos and the salt sea best known from the Babylonian epic Enuma Elish. In all versions of the myth, following the original, Tiamat always symbolizes the[…]