Sunday, August 17, 2014

Babylonian Marriage Market

'The Babylonian Marriage Market' by Edwin Long (1875, Picture Gallery of the Royal Holloway University, London)

According to the world's first historian, the Greek Herodotus (5th century BC):

In every village once a year all the girls of marriageable age used to be collected together in one place, while the men stood round them in a circle; an auctioneer then called each one in turn to stand up and offered her for sale, beginning with the best-looking and going on to the second best as soon as the first had been sold for a good price.

(source).

next episode: gertie

9 comments:

  1. Some of there appear like they are forlorn, or doomed! The woman holding the mirror appears quite vain while the young woman next to her seems very sad. Maybe it's just me! I'm so happy this is not the case in our world! Beautiful painting.

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    1. If it was me I would be sad too, having to leave your home to go living with some unknown person.

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  2. Some of them! Is what I meant in my comment! I didn't notice my error in writing until it was too late!

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  3. How awful and how sad. The girl with the mirror is probably taking a last look at her happy self.

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    Replies
    1. I love all the details in these kind of paintings.

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  4. Can I see something in a 3rd round draft pick? But seriously, thankfully this is an historical representation and the world has changed quite a bit since then. Unfortunately we cannot say that the practice is extinct... Fabulous work of art tho...

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes it seems like the clock is ticking backwards in the Middle East.

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  5. This is making me think about a curiosity, connected with the fact that ancient Babylon and modern Baghdad are not far each from the other one.
    In Italian language, one of the synonyms word of "prostituta" (I do not translate in English, but You can imagine the meaning...) is "bagascia".
    This word had been created by the sailors of the ancient Republic of Genoa, who in the Middle Age had a regular trading line with the East of the Mediterranean Sea. They said that Baghdad had been the only "Arabian" city where it was possible to find commercial sex.
    Perhaps, this custom derived from Babylon.

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