Smart women in Germanic vs. Mediterranean culture

nagareboshi

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Could it be true that Franco-Germanic cultures tend to downplay women's intelligence?

I often see a sentiment from Anglophone neo-traditionalists that women don't need to be educated and should almost unilaterally obey the will of the husband. This seems to be very different from the experience of women in Mediterranean (Roman and post-Roman) societies.

If you are familiar with Spanish, Italian, and Greek cultures, please share your stories and experiences. My guess is that in those countries, intelligence and femininity exist in harmony and are not at odds with one another. When I first read about some of these ancient Roman women, I was shocked at the semi-autonomy they enjoyed despite living in a "traditional" society. Here are some specific examples in history:


Catherine was the daughter of King Constus. After the death of her father, she lived with her mother in Alexandria. Her mother was secretly a Christian who, through her spiritual father, brought Catherine to the Christian Faith. In a vision, St. Catherine received a ring from the Lord Jesus Himself as a sign of her betrothal to Him. This ring remains on her finger even today. Catherine was greatly gifted by God and was well educated in Greek philosophy, medicine, rhetoric and logic. In addition to that, she was of unusual physical beauty. When the iniquitous Emperor Maxentius offered sacrifices to the idols and ordered others to do the same, Catherine boldly confronted the emperor and denounced his idolatrous errors. The emperor, seeing that she was greater than he in wisdom and knowledge, summoned fifty of his wisest men to debate with her on matters of faith and to put her to shame. Catherine outwitted and shamed them. In a rage, the emperor ordered all fifty of those men burned. By St. Catherine's prayers, all fifty confessed the name of Christ and declared themselves Christians before their execution. After Catherine had been put in prison, she converted the emperor's commander, Porphyrius, and two hundred soldiers to the true Faith, as well as Empress Augusta-Vasilissa herself. They all suffered for Christ. During the torture of St. Catherine, an angel of God came to her and destroyed the wheel on which the holy virgin was being tortured. Afterward, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to her and comforted her. After many tortures, Catherine was beheaded at the age of eighteen, on November 24, 310. Milk, instead of blood, flowed from her body. Her miracle-working relics repose on Mount Sinai.


As the emperor and his counsellors were still preparing their project, Theodora reportedly interrupted them and claimed:
"My lords, the present occasion is too serious to allow me to follow the convention that a woman should not speak in a man's council. Those whose interests are threatened by extreme danger should think only of the wisest course of action, not of conventions. In my opinion, flight is not the right course, even if it should bring us to safety. It is impossible for a person, having been born into this world, not to die; but for one who has reigned it is intolerable to be a fugitive. May I never be deprived of this purple robe, and may I never see the day when those who meet me do not call me empress. If you wish to save yourself, my lord, there is no difficulty. We are rich; over there is the sea, and yonder are the ships. Yet reflect for a moment whether, when you have once escaped to a place of security, you would not gladly exchange such safety for death. As for me, I agree with the adage that the royal purple is the noblest shroud."[16]
Her determined speech convinced them all, including Justinian himself, who had been preparing to run. As a result, Justinian ordered his loyal troops, led by the officers, Belisarius and Mundus, to attack the demonstrators in the hippodrome, killing (according to Procopius) over 30,000 rebels.


Smart, energetic and ambitious, Bona became heavily involved in the political and cultural life of Poland–Lithuania. To increase state revenue during the Chicken Rebellion, she implemented various economic and agricultural reforms, including the far-reaching Wallach Reform in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In foreign policy, she was allied with the Ottoman Empire and sometimes opposed the Habsburgs. Her descendants became beneficiaries of the Neapolitan sums, a loan she gave to Philip II of Spain which was never completely paid.
 
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