Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Cain Adomnain and the Rights of Women

Hunh. Cain Adomnain usually gets a bad name in feminist Irish studies, as being the law which disarmed women. To be honest, however, I think it seems to be exactly what it claims: a reform that, overall, improved the status of women. The picture of Irish women formerly fighting with polearms is interesting, too, as Japanese women usually used naginatas and other polearms for castle defense and the like. (Which is not to say there weren't good Japanese swordswomen, but if you're shorter, polearms are a great equalizer of reach.) The big advantage is that killing any woman, child or cleric, whatever their legal rank, became a very grave matter. The bad part of the deal is that any woman who kills anyone gets the death penalty, no matter what her rank. Unfortunately, this is exactly what you'd expect of a legal system in which women in general had a lot of rights (especially compared to other legal systems of the time), but not the same rights as men. Read it and see what you think.


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