Women in the Old Avesta: Social Position and Textual Composition
This article takes forward the principle of serial recursive
composition of the Gathic poems, which I first set out and illustrated
in BAI 16, and applies it to the relationship between the
bodies of Old Avestan texts, i.e Gathas and the Yasna Haptanhaiti.
Aspects of this compositional relationship are then employed to
illuminate an aspect of the contents
of these texts, the societal
position: While the fact has, in effect, gone virtually unnoticed in
Iranistic literature, the Old Avestan texts, which constitute our
earliest sources for Iranian
society, indicate that not only were women
as prestigious as men in the the sphere of patronage, but they were
also regarded as equally qualified for rule.