“Will womankind now be hunting?”

The work and economic lives of women at Late Bronze Age Ugarit

Authored by: Kevin M. McGeough

Women in Antiquity

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138808362
eBook ISBN: 9781315621425
Adobe ISBN: 9781317219910


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In the Ugaritic story of Aqhat, the eponymous hero rejects the goddess Anat’s attempts to trade him gold, silver and even immortality in exchange for his divinely-granted bow. Aqhat makes the bad choice to taunt her as he does so, saying (KTU 1.17, Col. VI, 39–41): “Bows are weapons of (?) warriors/Will womankind now be hunting?” (trans. Parker 1997: 62). For those familiar with the character of Anat, this is a particularly meaningful insult, for Anat is a hunter and warrior and certainly she sees the bow as a tool appropriate to her. Aqhat pays for his insolence (and his refusal to trade the bow) with his life, slain by one of Anat’s minions. Aqhat’s sister Paghit, with the blessing of their father Danel puts on women’s clothing over her warrior’s gear and sets out to avenge her brother’s death. Unfortunately the ending of the story has not been preserved, but presumably Paghit vanquishes Anat’s servant, the one who killed Aqhat.

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