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Issues with dating widows

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Between 18, the number of sati in Bengal province doubled from 378 to 839.

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When inevitably many of these love marriages turned sour, the woman would often poison the husband and find a new lover.Diodorus writes that Ceteus had been followed on campaign by his two wives, at his funeral the two wives competed for the honour of joining their husband on the pyre.After the older wife was found to be pregnant, Eumenes's generals ruled in favour of the younger.In 317 BCE Eumenes's cosmopolitan army defeated that of Antigonus in the Battle of Paraitakene.Among the fallen was one Ceteus, the commander of Eumenes's Indian soldiers.To end these murders, a law was therefore instituted that the widow should either join her husband in death or live in perpetual widowhood.

Modern historians believe Diodorus's source for this episode was the eyewitness account of the now lost historian Hieronymus of Cardia.

The woman found to have been held highest in the husband's favour while he lived had her throat slit on his grave, the surviving wives reputedly regarding it as a great shame to have to live on. There was thus less scope for the social reformer." Chinese sociology studies that followed suggest that the practice was historically more widespread, far removed from India (near the Korean peninsula), and found among the Manchu people of China where a widow would ritually commit suicide after her husband died (Chinese: xunsi, congxun).

The practice of self-immolation and other forms of public suicide by widows were observed, for example, in Fukien province of southeast China, in some cases in duress after a rape attempt and in other cases voluntarily without duress.

Under British rule, the practice was initially tolerated.

In the province of Bengal, sati was attended by a colonial government official, which states historian A. Salahuddin Ahmed, "not only seemed to accord an official sanction, but also increased its prestige value".

The Chinese Buddhist asceticism practices, states James Benn, were not an adaptation or import of Indian ascetic practices, but an invention of Chinese Buddhists, based on their unique interpretations of Buddhists texts.