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is true that
the advent of Christianity undoubtedly broadened the
sphere of woman and
that she was then given her true place as the companion
and helper
rather than the toy of man; but long before this period
woman had
asserted her right to be heard in the councils of the
wise, and the
right seems to have been conceded in the cases where the
demand was
made. Those who look upon the present as the
emancipation period in the
history of woman have surely forgotten Deborah, whose
chant of triumph
was sung in the congregation of the people and was
considered worthy of
preservation for all future ages to read; Semiramis, who
led her armies
to battle when the Great King, Ninus, had let fall the
sceptre from his
weary hand, and who ruled her people with wisdom and
justice; and others
whose fame, even if legendary in its details, has come
down to us.
Through all the ages there was opportunity for woman,
when she chose to
seize it; and in many cases it was thus seized. Rarely
indeed do we find
the history of any age unconcerned with its women.
Though their part may
at times seem but minor, yet do they stand out to the
observant eye as
the prime causes of many of the great events which make
or mark epochs.
When we think of the Trojan War, it is Agamemnon and
Priam, Achilles and
Hector, who rise up before our mental vision as the
protagonists in that
great struggle; but if there had been no Helen, there
would have been no
war, and therefore no Iliad or Odyssey. We read
Macaulay's stirring
ballad of_ Horatius at the Bridge, _and we thrill at the
recital of