Women did hold a more equal position in Sparta, being allowed to hold property - perhaps because so many Spartan men were so often away at battle - and exercise naked in the gym, in the way the men were used to doing. I don't think that a hetaera held the same status as a free born Greek mother, being often a foreigner or ex-slave; but she would certainly have often been treated with respect, sometimes as an equal. Priestesses were held in the highest regard, as were, obviously, the female members of the Greek pantheon.
I would expect that the fear was that of the unknown, that reality lay deeper than the logic of the symposia. I don't know if Ishtar would have been a part of that - the Babylonian pantheon takes us to a time very remote from our own.
--- In email@example.com, "Charlie" <charlottecowell@...> wrote:
> The greatest privileges for women in classical Greece went to the prostitutes and priestesses - let's not forget that the Pythia of Delphi was in many respects the most powerful person in their world, even if a lot of it was just ceremonial, while Hetarai had the run of the town. Also in Sparta women enjoyed far more relative equality than in other states, though admittedly in general women were kept well under the thumb of their males. A lot of it was due to psychological fear of female sexuality, which was considered to be dark, destructive, pathological and uncontrollable. This is despite the fact the Eleusinian Mysteries, (cult of Demeter) led the religious way along with Delphian Apollo....
> Perhaps it was an adverse reaction to earlier cultures that were founded on goddess worship, Isis, Ishtar, etc?