Despite M domination of women in Western society, the West is unusual in having elements of M deference & consideration that implicitly treat women as of higher rank, in contrast to other civilizations where polite conduct regularly demonstrates women's social inferiority. This equivocal mode of conduct is the product of a continuous evolution traceable to antiquity. To illuminate this process, the nature & development of relations between the sexes in ancient Rome is examined. Women originally were under the control of M members of their own families, who exercised the power of violence, but as the Roman state gained control of violence, women's position improved relative to men's. Ultimately husband & wife were all but equal in Roman marriages, though this development was accompanied by a curious aloofness between spouses, largely as a result of changes in custom rather than of formal legal changes. This development influenced early Christian ideas & laws & thus shaped later Western standards of conduct. 10 References. W. H. Stoddard 

source: Sociological Abstracts