Terem seclusion is a term used in pre-revolutionary Russian historiography to characterize the features of the everyday life of noble Russian women, typical of the 16th-17th centuries.
Terem - high stone mansions - were built in Russia before, but the clear division of the interior into the "male" half and the "female" refers to the 16th century. Noble women were supposed to be in their "half" all the time, rarely, only with the permission of their husbands, showing themselves to guests and neighbors. A certain role in the emergence of the seclusion of women of the privileged class was played by the church, which declared such a way of life to be a godly affair. Some researchers abroad explain the appearance of the towers and the "tower system" by the desire to save wives and daughters from the raids of the Tatars. However, there is no evidence of the existence of towers for the grand princesses and princesses before the 16th century. no, although the Tatar-Mongol yoke fell back in 1480. Most modern Western and Russian researchers explain the existence of the "terem system" as a result of the interaction of superstitions about the "impurity of women"; the spread of misogynistic ideas of Byzantine church authors about a woman as a "vessel of sin"; the existence of religious ideas about the need for self-purification by solitude; the development of patriarchal principles and the desire to exclude the possibility of extramarital intimate contacts; the peculiarities of family and matrimonial policy (the desire to marry daughters for people "necessary" for the family, that is, the consideration of daughters in the form of "living goods").
Despite the fact that seclusion affected a narrow layer of the social upper class and existed for only about a century, the idea of terem seclusion, prohibitions and restrictions as a form of suppression of women's social activity turned out to be viable and influenced the mentality of a significant part of the population.