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Roman Women 1.Pomeroy, pp. 149-204 1.Women and Law in Roman society Guardianship Marriage Augustan marriage laws Inheritance 2.Women’s Public Lives: Education,

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Presentation on theme: "Roman Women 1.Pomeroy, pp. 149-204 1.Women and Law in Roman society Guardianship Marriage Augustan marriage laws Inheritance 2.Women’s Public Lives: Education,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Roman Women 1.Pomeroy, pp. 149-204 1.Women and Law in Roman society Guardianship Marriage Augustan marriage laws Inheritance 2.Women’s Public Lives: Education, Politics

2 Roman Empire


4 The Roman Matron of the Late Republic and Early Empire Pomeroy, “The momentum of social change in the Hellenistic world combined with Roman elements to produce the emancipated, but respected, upper-class woman….wealthy aristocratic women who played high politics and presided over literary salons were nevertheless expected to be able to spin and weave as though they were living in the days when Rome was young.” (149) Statue of Roman matron - interior

5 What was creating this tension between the ideal and real? From Hellenistic age: Shrewd politically powerful princesses Expanding cultural opportunities for ♀ Search for sexual fulfillment Individual assertiveness From Roman Republic: Enormous wealth Aristocratic indulgence and display pragmatism

6 Cornelia – Paragon of Virtue Lived in 2 nd century BCE Wife of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus Mother of twelve Exercised influence on Roman politics Letters published Educated Famed and honored, even with rumors of ruthlessness Typical woman of Rome? Cornelia Refuses the Crown of Ptolemai

7 Legal Conditions Affecting Women: change and continuity between Rome and Greece 1.Guardianship – does this formal supervision over women increase or decrease during the late Republic and early Empire? 2.Marriage – what are the legal and moreal issues at stake in terms of children, divorce, death of husband (eg. what is the univira?) 3.Augustan Marriage Laws – how did his laws affect women and which women? The idea behind this was “pro-natalist”. Did it work? How did political, philosophical and medical men react to these issues of reproduction? 4.Inheritance – were women inheriting more?

8 Roman Law – how do we know so much about it? Jurisprudence 101: “codified” simply means “collection of written laws”; it implies something else. (eg. Hammurabi and Solon, from this course). In Rome’s case, it comes from the Twelve Tablets of Law. Because it is written down, it reflects more static principles than “common law” or the “oral law” of tribes (consider the code Napoleon) In the Roman case of women, the concept of women in law is “weakness and light-mindedness” (infirmitus sexus and levitus animi)

9 Marlon Brando – it just seemed right to be openly presentist Stanley (to Stella): How about a few more details on that subject...Let's cop a gander at the bill of sale...What do you mean? She didn't show you no papers, no deed of sale or nothin' like that?...Well then, what was it then? Given away to charity?...Oh I don't care if she hears me. Now let's see the papers...Now listen. Did you ever hear of the Napoleonic code, Stella?...Now just let me enlighten you on a point or two...Now we got here in the state of Louisiana what's known as the Napoleonic code. You see, now according to that, what belongs to the wife belongs to the husband also, and vice versa...It looks to me like you've been swindled baby. And when you get swindled under Napoleonic code, I get swindled too and I don't like to get swindled...Where's the money if the place was sold? Streetcar Named Desire 1951.

10 GUARDIANSHIP: Latin Phrases 101 - power and exclusive rights in Roman private law the power of a father, (pater familias or patriarch,) over his children (patria potestas) “life or death power” –Paterfamilias means “master of slaves” of the husband over his wife (manus) of an owner over his property - including slaves (dominium) of a freedman over another by contract (mancipium.) A positive French portrayal of the household in Roman times

11 GUARDIANSHIP: Familia – all members remain under the patriarch until his death In the early Republic, only the pater familias - oldest male ascendant of the familia, had rights before the law to buy, hold or sell property. The patriarch owned as agent and trustee all the property of the extended family and held most absolute power over persons within his extended household. He held the power of life, death, enslavement (servitus) and bondage (mancipium). The father and mother, their house and land and property, their children, married sons; grandchildren by these sons; daughters-in-law, slaves and clients constituted the Roman familia - an assembly of "owned" persons and things subject to the pater familias' exclusive right of use or disposition (dominium) John Crook, Law and Life of Rome, 1967.

12 GUARDIANSHIP – “The Godfather”? On the level of the "familia," wives, grown sons, daughters-in-law, children, grandchildren, slaves of the patriarch were his property. These "properties" had no voice in the Curiae (wards or districts of the Republic), yet were subject to its decisions and laws, as well as to the decisions and laws made on the family level by the patriarch. A non-citizen, female, child, slave, etc., when accused of a crime would be brought to the pater familias for judgment and punishment. This coin depicts Brutus, the first consul of Rome. He is flanked by lictors armed with fasces and possibly on his way to the curiae of Rome

13 MARRIAGE: Laws and lives 1.cum manu marriage - wife passes into husband's family 1.assumes legal status of his child 2.dowry passes into husband's keeping 2.sine manu marriage - wife remains member of natal family 1.natal family retains interest in dowry - if divorce or death occurs, it must be repaid (one-fifth retained for each child) 2.wife and children belong to different families - consequences for inheritance 3.demographic imbalances obligation to raise only one daughter 2.intermarriage among free and freed, except for senators 4.marriage ages: 12 for girls, 14 for boys 5.sequential marriage and the ideal of the univira

14 Changes to the Law for women – not all good Caesar Augustus instituted jus liberorum “the right of three or four children” – what right did that give these women, and which women? But this is also lex Julia, restricted divorce (which had been on the rise) and made female adultery a felony Fathers could put their daughter and lover to death; husbands had to divorce their adulterous wife

15 INHERITANCE 1.Daughters' right to inherit equally recognized in law 2.Increasing wealth of women from 2nd century BCE onward 3.Property confiscations and Oppian Law 4.Voconian Law of 169 BCE - regulated female inheritance –right of woman to inherit from senatorial class man, even if sole child –could not be executrix, only legatee –could not receive more than the chief heir took –possibly to discourage woman receiving both dowry and bequest

16 Oppian Law – 215 BCE Like income tax, this was an emergency measure passed in Rome, which taxed women’s use of expensive goods According to Livy, the law stated: –“no woman might own more than half an ounce of gold nor wear a multicoloured dress nor ride in a carriage in the city or in a town within a mile of it, unless there was a religious festival.” Twenty years after the conflict, the law was still in place, and the women gathered in protest: –“The matrons, whom neither counsel nor shame nor their husbands' orders could keep at home, blockaded every street in the city and every entrance to the Forum.”

17 Voconian Law Forbade instituting a woman as an heiress, whether she was married or unmarried To Montesquieu: “The Voconian law was made to hinder the women from growing too wealthy; for this end it was necessary to deprive them of large inheritances, and not of such as were incapable of supporting luxury.” The Spirit of Laws”

18 Women’s Lives: education Upper-class Roman women not denied education Some were published writers (Agrippina, left with her boy, Nero, before he killed her) Others, particularly Sulpicia, were noteworthy poets

19 Women’s Lives: Private Salons/ Public Speeches Hortensia’s 15 minutes of fame (42 BCE, after Julius Caesar’s death) “You have already deprived us of our fathers, our sons, our husbands and our brothers on the pretext that they wronged you, but if, in addition, you take away our property, you will reduce us to a condition not suitable to our birth, our way of life, and our female nature.” 1400 wealthy women, is this a class argument, or gender?

20 Octavia Second wife to Marc Antony Fulvia-his first wife (evil) Octavia (good) Cleopatra (unique) Octavia raised Fulvia’s, Cleopatra’s and her own children She was Octavian Augustus sister as well

21 Livia: Princeps Femina She was Octavia’s second wife, after she and he both divorced their first Octavian Augustus had the senate declare both Livia and Octavia (his sister), sacrosanct (state protection) Livia wore the traditional stola robe of the matron and kept her hair close- cropped and conservative

22 Pomeroy on Roman matrons How do they compare with Greek citizen women? How do they compare with their Roman husbands, brothers, sons? What sort of political power did they have, and what power did they not possess? Why do we know so much about their “notorious” lives?

23 Women of the Roman Lower Classes What is her approach to this chapter? (why is it so short, what are her sources?) What sort of guesswork does she do about women slaves; eg. those from Greece? What differences in Roman economics and engineering made slavery for women in Rome different from Greece? What differences existed between male and female slaves in Rome?

24 Women of the Roman Lower Classes “She kept house; she made wool”. Freewomen and working women in the main did work that they had been trained to do as slaves – but all women spun The records also indicate that many other occupations were open to them, small-scale merchants, tavern owners All in all, a weak chapter in Pomeroy’s book, to my way of thinking

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