Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Marginal Groups in Roman Society Women. General Cultural Context Rome was a patriarchal society like all others in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Marginal Groups in Roman Society Women. General Cultural Context Rome was a patriarchal society like all others in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean."— Presentation transcript:

1 Marginal Groups in Roman Society Women

2 General Cultural Context Rome was a patriarchal society like all others in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean Rome was a patriarchal society like all others in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean Roman culture directly and indirectly inherited ideas about gender differences and roles in society from the Greeks Roman culture directly and indirectly inherited ideas about gender differences and roles in society from the Greeks

3 Patriarchy defined Institutionalized male dominance over women and children in family and general dominance over women in society. Institutionalized male dominance over women and children in family and general dominance over women in society. Gerda Lerner 1986 Creation of Patriarchy Gerda Lerner 1986 Creation of Patriarchy Argues that patriarchy is a Social construct developed together with advances in agriculture Argues that patriarchy is a Social construct developed together with advances in agriculture Not natural, but system of organizing society Not natural, but system of organizing society Established historically, thus can be ended by historical process Established historically, thus can be ended by historical process

4 The development of Patriarchy Anthropologists link the development of patriarchy to the transition from primarily hunters and gatherers to agricultural communities Anthropologists link the development of patriarchy to the transition from primarily hunters and gatherers to agricultural communities Women associated with gathering and knowledge of plants and seeds provided the skills for transition to agriculture (curiosity a dangerous female characteristic in myths, i.e. Pandora, Eve) Women associated with gathering and knowledge of plants and seeds provided the skills for transition to agriculture (curiosity a dangerous female characteristic in myths, i.e. Pandora, Eve) Over time agriculture becomes primarily a male activity –labour intensive Over time agriculture becomes primarily a male activity –labour intensive Women loose their primary role in food production – their status changes; in Pre-agricultural society women had important status – produced ca. 70% of food. Women loose their primary role in food production – their status changes; in Pre-agricultural society women had important status – produced ca. 70% of food. In agricultural societies, women less involved in food production, became less important, patriarchal social structure developed in which women came under male control In agricultural societies, women less involved in food production, became less important, patriarchal social structure developed in which women came under male control Patriarchal ideology associates transition to agriculture with a negative role of females, not a positive one. Patriarchal ideology associates transition to agriculture with a negative role of females, not a positive one. Misogynistic attitudes deeply entrenched in Western Culture Misogynistic attitudes deeply entrenched in Western Culture

5 The Myth of Pandora [69] So he ordered. And they obeyed the lord Zeus the son of Cronos. Forthwith the famous Lame God moulded clay in the likeness of a modest maid, as the son of Cronos purposed. And the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her, and the divine Graces and queenly Persuasion put necklaces of gold upon her, and the rich-haired Hours crowned her head with spring flowers. And Pallas Athene bedecked her form with all manners of finery. Also the Guide, the Slayer of Argus, contrived within her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of loud thundering Zeus, and the Herald of the gods put speech in her. And he called this woman Pandora (All Endowed), because all they who dwelt on Olympus gave each a gift, a plague to men who eat bread. ( Hesiod, Works and Days 69-82, c. 700 BCE) [69] So he ordered. And they obeyed the lord Zeus the son of Cronos. Forthwith the famous Lame God moulded clay in the likeness of a modest maid, as the son of Cronos purposed. And the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her, and the divine Graces and queenly Persuasion put necklaces of gold upon her, and the rich-haired Hours crowned her head with spring flowers. And Pallas Athene bedecked her form with all manners of finery. Also the Guide, the Slayer of Argus, contrived within her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of loud thundering Zeus, and the Herald of the gods put speech in her. And he called this woman Pandora (All Endowed), because all they who dwelt on Olympus gave each a gift, a plague to men who eat bread. ( Hesiod, Works and Days 69-82, c. 700 BCE)

6 Women in Greek myths: the Creation of Women (Pandora) Pandora - Greek pan = all, dora = gift Pandora - Greek pan = all, dora = gift Because before that the human race had lived off the land without any trouble, no hard work, no sickness or pain that the Fates give to men. But the woman took the lid off the big jar …and scattered all the miseries that spell sorrow for men. Only Hope was left ( Hesiod, Works and Days c. 700 BCE) Because before that the human race had lived off the land without any trouble, no hard work, no sickness or pain that the Fates give to men. But the woman took the lid off the big jar …and scattered all the miseries that spell sorrow for men. Only Hope was left ( Hesiod, Works and Days c. 700 BCE)

7 Greek Misogyny

8 Early Rome The Laws of the XII Tables c. 450 BCE Table V. Inheritance and guardianship Women, even though they are of full age, because of their levity of mind shall be under guardianship... except Vestal Virgins, who... shall be free from guardianship. Table V. Inheritance and guardianship Women, even though they are of full age, because of their levity of mind shall be under guardianship... except Vestal Virgins, who... shall be free from guardianship. 2. The conveyable possessions of a woman who is under guardianship of male agnates shall not be acquired by prescriptive right unless they are transferred by the woman herself with the authorisation of her guardian The conveyable possessions of a woman who is under guardianship of male agnates shall not be acquired by prescriptive right unless they are transferred by the woman herself with the authorisation of her guardian If anyone who has no direct heir dies intestate, the nearest male agnate shall have the estate; 4. If anyone who has no direct heir dies intestate, the nearest male agnate shall have the estate; 5. If there is not a male agnate, the male clansmen shall have the estate. 5. If there is not a male agnate, the male clansmen shall have the estate. 6. The agnatic relatives are guardians of those who are not given a guardian by will. 6. The agnatic relatives are guardians of those who are not given a guardian by will. Table VI. Ownership and possession If any woman is unwilling to be subjected in this manner to her husband's marital control, she shall absent herself for three successive nights in every year and by this means shall interrupt his prescriptive right of each year. Table VI. Ownership and possession If any woman is unwilling to be subjected in this manner to her husband's marital control, she shall absent herself for three successive nights in every year and by this means shall interrupt his prescriptive right of each year. Table X. Sacred law Table X. Sacred law 4. Woman shall not tear their cheeks or shall not make a sorrowful outcry on account of a funeral. 4. Woman shall not tear their cheeks or shall not make a sorrowful outcry on account of a funeral.

9 Women in Early Rome Pater familias = male household head Pater familias = male household head Had patria potestas (paternal power) over his children and all other dependents and wife if married in manu Had patria potestas (paternal power) over his children and all other dependents and wife if married in manu All women required to be in male guardianship for their entire life– tutela mulierum (female guardianship); All women required to be in male guardianship for their entire life– tutela mulierum (female guardianship); (guardian = tutor) (guardian = tutor) Originally the tutor was the nearest male agnate (tutor legitimus) Originally the tutor was the nearest male agnate (tutor legitimus) Age of maturity for men and women = 25 Age of maturity for men and women = 25 Women transferred from child guardianship (tutela puerorum) to female guardianship; if a man’s father dead by 25 – a man would be independent Women transferred from child guardianship (tutela puerorum) to female guardianship; if a man’s father dead by 25 – a man would be independent Earliest form of marriage – in manu marriage – ( but already in XII tables the sine manu marriage possible) Earliest form of marriage – in manu marriage – ( but already in XII tables the sine manu marriage possible) In manu In manu = woman would leave her father’s power and came under the patria potestas of her husband where she took the place of a daughter in his family: in loco filiae

10 Roman Women by the Late Roman Republic (c. 100 BCE) Rome’s imperial expansion brought enormous wealth to Rome; constant warfare abroad required many wealthy women to take care of family affairs (manage property); many women became extremely wealthy in their own rights Rome’s imperial expansion brought enormous wealth to Rome; constant warfare abroad required many wealthy women to take care of family affairs (manage property); many women became extremely wealthy in their own rights Many owned large numbers of slaves just like men did Many owned large numbers of slaves just like men did The institution of tutela had become a mere formality; often women had their own freedmen as tutor; yet law not removed. The institution of tutela had become a mere formality; often women had their own freedmen as tutor; yet law not removed. Exception: freedwomen suffered full force of tutela; had their patron (former owner) as their tutor legitimus; Exception: freedwomen suffered full force of tutela; had their patron (former owner) as their tutor legitimus;

11 Legal Restrictions on Women Excluded from participation in public life (could not run for office, could not vote) Excluded from participation in public life (could not run for office, could not vote) Played role, however, in public religion Played role, however, in public religion Could not plead in court, except on their own behalf Could not plead in court, except on their own behalf Could not participate in certain business transactions, i.e. could not give surety for loans, etc.; needed consent of tutor when alienating res mancipia (i.e. agricultural property, slaves, agricultural instruments) Could not participate in certain business transactions, i.e. could not give surety for loans, etc.; needed consent of tutor when alienating res mancipia (i.e. agricultural property, slaves, agricultural instruments)

12 Some legal rights granted to women in courts “It has not been permitted for a woman to make someone a defendant in a criminal court (iudicium publicum), unless of course they are avenging the death of their parents, children, or of their patron or patroness and their (the patron’s) son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter. “It has not been permitted for a woman to make someone a defendant in a criminal court (iudicium publicum), unless of course they are avenging the death of their parents, children, or of their patron or patroness and their (the patron’s) son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter. (Digest ) (Digest )

13 Social Restrictions on Women double standard Women not allowed to cohabitate with a slave (men could); Women not allowed to cohabitate with a slave (men could); Could not manumit (free a male slave) before the legal age in order to marry him (men could) Could not manumit (free a male slave) before the legal age in order to marry him (men could) Inappropriate for elite women to engage in business activities; leave the house unaccompanied; rub elbows with the unwashed Inappropriate for elite women to engage in business activities; leave the house unaccompanied; rub elbows with the unwashed Adultery defined as sexual intercourse with a respectable woman (or son, slave –male or female) in the power of another man; married men could have sex with with a woman of inferior social status: i.e. own slave, freedwomen, woman of low social status; Adultery defined as sexual intercourse with a respectable woman (or son, slave –male or female) in the power of another man; married men could have sex with with a woman of inferior social status: i.e. own slave, freedwomen, woman of low social status; A married woman could not do that – she would be an adulteress A married woman could not do that – she would be an adulteress What was the reason for this double standard? What was the reason for this double standard?

14 Double Standard Focus of adultery laws controlling a woman’s sexuality in order to protect the domus (household); Focus of adultery laws controlling a woman’s sexuality in order to protect the domus (household); Central to ensure legitimacy of offsprings Central to ensure legitimacy of offsprings

15 The role of women in Roman society Only career – wife and mother Only career – wife and mother Central role in society: as wife/mother transmission of property, transmission of family name and reputation; production of citizens/soldiers Central role in society: as wife/mother transmission of property, transmission of family name and reputation; production of citizens/soldiers Among elite: instrumental in forming powerful alliances among politicians: i.e. Pompey the Great married Julia, Caesar’s daughter; Among elite: instrumental in forming powerful alliances among politicians: i.e. Pompey the Great married Julia, Caesar’s daughter; Keep in mind, however, that ideology is that of the wealthy elite -many lower class women had to work for a living Keep in mind, however, that ideology is that of the wealthy elite -many lower class women had to work for a living

16 The Status of Roman Women in Society Women always defined in terms of their relationship to the males in their family Women always defined in terms of their relationship to the males in their family As daughter of, as wife of, as mother of, etc. As daughter of, as wife of, as mother of, etc. Never defined as individuals in their own rights Never defined as individuals in their own rights A woman’s prominence in Roman society depedend on the status of the men in their family A woman’s prominence in Roman society depedend on the status of the men in their family Nomenclature: men had 3 names (tria nomina), women only 2 (had no praenomen)i.e. Nomenclature: men had 3 names (tria nomina), women only 2 (had no praenomen)i.e. Gaius Iulius Caesar – his daughter was simply Iulia; if he had 2 daughters, their names would have been: Iulia Prima, Iulia Secunda, or Iulia Major, Iulia Minor, etc., Gaius Iulius Caesar – his daughter was simply Iulia; if he had 2 daughters, their names would have been: Iulia Prima, Iulia Secunda, or Iulia Major, Iulia Minor, etc.,

17 The Widow Vidua

18 Digest (Labeo) Labeo says that one calls a “widow” (vidua) not only someone who was once married but also a woman who never had a husband, because the term ‘bereft’ (vidua) derives from the fact that the person is as it were destitute of reason, insane, without sense or sanity; likewise, the name of ‘vidua’ derives from the fact that she is alone. Labeo says that one calls a “widow” (vidua) not only someone who was once married but also a woman who never had a husband, because the term ‘bereft’ (vidua) derives from the fact that the person is as it were destitute of reason, insane, without sense or sanity; likewise, the name of ‘vidua’ derives from the fact that she is alone.

19 Vidua (manless) Term includes widows, divorced women and women who never married; one term fits all unattached women Term includes widows, divorced women and women who never married; one term fits all unattached women Only exception applies to virgo (virgin) applied to young girls before marriage (e Only exception applies to virgo (virgin) applied to young girls before marriage (e No term identified man as married or unmarried No term identified man as married or unmarried Compare: French Mademoiselle, English miss; German Fräulein (all identify an unmarried woman) Compare: French Mademoiselle, English miss; German Fräulein (all identify an unmarried woman)

20 The vidua in Roman literature and legal sources Roman sources almost completely silent about widows as a social group before Christianity Roman sources almost completely silent about widows as a social group before Christianity In literature most widows mentioned belong to elite and serve as exempla of good or bad female behaviour. In literature most widows mentioned belong to elite and serve as exempla of good or bad female behaviour. viduae in the legal sources primarily mentioned in relation to property issues. viduae in the legal sources primarily mentioned in relation to property issues. Why is that? Why is that?

21 Why are there so few viduae in Roman literature? Elite ideology promoted marriage and remarriage for all women, Elite ideology promoted marriage and remarriage for all women, Authors not interested in single women as social group Authors not interested in single women as social group Ideology of marriage/remarriage coexisted with the ideal of univira): a woman once married and as widow devoted to memory of husband and bringing up his children. Ideology of marriage/remarriage coexisted with the ideal of univira): a woman once married and as widow devoted to memory of husband and bringing up his children. Absence of widows as social group from Roman sources led scholars to believe for long time that there were almost no widows/single women in ancient Rome Absence of widows as social group from Roman sources led scholars to believe for long time that there were almost no widows/single women in ancient Rome

22 Widowhood in the Roman World the demographic context Ancient demographic context important in determining frequency of widowhood Ancient demographic context important in determining frequency of widowhood Pre-industrial high mortality rate especially among children; maintaining stable population each woman required to give birth to 5-6 children; full advantage of female fertility required Pre-industrial high mortality rate especially among children; maintaining stable population each woman required to give birth to 5-6 children; full advantage of female fertility required Age at first marriage: early female and late male age at first marriage Age at first marriage: early female and late male age at first marriage Most girls were married by mid to late teens; men 7 – 10 years later. Most girls were married by mid to late teens; men 7 – 10 years later. In the case of a man’s second marriage, the age gap was even larger, especially if they still needed an heir In the case of a man’s second marriage, the age gap was even larger, especially if they still needed an heir Widowhood at a relatively early age was a reality for the majority of Roman women Widowhood at a relatively early age was a reality for the majority of Roman women

23 The Evidence? Demography and model life tables Demography and model life tables the census reports from Roman Egypt, ( R.S. Bagnall and B.W. Frier (1994) The Demography of Roman Egypt (Cambridge) the census reports from Roman Egypt, ( R.S. Bagnall and B.W. Frier (1994) The Demography of Roman Egypt (Cambridge) Census = Household declarations, taken every 14 years – A.D. 11 – 257; included property declarations, household size and composition, familial status of members, a few households can be traced over subsequent reports. Census = Household declarations, taken every 14 years – A.D. 11 – 257; included property declarations, household size and composition, familial status of members, a few households can be traced over subsequent reports. Reveal 80% of women appear as married around age 30, Reveal 80% of women appear as married around age 30, Fewer still married over age of 35; only 40% of women still married in their late forties Fewer still married over age of 35; only 40% of women still married in their late forties Suggests presence of significant number of older viduae Suggests presence of significant number of older viduae Also, 20% of young women not married – never married?. Also, 20% of young women not married – never married?. Egypt as a source compared to rest of Empire has similar demographic and marriage pattern Egypt as a source compared to rest of Empire has similar demographic and marriage pattern

24 The wealthy widow If no pressure from family to form an alliance – had the choice to remain widowed or remarry again. If no pressure from family to form an alliance – had the choice to remain widowed or remarry again.

25 Cornelia, mother of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus “And not long after that he died (Tiberius, the older), leaving twelve children who had been born to him and Cornelia. Cornelia took over the children and the household, and proved herself so sensible and motherly and generous that it seemed that Tiberius had made a good decision when he chose to die on behalf of such a woman. When Ptolemy (king of Egypt) offered to share his kingdom with her and proposed marriage, Cornelia refused. She remained a widow, and of her children only a daughter survived who married Scipio the younger, and the two sons, …” ( Plutarch, Life of Tiberius Gracchus, 1.2-5) “And not long after that he died (Tiberius, the older), leaving twelve children who had been born to him and Cornelia. Cornelia took over the children and the household, and proved herself so sensible and motherly and generous that it seemed that Tiberius had made a good decision when he chose to die on behalf of such a woman. When Ptolemy (king of Egypt) offered to share his kingdom with her and proposed marriage, Cornelia refused. She remained a widow, and of her children only a daughter survived who married Scipio the younger, and the two sons, …” ( Plutarch, Life of Tiberius Gracchus, 1.2-5)

26 The treatment of the vidua in literature Often stereotyped Often stereotyped 3 types of literary presentations: 3 types of literary presentations: 1 The virtuous one with the univira as the most virtuous one, i.e. Cornelia the paradigm 1 The virtuous one with the univira as the most virtuous one, i.e. Cornelia the paradigm 2 The helpless, unprotected widow 2 The helpless, unprotected widow 3 the promiscuous and predatory, usually older widow 3 the promiscuous and predatory, usually older widow

27 The virtuous vidua Most famous historical example: Cornelia, mother of the brothers Gracchi, the univira, Most famous historical example: Cornelia, mother of the brothers Gracchi, the univira, Remained loyal to memory of husband and raising of children Remained loyal to memory of husband and raising of children Praised female qualities: loyalty, chastity, modesty, Praised female qualities: loyalty, chastity, modesty,

28 The ‘vulnerable’ vidua Often older, childless, wealthy widow, who without the protection of a husband, becomes prey for legacy hunters (captatores) Often older, childless, wealthy widow, who without the protection of a husband, becomes prey for legacy hunters (captatores) topos in Roman literature especially satire topos in Roman literature especially satire Not just literary stereotype – a very real case is that of Apuleius (author of the Golden Ass) was accused of having used magic in order to persuade the older wealthy widow Pudentilla into marrying him; he won the case; had he lost, he would have lost his life. Not just literary stereotype – a very real case is that of Apuleius (author of the Golden Ass) was accused of having used magic in order to persuade the older wealthy widow Pudentilla into marrying him; he won the case; had he lost, he would have lost his life.

29 The promiscuous and predatory vidua The historical Clodia: see document sheet # 71, Cicero on Clodia The historical Clodia: see document sheet # 71, Cicero on Clodia But compare her social life with that of Cornelia # 51 Cornelia’s noble nature But compare her social life with that of Cornelia # 51 Cornelia’s noble nature What is different? What is different?

30 The widow of Ephesus A story the Romans used when they needed an illustration of the ‘female character’ A story the Romans used when they needed an illustration of the ‘female character’ Message: even the most virtuous woman is unable to control her sexual desires Message: even the most virtuous woman is unable to control her sexual desires Literary stereotypes are used to illustrate and reinforce the patriarchal ideology associated with womanhood. Literary stereotypes are used to illustrate and reinforce the patriarchal ideology associated with womanhood.

31 The Older Widow in Satire and Invective

32 Satire and invective Use of stereotypes in Satire Use of stereotypes in Satire Amy Richlin (Invective against women in Roman Satire 1984) argues: “Invective against women can best be understood as concrete manifestation of a societal notion of women. The hugely exaggerated and emphasized features in the stereotype tell us nothing (directly) about Roman women, but plenty about the fears and preoccupations of Roman society with regard to women, as enunciated by male satirists.” Amy Richlin (Invective against women in Roman Satire 1984) argues: “Invective against women can best be understood as concrete manifestation of a societal notion of women. The hugely exaggerated and emphasized features in the stereotype tell us nothing (directly) about Roman women, but plenty about the fears and preoccupations of Roman society with regard to women, as enunciated by male satirists.”

33 Invective Insults; common practice in Rome, was not considered slanderous; even had place in court room - see Cicero Insults; common practice in Rome, was not considered slanderous; even had place in court room - see Cicero Invective genres: satire, law-court speeches; graffitti (lower classes) Invective genres: satire, law-court speeches; graffitti (lower classes) In law-courts used to damage reputation of opponent – frequently by insulting females in opponents family: their chastity, sexual restraint, modesty; placing doubt on his ability to control the sexuality of the females of his domus; In law-courts used to damage reputation of opponent – frequently by insulting females in opponents family: their chastity, sexual restraint, modesty; placing doubt on his ability to control the sexuality of the females of his domus; also common to depict opponent as sexual deviant, i.e. pathic homosexual, as effeminate also common to depict opponent as sexual deviant, i.e. pathic homosexual, as effeminate

34 Invectives against the older vidua often particularly vicious since they cannot be controlled as easily as young women often particularly vicious since they cannot be controlled as easily as young women Older unmarried women represent female sexuality on the loose, out of the control of males -- represent danger! Older unmarried women represent female sexuality on the loose, out of the control of males -- represent danger! They challenge the ‘natural’ hierarchy; often represented as crossing boundaries They challenge the ‘natural’ hierarchy; often represented as crossing boundaries

35 Old Women are Repulsive Old Women are Repulsive Age and decrepitude enormously exaggerated Age and decrepitude enormously exaggerated She likes to drink, often offers the author money or a large dowry to marry or service them sexually - the author resists with disgust She likes to drink, often offers the author money or a large dowry to marry or service them sexually - the author resists with disgust Fantastic old age expressed by comparison with characters from Greek myths the Roman audience is familiar with:..who perhaps could have been the nurse of Tithonus, Priam, and Nestor, if she hadn’t been an old woman when they were boys” Fantastic old age expressed by comparison with characters from Greek myths the Roman audience is familiar with:..who perhaps could have been the nurse of Tithonus, Priam, and Nestor, if she hadn’t been an old woman when they were boys”

36 Sexually Active Old Widows: Sexually Active Old Widows: In Martial (Roman poet c. 41 BCE – 108 CE) old woman is denied to be a girl, but she remains extremely eager for sex and is rejected as sexual partner in crude terms: In Martial (Roman poet c. 41 BCE – 108 CE) old woman is denied to be a girl, but she remains extremely eager for sex and is rejected as sexual partner in crude terms: “ you want to be fucked for free, when you’re ugly and an old woman.” “ you want to be fucked for free, when you’re ugly and an old woman.” One woman in Martial is reproached for depilating her crotch and told that this is proper for wives, but not mothers. One woman in Martial is reproached for depilating her crotch and told that this is proper for wives, but not mothers. The woman is marked off from sexual union with a man; demonstration of disgust at sexuality in old women. The woman is marked off from sexual union with a man; demonstration of disgust at sexuality in old women.

37 Physical flaws Example: in Horace Epodes 8 and 12 Example: in Horace Epodes 8 and 12 8: black-toothed, wrinkle-browed, with flabby stomach and misshapen, swollen legs, with anus like that of a cow with diarrhea, breast like a mare’s teats ….decked out with cosmetics made from crocodile dung. 8: black-toothed, wrinkle-browed, with flabby stomach and misshapen, swollen legs, with anus like that of a cow with diarrhea, breast like a mare’s teats ….decked out with cosmetics made from crocodile dung. When focused on one particular body part – usually genitalia – very nasty When focused on one particular body part – usually genitalia – very nasty

38 The Vidua in Roman Society Ambiguous figure in Roman Culture Ambiguous figure in Roman Culture Female sexuality considered dangerous if not restrained and controlled by males Female sexuality considered dangerous if not restrained and controlled by males Can only be controlled in virgins by fathers, wives by husbands Can only be controlled in virgins by fathers, wives by husbands Underlying fear of women outside of men’s control; Underlying fear of women outside of men’s control; a mature wealthy widow or divorced woman was especially feared and came under strong scrutiny - hence the large body of satire/invective insulting and ridiculing women a mature wealthy widow or divorced woman was especially feared and came under strong scrutiny - hence the large body of satire/invective insulting and ridiculing women

39 What do you think was the impact of upper-class attitudes and ideology on the life of ordinary Roman women and widows? What do you think was the impact of upper-class attitudes and ideology on the life of ordinary Roman women and widows?

40

41 The reality of widowhood Widowhood was not a desirable state for the majority of women Widowhood was not a desirable state for the majority of women even elite women suffered economic setbacks even elite women suffered economic setbacks Example: Papiria, birth mother of Scipio Aemilianus: she no longer participated in the religious procession but chose to stay at home rather than publicly reveal her reduced circumstances and lose her dignitas Example: Papiria, birth mother of Scipio Aemilianus: she no longer participated in the religious procession but chose to stay at home rather than publicly reveal her reduced circumstances and lose her dignitas

42 Vidua for most of her life: the wife of Spurius Ligustinus (Livy 42.34) “,,I am SpuriusLigustinus,..My father left me a iugerum of land and the small cottage in which I was born and brought up, and I live there to this day. As soon as I came of age, my father married me to the daughter of his brother. She brought nothing with her but her freeborn status and her chastity, together with a fecundity sufficient for even a wealthy home. We have six sons, and two daughters, both of whom are already married. For of my sons have assumed the toga virilis, and two wear the toga praetexta.” “,,I am SpuriusLigustinus,..My father left me a iugerum of land and the small cottage in which I was born and brought up, and I live there to this day. As soon as I came of age, my father married me to the daughter of his brother. She brought nothing with her but her freeborn status and her chastity, together with a fecundity sufficient for even a wealthy home. We have six sons, and two daughters, both of whom are already married. For of my sons have assumed the toga virilis, and two wear the toga praetexta.”

43 continued Ligustinus 50 years old soldier, had already served for 22 years; Ligustinus 50 years old soldier, had already served for 22 years; Had 8 children on tiny farm Had 8 children on tiny farm Military service probably main source of income Military service probably main source of income How did the wife manage during these long periods of her husband’s absence? How did the wife manage during these long periods of her husband’s absence? Prolonged absence of husbands/fathers common experience for the majority of women Prolonged absence of husbands/fathers common experience for the majority of women

44 The wealthy landowner Ancient agriculture was labour intensive Ancient agriculture was labour intensive Difficult to cultivate land without help Difficult to cultivate land without help Even difficult for elite: Even difficult for elite: Example: M. Atilius Regulus, cos 257 and 256 B.C., absent on campaign (Valerius Maximus 4.4.6) Example: M. Atilius Regulus, cos 257 and 256 B.C., absent on campaign (Valerius Maximus 4.4.6) Farm – 7 iugera (Ligustinus had 1) Farm – 7 iugera (Ligustinus had 1) vilicus (farm manager) died, and the hired labour took off with the farm equipment vilicus (farm manager) died, and the hired labour took off with the farm equipment Leaving wife and children without means to work the farm on their own. Leaving wife and children without means to work the farm on their own. Senate intervened and Regulus’ family saved from starvation and he from losing senatorial status Senate intervened and Regulus’ family saved from starvation and he from losing senatorial status

45 The Peasant farmer’s wife Not such happy endings for many peasant farmers’ wives Not such happy endings for many peasant farmers’ wives Many were forced off the land during the prolonged absence of their farmer-soldier- husband or at death of husband Many were forced off the land during the prolonged absence of their farmer-soldier- husband or at death of husband Flocked to urban centers, especially Rome where they joined the large numbers of urban poor Flocked to urban centers, especially Rome where they joined the large numbers of urban poor Far fewer work opportunities for women than for men; many women forced into prostitution Far fewer work opportunities for women than for men; many women forced into prostitution

46 Funerary epitaph for a ‘Claudia’ CIL “Stranger, my message is short: stop and read it. This is the unlovely tomb of a lovely woman. Her parents gave her the name Claudia. She loved her husband with her heart. She bore two sons, one of whom she left on earth, the other beneath it. She had a pleasing way of talking and walking. She looked after the house and worked wool. I have said my piece. Go your way. “Stranger, my message is short: stop and read it. This is the unlovely tomb of a lovely woman. Her parents gave her the name Claudia. She loved her husband with her heart. She bore two sons, one of whom she left on earth, the other beneath it. She had a pleasing way of talking and walking. She looked after the house and worked wool. I have said my piece. Go your way. Working wool (lanifica) Working wool (lanifica) Spinning implements part of marriage ceremony Spinning implements part of marriage ceremony Looms in every household Looms in every household

47 Sales Woman –in a variety store

48 In the butcher shop

49 Some Caution about the evidence Roman inscriptions – appears to be more important to display social connections and not so much female occupations Roman inscriptions – appears to be more important to display social connections and not so much female occupations Evidence appears to relegate women to the private sphere and men to the public sphere Evidence appears to relegate women to the private sphere and men to the public sphere Does not necessarily reflect practice on all social levels Does not necessarily reflect practice on all social levels Evidence suggests work divided along gender-lines Evidence suggests work divided along gender-lines May be due to discourse of sources (masculine work not respectable for women) May be due to discourse of sources (masculine work not respectable for women) Women probably involved also in many jobs assumed to be ‘masculine’ Women probably involved also in many jobs assumed to be ‘masculine’ Important: we must not draw conclusions from silence and from what is emphasized in our sources – but carefully weigh all the evidence we have Important: we must not draw conclusions from silence and from what is emphasized in our sources – but carefully weigh all the evidence we have It is clear, however, that fewer opportunities existed for working women than for men, It is clear, however, that fewer opportunities existed for working women than for men,

50

51 Some Documents Some Documents

52 Literary Invective against Women topoi (topos)

53 The Nature of Roman literary invective Insults aimed primarily at female sexuality Insults aimed primarily at female sexuality Aimed at the adulterous wife whose behaviour was potential source of benefit or detriment to husband’s dignitas – (dignity/honour/reputation) – hence MUST be controlled Aimed at the adulterous wife whose behaviour was potential source of benefit or detriment to husband’s dignitas – (dignity/honour/reputation) – hence MUST be controlled The male poet defines what is attractive and repulsive in women: creates female stereotypes: The male poet defines what is attractive and repulsive in women: creates female stereotypes: Young attractive women Young attractive women Young repulsive women Young repulsive women Old repulsive women Old repulsive women

54 Roman Satire “why I don’t want to take a rich wife? I don’t want a husband for a wife. Let the matron stay beneath the husband; otherwise woman and man can’t be equals” ( Martial, Epigrams 8.12) “why I don’t want to take a rich wife? I don’t want a husband for a wife. Let the matron stay beneath the husband; otherwise woman and man can’t be equals” ( Martial, Epigrams 8.12) Role reversal Role reversal

55 Juvenal’s Satire VI L&F # 69 Eppia, wife of senator took off with a gladiator who had infamia (extremely low status with legal disabilities) Eppia, wife of senator took off with a gladiator who had infamia (extremely low status with legal disabilities) Behaviours brings dishonour for husband/family; Behaviours brings dishonour for husband/family; Women cowardly by nature, but brave when committing stuprum ; neglects duties to family, husband, children, country Women cowardly by nature, but brave when committing stuprum (illicit sexual intercourse) ; neglects duties to family, husband, children, country

56

57 The young attractive woman Young wives and mistresses – represented as promiscuous and drunk Young wives and mistresses – represented as promiscuous and drunk They are Jealous, or mercenary – not appropriate behaviour for respectable women They are Jealous, or mercenary – not appropriate behaviour for respectable women

58 The Young repulsive woman hideously ugly hideously ugly Would-be wives, mistresses, (do not quite make it as wives) Would-be wives, mistresses, (do not quite make it as wives) Promiscuous and drunk like the others Promiscuous and drunk like the others Only difference is their ugly physical appearance Only difference is their ugly physical appearance

59 The Older Widow in Roman Satire

60 Basic characteristics of these women Women defined in terms of family relationships. Members of the family but NOT wives; they are daughters, stepmothers, grandmothers, mothers-in- law, sisters, wet-nurses, sometimes mothers when contrasted with wives. Women defined in terms of family relationships. Members of the family but NOT wives; they are daughters, stepmothers, grandmothers, mothers-in- law, sisters, wet-nurses, sometimes mothers when contrasted with wives.

61

62


Download ppt "Marginal Groups in Roman Society Women. General Cultural Context Rome was a patriarchal society like all others in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google