The Roman Republic
as far as social processes go, many last through the changing empire
early stories may be complete fabrications to support a change of government, or
embellished to encourage a certain notion of what Rome stands for
note: lots of wars and military campaigns in 3rd century BCE- pushing boundaries of
Roman empire, leaving a significant difference in the male/female ratio
men constantly leaving on campaign, leaving women at home to take care of the house,
slaves, investments, farming, also to some extent, some political areas- vacuum created-
de facto put in charge of political and social areas of the government
by default, then, women have more liberties than in Athens
later authors may have fabricated the laws of Romulus, possible that later politicians
considered themselves lenient compared to the time of Romulus
because the ancestors did it this way, this is the right way to do it- The Twelve Tablets (c.
450 BCE)All notably deformed children are to be immediately killed.
Women, even though they are full of age, because of their levity of mind shall be under
guardianship...except Vestal Virgins, who... shall be free from guardianship.
Women's possessions can be given by the woman herself with the authorization of her
If anyone who has no direct male heir dies intestate, the nearest male agnate shall have
Women shall not tear their cheeks or shall not make a sorrowful outcry at funerals.
o anecdotes of the punishment of wives:
Egnatius Metellus- beat his wife to death for drinking wine
Gaius Sulpicius Gallus- divorced his wife for not covering her head out of
"The law prescribes for you my eyes alone to which you may prove your
beauty...If you, with needless provocation, invite the look of anyone else,
you must be suspected of wrongdoing."
Ius liberorum- Augustus reformed- in doing so, Augustus guaranteed that women were
"doing their part" in society by producing legitimate children- Law of Children- if a free
woman (Roman who was never a slave) has three children, she no longer needs a
guardian; if a free