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CLAS 2051 Lecture Notes - Vestal Virgin, Titus Tatius, Family Values

1 pages51 viewsFall 2012

Course Code
CLAS 2051
Fiona Black

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Late Roman Republic
Roman Religion and Women
o who your family worships is more important than who your gender worships
o Vestal Virgins
key role- keeping the hearth of Rome flame burning
government/religious bodies' duty was to have the most pristine women
to start the flame, had to rub sacred sticks together
selected between ages 6-10- choose to send your daughter to be examined-
body must be free of any blemishes, no sign of disability (signifies some
sort of corruption)- similar to examination of sacrificial animals- once
determine who is pure, selection process is by lots
in service for 30 years before mandatory retirement
spent 10 years training, 10 years practicing, and 10 years training others
once released from service, they were free to marry and live as they
wished- option of writing your own will without needing an intercessor, in
courts of law
only way to get kicked out was to engage in "unchaste behaviour"-
punishment was being essentially buried alive
also attended festivals, prepared a sort of bread that was used in all
The End of the Republic; the Start of the Empire
o Letter of condolence from Servius Sulpicius to Cicero on the death of his
daughter Tullia:
"But I suppose you grieve for her.How often must you have thought, and how
often it has occurred to me that in this day and age they are not most to be pitied
who have been granted a painless exchange of life for death!"
o decline in birth rate- killing of the heads of families by the Patricians
o men being killed, women being left in charge of the household
o Ovid, Amores
"Maybe in the days when Tatius ruled, the grubby Sabine women refused to be
taken by more than one man; now Mars tries men's sould in far off wars, and
Venus rules in her Aeneas' city. The lovely ladies are at play; the only chaste ones
are those who no one has courted."
o see growing liberty of women as symptomatic, if not causal, of the corruption of
the time period- blur the boundaries between which one comes first- war, or
women's liberties?
The Age of Augustus and the Roman Empire
o Cleopatra (very educated, has traveled extensively)starts relationship with Julius
Caesar (very successful in military campaigns, ends up being a dictator in the time
of civil war in Rome)
o Mark Antony
o Augustus put forth ideas of family values and unity to "fix" the state
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