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Lecture 12

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University of Toronto St. George
Victoria Wohl

1 Lecture 12: Historical Women Part II December 4 , 2012  Famous Roman Women o In ancient literature, the way people are portrayed doesn‟t necessarily correspond to reality  Some emperors portrayed as perfect emperors, and others portrayed as absolute tyrants  Is this what really happened? Hard for us to reconstruct the reality.  Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi o 191/190-100 BC o Daughter of Scipio Africanus (conqueror of Hannibal in 202 BC) o 172 BC: married to Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus  By the end of the Republican era, a name for an aristocratic male citizen comprised three parts (tria nomina): praenomen (given name), nomen (or nomen gentile, being the name of the gens or clan) and cognomen (name of a family line within the gens in other words nickname) o Bore 12 children, only 3 survive to adulthood: Sempronia (female, named after the clan), Tiberius, Gaius o univira (refused marriage proposal by Ptolemy VIII Physcon after her husband‟s death)  The Gracchi  the sons o Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (the son, same name as the father)  Tribune  representative of the Roman people (the Plebs)  2 Parts of Rome: Patricians the elite and Plebeians  the lower class, non-elite people.  Uses his time as a tribune to try and establish a law to distribute land = a lot of protest and dislike  133 BC  Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus killed o Gaius Sempronius Gracchus  becomes tribune as well and tries to establish the same law. Result: killed in 121 BC o THUS, Cornelia  loses 2 sons to political failure yet her portrayal isn‟t damaged.  Always defined by her motherhood.  “These are my jewels”  “A companion matron, who was staying with Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, was showing off her jewels, the most beautiful of that period. Cornelia managed to prolong the conversation until her children got home from school. Then she said, „These are my jewels.‟” o For Cornelia  her children are her jewels, most precious thing to her 2  Plutarch  biographer of various figures in antiquity: “Cornelia the mother of Tiberius, who often reproached her sons because the R
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