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Lecture #5 (Oct. 9) - Gender, Sexuality, and Health

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Rob Mc Cutcheon

Lecture #5 – Gender, Sexuality, and Health Res Gestae  In the year 13CE, one year before his death, Augustus entrusted 4 things to the vestal virgins o His will o Instructions for his funeral o An inscription o A record of the financial/martial contributions he had made  The inscription became known as the Res Gestae  3 copies still exist – found in the province of Galatia (in Turkey)  Basis on the genre elogiae (elegiac) – a work of art in remembrance of someone  Was inscribed in bronze and put in front of Augustus’ mausoleum  Continual incorporation of his power – the idea of a man who broke the system and created a new one in its place  Emphasizes that he gave up the power that was given to him – rejected the dictatorship like any good Roman would  Deliberately non-artistic in nature o Very factual in nature  Is it accurate though? – he calls himself the ‘defender and liberator of the Republic’ o However he was the one who basically ended it  Said he was able to successfully end wars, but he neglected to mention that he started them  Said he gave up the power he was offered, but was able to keep it (just under a name that wasn’t dictator)  Augustus was given the title pater patria - father of the nation o He was a ‘super patron’ – not an emperor Bodies as Cultural Artifacts  The human body is not simply a biological fact, but one of the most important sites of culture as well as a producer of social and political hierarchies.  The body is a cultural site primarily in 2 ways: 1. How bodies are clothed and decorated 2. Individual comportment: how individuals move and treat their bodies in line with certain social expectations  We send conscious and unconscious messages based on how we dress and move  The are many subconscious behavioural differences between men and women (ex. How you sit) The Bases of Roman Social Class Hierarchy  Three factors comprised social class in Rome: 1. Ancestry  Resolved by struggle of orders for the most part (except for those positions that could only be held by a pleb [tribune, certain aediles])  It didn’t matter where you were born – if your ancestors were Roman citizens, so were you 2. Economic status – certain social classes determined by your net worth 3. Citizenship – Latin citizenship was a lesser form of Roman citizenship  Gender also played an important role – women had much fewer rights than men (couldn’t hold office, couldn’t vote, etc.) Senatorial Class  All men who were members of the senate o ie they had been elected into one of the offices in the cursus honorum  Worth at least 1,000,000 sesterces  Banned from non-agricultural business, trade, and public contracts Equestrian Class (Knights)  Based entirely off of your wealth o Worth at least 400,000 sesterces  Business class – would do everything that the Senatorial class was banned from doing Common People (Plebs)  All other freeborn Roman citizens  A patrician could be in this class if they fell on hard financial times Freedpeople  Bound to their former masters  Not eligible for any political offices  Only they have the designation ‘freedman’ – their children would be considered freeborn if they were born after the slave was released o if the freedman was a slave when they had their child, the child would also become the slave of the master Slaves  no political rights at all  completely subject to the power of their masters Latins  freeborn residents of Italy (outside of Rome)  after the social war (in 89BCE), Latins were granted full Roman citizenship Foreigners  all other freeborn men and women within Roman territory o in 212BCE the Emperor Caracella extended citizenship to nearly all people within the empire Roman Dress  regulates and maintains social order within Rome  at critical moments, Romans would change their dress to reflect these transitions  wrapped loincloths as underwear, girls may have worn a leather band to support the breats The Tunic  basic garment for both genders  men would wear it belted  men of equestrian ranks would have a narrow purple band  men in the senatorial rank would have a wider purple band o ‘purple’ for them was actually more of a deep crimson o Would have gone from the shoulder to the hem  length: o women: to their feet o men: knee-length o soldiers: just above the knee  would have been made of 2 pieces of undyed wool sewn together The Toga  iconic – to be a Roman was to wear a toga o “masters of the earth, the toga clad race.” Vergil, Aeneid I.281  Symbol of citizenship  Probably of Etruscan origin  Made from wool, would have been quite heavy and restricted movement o Slower more stately gait o Controlled movements – you wouldn’t want your toga to come undone  Putting on the toga would have been a 2 person job  Types of togas: o Toga pura/virilis was off-white and worn by a regular citizen. o Toga trabea was a short toga of distinctive colour and size. It was worn by equestrians.  Equestrians would also wear special shoes and a gold ring o Toga praetexta was a a purple bordered toga worn by children of both genders. It was also worn by magistrates. o Toga Candida was a bright white toga which was worn by candidates campaigning for office. o Toga pulla was a dark toga worn by those in mourning. o The toga picta was an embroidered toga worn by generals during a triumph.  Senators also wore special shoes that were distinctive from those of the equestrians o The expression `changing your shoes` began to refer to someone who became a senator  A tunic would be worn under the toga  It was not easy to wear a toga and was very time consuming  The ‘dark side’ of the toga: o Cliens needed to wear their togas when they visited their patronus – therefore the toga became a symbol for the power of the patron Women’s and Children’s Dress  Women wore togas in early Rome, but by the mid 300’s, only prostitutes continued to wear them o Denoted their lower class o Served as a parody to the male toga  Women would wear two types of tunics: o Peplos – folded down from the shoulder o Chiton – fastened at the shoulder  After a woman was married, she would wear a a stola over her tunic o Potential addition of a palla – a sort of overcoat/shawl fastened to the stola by a brooch o The stola can be thought of almost like the modern wedding ring – a way to show a woman’s marital status  she was no longer sexually available  Women would often wear jewelry (brooches, necklaces, bracelets, etc.) but it had no political significance, it was just a reflection of the fashion at the time  Children would wear the praetexta toga  Boys would often wear a small necklace called a bulla – a locket of a phallic nature (apotropaic) o Given to the boys shortly after birth o Because boys were seen as sexually desirable, the bulla was intended to protect them from unwanted sexual advances  When boys reached the age of adulthood, they would switch their toga to the all-white one that was worn by adult citizens o Usually they would burn their old one and dedicated it to the lares – the household gods  Girls would also change their attire when they reached womanhood (ie. a suitable age to be married) o Before they got married, they would donate their old toga and dolls in the name of virginal fortune Freedmen  Would wear a conical cap to mark their status  They were not able to wear a toga  No distinctive markings on tunics or clothes (aside from the cap)  Coins depict Brutus on one side and the cap with two knives on the other o Symbolizes how Brutus freed the citizens from the dictator that was Caesar Hairstyles  A simple hairstyle reflected traditional Roman values o Too fancy meant that the person was ‘too Greek’  Wigs would not have been uncommon  The family of Augustus famously had very plain, matronly hairstyles o Reflects his political desires to return to the basics  The style for men in the early Republic would have been long hair and beards o Changed around the 3 century due to a greater number of wars – soldiers represented the ideal and would have had buzz cuts and no beards  In the 2 century CE Hadrian popularized the beard again, but kept his hair short  In summary, clothes could reveal: o Your class (political and economic) o A woman’s marital status o When or not a boy had reached adulthood Sex vs. Sexuality  Sex is considered to be the physical act that would occur  Sexuality is differentiated from sex because its encompasses all the knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviours of individuals in a society in regards to sexual pleasure o Matters of anatomy and biochemistry o Feelings and beliefs about the nature of social relationships  No concept of sexual orientation existed in Ancient Rome  Essentialist view – categories are innate (you were born into them)  Constructionist view – categories are a result of culture Roman Sexuality  Dominant, hegemonic ideas – would have been openly and publically portrayed and talked about  The belief that one person performed the act on another person o Someone was active – the penetrator (the person with the phallus) o Someone was passive – the penetrated  There was no concept of sexual orientation – gender didn’t matter o What mattered was whether you were passive or active  The ideal man was the ‘impenetrable penetrator’ o A man who allowed himself to be penetrated was stigmatized – the idea that being penetrated makes you womanly, weak o Men are dominant in society, they should also be dominant in bed
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