Classical Studies 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Silt, Capitoline Hill, Gender Role

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FEBRUARY 9 2016 LECTURE
ROMAN WOMEN
Women became more prominent during the imperial period
oThey are largely absent before this in the literature that has been preserved
Romans were more concerned with politics and warfare neither of which
involved women
Even though they are not mentioned often, this does not mean
that they did not have an influence
They were not a role model for doing anything but having children
During the Republican period, everything that is recorded is stuff that happens in public
oNothing behind the scenes is seen
During the Imperial period, the focus is shifted to the emperor and his family along with
this close circles
oThere is now a spot light on women of power
Rome and Feminism
There is no real evidence of women speaking out about their roles in life
oNo rebellion against the assigned gender role
Marriage and Divorce
Legal marriage age was 14 for boys and 12 for girls
oThey both had to consent to the marriage
How often did it happen that children did not consent?
Arranged marriages were common among aristocratic families
oMarriages symbolized a merger
Primarily to have children but influenced by politics, social standing
May have been a religious event but it was not a religious contract
To get a divorce, a person had to spend three nights away for their spouse
oWhen this happened, the marriage was over
Either party could end it
How often did this happen?
oThe children stayed with the father and the women went back to her family
Marriage Ceremony
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FEBRUARY 9 2016 LECTURE
The bride was supposed to weave her own wedding dress
oWhite dress with an orange veil
The bride would create a belt that the husband was to undo that night
They started the tradition of exchanging rings
oPeople would pelt the couple with things
Sing insulting songs about the groom
oHe would care her over the threshold as it was bad luck if she tripped
She would smear fat on the door
Would spend the first night in the atrium
Ideal of the Matrona: Mother and Wife
She would devote herself to her husband’s family
She is not a part of her husband’s family and is not entitled to his property
oThe children belong to the father
Once he picks up the child, it is recognized and becomes a citizen
Laudatio Turiae
oAn account of a woman that was written by her husband
He had it carved into stone to praise his wife
Widows
Once a husband dies, a women does not remarry
oRaises the children with his family
This was the ideal for widowhood
oMen were about eight to ten years older than their wives
They died earlier due to warfare
oAristocratic families did not obey this
Daughters would be married off after their husbands died
A lot of women were either widows or single mothers
oMen would go off to war leaving the women by themselves
Women and Property
Land was very important in the upper class
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FEBRUARY 9 2016 LECTURE
The man could use her property but it belonged to her
oIf she leaves him then the property goes with her
If he dies then she gets the property back
Thought that women needed someone to represent her since they weren’t deemed to be
able to take care of it
oShe was allowed to pick her representative
Female Strategies
Could they engage in political and economic struggles and win?
oIt was very hard
Women who tried to assert themselves were knocked down
Women could be ambitious as long as they made it seem like they were doing it as a
mother or a wife
oIf it was for the good of her children, husband
It was safe if down this way
oWhen Christianity comes, women sieze it as a vehicle to carry out their strategies
Everything they do is in the name of Christ and everything was done with
God’s help
Transgressive Women
Women always had to be aware of the appropriate amount of display
oWhat they could get away with without pushing the limits too far
Female statues had removable head pieces that could be changed with the times and
the laws that were in place
SLAVES
There are a number of sources that provide evidence about slaves
oLaw, self-help books, letters
Roman Sources of Slavery
They had a lot more slaves than the Greeks
Wars were conquests which led to a flood in the slave markets
oOne in every three people in Italy was a slave
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