Reading Roman women: sources, genres and real life
Roman women were either luxurious sluts or domestic paragons - at least according to the men who wrote Roman history and poetry. These authors introduced women into their works to make a moral point. We also have our own prejudices about ancient Rome and Roman women. Derived from film, television and sensational novels, these prejudices affect the way we 'read' the ancient material. Suzanne Dixon presents a range of examples to show that our ideas of what we 'know' about women's work, sexuality, commerce, or political activity in the Roman world have been shaped by the format, or genre, of each ancient source. She suggests ways in which we can read the evidence more critically and how Roman attitudes affected the crime of rape and women's chastity.
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a partial survey of scholarship
Reading the genre
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abortion activity adultery ancient Augustus Aulus Gellius authors Caelius Cato Cato the Elder Catullus Chapter characterisation chastity Cicero classical Claudius Clodia Clodia Metelli Codex Iustinianus Codex Theodosianus commemorated cultural depicted Digest Dixon economic elite emperor epitaphs example favours female sexuality feminine feminist freed slaves Gaius gender genres girl Greek historians husband inscriptions invective Joshel jurists Juvenal Kampen late Republic Latin Lesbia literary Livia Livy loans Lucretia male marriage masculine Messalina modern moral mother narrative Ovid owners patron patronage Pliny Letters Plutarch poems poetry political Pompeii Quintilian rape reading references representations Richlin roles Roman Italy Roman law Roman women Rome satire scholars scholarship second century BCE senatorial Skinner social sources specific speech status stereotypes Suetonius Tacitus Tacitus Annals texts Tiberius tion traditional tutela mulierum tutores Ulpian Valerius Maximus Verginia virtue wealth wife Wiseman wives woman womanly