Women and Politics in Ancient Rome

Women and Politics in Ancient Rome

Women and Politics in Ancient Rome

Women and Politics in Ancient Rome

Synopsis

A groundbreaking study of women's political involvement in the classical age, "Women and Politics in Ancient Rome" delineates not only the influential role of Roman women in business, government, law and public affairs, but also the emergence of women's political and liberationist movements in antiquity. Richard Bauman's investigation spans the period from 350 B. C. to A. D. 68, from the Early Principate to the Middle and Late Republic, focusing on the steady expansion of women's roles in public affairs. Bauman's treatment is principally chronological, leading up to a discussion of the formidable careers of ladies in the Emperor's House. "Women and Politics in Ancient Rome" will be of interest to historians, lawyers, classicists, and researchers in women's studies.

Excerpt

Some thirty years ago a writer on Roman women was able to claim that ‘Intriguing as ancient Roman women may have been, they are the subject of no single work of deep and learned scholarship in English or in any other language’ (Balsdon 1962). Since then the explosion in women’s studies has produced many works ‘of deep and learned scholarship’, a substantial proportion of which deals with the role of women in Roman history, politics and law. In terms of size there has been nothing to compare with Balsdon’s coverage—the history of women from Romulus to Constantine, plus a large section on what he calls ‘their habits’—but what later works lack in length they more than make up for in depth. One need only glance at the works listed in our bibliography. For the republican period those works do not include any overall study since Balsdon’s assessment, though Herrmann (1964), if used with caution, partly discharges that function. The tendency has been to focus on special aspects. A number of writers have concentrated on women and the law: one notes the pioneering work of Peppe, the in-depth studies of A.J. Marshall, and the paper by Dixon. Others have examined the laws applicable to women: Corbett’s basic book on marriage is supplemented by the works of Watson and J.F. Gardner, and a particular law is discussed by Culham. (I have not seen S.M. Treggiari, Roman Marriage, 1991). Studies of individual women include Deroux, Dorey, McDermott, Ramage and Skinner on Clodia; Babcock on Fulvia; Singer on Octavia; and Horsfall and Instinsky on Cornelia’s letter. Specific problems affecting women are discussed by Boyce, Hinard (in part), E. Rawson and Reinach. The Vestals have been explored from several important points of view by Beard, Cornell, Koch and Münzer. There is a special study of

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