The Role Of Roman Women In Society

1111 words - 5 pages

The role of Roman women in society
From the founding of Ancient Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century the role of women changed immensely. The Romans preserved its foundation myth of Rome providing insight about its attitudes towards women, such as the Sabine women, who were said to have formed the ideals of the city with intelligence and courage intervening to save both families and keep peace.Then, as time passed, women used political circumstances change to gain free will and public influence . History is then left with the stories of famous Roman women who left their mark on the empire.
In the founding of the city, women had no personal autonomy. In its early laws each family was obligated to raise every male child born and one female. When the infant was born the father had the choice of accepting her into the family and be raised. If the child was rejected she was exposed to death, slavery, or adoption. this suggests women weren't valued. Should the infant be accepted she was strictly under the control of the father who held the of life and death over her .
About 509 bce the roman republic was established which was governed by male citizens. In the early republic patricians recorded laws that were beyond human whim. In These laws, called the twelve tables written in 450 bce, women's positions before the law resembled earlier customs. One law read that women's property or cases were presented by their paterfamilias . By the late republic many women weren't burdened by the laws of guardianship. Some used Rome's marriages laws to gain free wills. These marriages were served to bind families and alliances. These marriages led to many divorces because when political circumstances changed so did the partner. Julius Caesar, for example,forced his daughter Julia to divorce her first husband and marry another husband to stiffen an alliance. This was possible because the bride remained in the control of her father, which offered some freedom. Upper class women received education since both daughters and son received a tutor.
Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchus brothers,had acquired an interest for literature from her father and others have learned public speaking from their fathers’. This allowed them to convert their education to artistic pursuits influencing over their family members.The most important factor women's destiny was money. Many became wealthy both women and men, as the Romans conquered and continued this trend as the empire was established. Such wealthy women gained notoriety because of the freedom money brought.
Many other women used it to benefit the community in return they received the communities thanks in inscriptions. Through those inscriptions we see wealthy roman women played a major role in the rise of the empire. The wealth was periodically raised as a political issue. This wealth sometimes attributed to the salvation of the city. In 390 the women gathered 1000 pounds of gold to bribe the celts...

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