Part A: Plan of Investigation
This investigation strives to compare and contrast of the role of women during the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages. The inquiry is significant because in order to understand the culture and ethics of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages it is crucial to understand the importance of women. The issues that will be addressed include: the role of women in the Roman Empire, the role of women in the Middle Ages, and the similarities as well as the differences of the two major time periods. This investigation will focus on the time period of 27 BC to 1485 BC and the places investigated will include Europe, more specifically Rome. This will be accomplished through a detailed examination of the role of women in the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages. In this investigation secondary and primary sources will be used.
Word Count: 142
Part B: Summary of Evidence
Women in Rome from 753 BC- 476 were treated with respect yet they struggled with keeping their identity. Roman women were either under the control of their father or their husband once they got one. It was the woman’s choice to remain under her father’s control, which often made divorces simpler, or change to become under the control of their husband. Infant girls were always under the fate of their father to whether or not she would survive. If the family could not afford another child they may decide not to keep it which was significantly more likely if it was a girl. While they may not have survived, if the child did, she would end up going to a school called ludus which is equivalent to a private elementary school. Only parents well off would send them to the school. Poorer children often times remained illiterate. Roman marriages had little to no meaning and were mostly arranged. Women were required to have a guardian with the exception of the six vestal virgins. They often ended in divorce only to remarry. As time went on the rights of women were enhanced. As for the law, women were given many rights around the time 350 CE. They were allowed to own property as well as change guardians from father to husband. However, one thing women could not do is they could not hold an office. The woman in the house was essentially the housekeeper. She cooked, cleaned, and raised children. The freedom of the woman depended upon the wealth of the family. Often times higher status women were not tasked with as many household oriented chores.
In the Middle Ages from 476 CE- 14th century almost all of the power of women was determined by biblical references. The average woman in a rural area had the duty of making clothes from wool, cleaning, cooking, and taking care of children. The women in town often were tasked in purchasing and trading goods and the normal housekeeping. In extreme cases women were known as witches. Other women became nuns and got involved in spiritual matters. In the year 1000 traditional marriage that involved getting married for financial reasons became...