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Women In Ancient Rome Essay

1298 words - 5 pages

The Roman Empire's attitude towards women were very clear in the sense that women played secondary roles to their male counterparts. In most cases, women were treated unequally and were apparently meant simply to fulfill men's expectations. There were exceptions to this, however, but often seen as an attempt by the males to facilitate their interests. This essay will show how this is true, with topics revolving around women in terms of education, marriage, role in society, family as well as their social rights at the time.The attitude towards Roman women in the field of education would seem to be the most controversial. On one hand, women were seen as being valued for their mental prowess and we see this in the words, "I fall for the young and see the not so young. One has looks, the other experience" (Ovid's Amores Extracts). This is further noted when looking at a Roman picture of a husband and wife, where the wife holds a stylus, depicting equality in education (Extracts Painting).However, it is observed that in most cases, women who were intellectual were seen as annoying when discussing their literary opinions (Juvenal's Satire Extracts). Women were actually seen as unintellectual beings, shown by their description of not having a "grain of salt" in their body, depicting a lack of wit and humor (Catullus' The Complete Poems Extracts). At age 12, the educational lives of boys and girls diverged, as only the males continued studies in most cases (Veyne 1997: 19,20). Therefore, it is clear that although women were given educational opportunities, they were seen as secondary to males and would seem to have been given these opportunities to purely live up to men's expectations and to facilitate their interests.Another field where we see the attitude towards Roman women is that of marriage. The fact that a wife such as Calpurnia is staying in the country to recover from illness shows us segregation in marriage (Pliny The Younger's The Letters of Young Pliny Extracts). The fact that Manisisa married Sophonisha to save her, shows us a condescending attitude towards women, in terms of marriage. She accepts the "Bridal Gift" of poison agreeingly, and it is seemingly her place to be submissive to her groom (Livy's The War with Hannibal Extracts).A woman was like a grown child, her husband had to humor her due to her fathers dowry and nobility. This ads to the fact that respect was given to women in marriage for another male, her father. A male was seen as a master of his wife and if his wife should commit adultery, the man was blamed for lack of vigilance. This paints a picture that women were in marriage to fulfill men's expectations. However, it must be noted that some form of egalitarianism was practiced in marriage, with laws made, requiring women to consent to their marriage. However, once again, this could have been to facilitate male's interests, as it was taken for granted that they would accept, to please their father (Veyne 1997...

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