Women In Ancient Rome

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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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...