Women's Roles in Roman Society and Literature

Essay by johncooldude June 2006

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Women in ancient Rome played very different roles then the men did."Matrona" or women were given very few liberties, and were only permitted to leave the "oikos" or house for a special occasion, or under supervision. Some of the less wealthy families abandoned the burden of having a baby girl at birth, and were sometimes sold to the wealthy as slaves. Even Emperor Augustus impeded the advancements of women's rights by introducing new laws based on traditional values. Although there is always two spectrums for example women of the Augustus court lived very different lives then the common house wife. And even the common house wife lived a very different lives from the prostitutes and courtesans. Some of the early Greek Literature both fiction and non fiction, shed some light on women's rights in ancient Rome. In the most general sense, "women were prisoners of their own domain, with very few liberties", #While men on the other hand, had all the freedom they wanted.

Also a man was thought to be more trustworthy and in most cases more articulate then women. It seems as if some ancient literary pieces written in both Greece and Rome, portrayed women in only two lights. One being defenseless and basically useless, unless for reproductive purposes. In some the more recent literature women are seen as emotional unstable beings, with very little or no ration at all. Although there have been some pieces that tried to improve women's rights, most seem to have little or no effect at all. There were many noble men who were strong believers in ethics and virtue, Like Cato, Tiberius Gracchus, Caius Gracchus. Although of these men had there biographies written by Plutarch. These men made strives for women using there power and there beliefs. Since these men were very...