Women in Ancient Rome

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What would you have been expected to do if you were one of the women in ancient Rome? Would you be allowed to follow your own career path or were you restricted to doing household chores like some women today are?

Nothing was really found that would reliably speak about women in ancient Rome. There were no personally-written documents that will clearly tell about the women’s hopes, fears, and dreams, or whether they really had any. Accounts on how the women in ancient Rome lived were only gathered from sources that were written by men. Naturally, men from wealthy families are the ones that have access to the best education. This gives them the opportunity to write about themselves and other people. Thus, they are most likely to write about the women in their lives; their female relatives and friends, and their wives. There are also some things said about the poor women in ancient Rome, although these not as comprehensive.

Women in ancient Rome usually get married when they were about twelve years old. That would have been outrageous today, but people in the past usually don’t live long enough to wait until their twenties to settle down. The upper class women in ancient Rome are allowed to have as many children as they want and their husbands wanted their sons to carry their family names. Infertility was a ground for divorce, and women would often initiate it so that their husbands are able to have children with some other woman. Lower class women would have to find work in order to help support their families. And even if their husbands wanted sons to carry the family name, they are not expected to have as many children as the wealthy women do.

Women in ancient Rome are mostly confined in their homes doing chores and looking after their children. However, some women had to work to earn money and do the chores in their homes as well. Rich women in ancient Rome were not expected to find work of course, instead, they are expected to plan parties and entertain guests.

Women in ancient Rome were not permitted to have their own identity. That is, their names are the female version of their fathers’ middle names. Hence, you can tell who their fathers were and what position in the society they held.

Men were more respected than the women in ancient Rome were. Their significant roles in history were child bearers, mothers, daughters, and wives. They may not have had freedom that most of us enjoy right now, but without knowing freedom from the start, what is there to miss? Hopefully, however short their lives may have been, the women in ancient Rome found joy in the roles they play.


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