Ten Year Old Girl in Ancient Rome

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Dear Diary,

My name is Faustina and I am ten years old today. I received this diary as a birthday present from my paedagogus. Technically he not actually mine but my little brother Scipios. However Clement my brother paedagogus spends just as much time with me as he does with Scipios. Clement is terribly educated and speaks Greek so well. I’m jealous. My mom however tells me that this is because Clement was actually born in Greece and was brought to the great city of Rome. However in her next breath she is also telling me that I shouldn’t be concerned with learning greek or latin. I have three older brothers and one younger brother .They have to do all the learning; I should be focused on preparing for my husband. After all I’m almost 12.

Blah, blah, blah, I hate listening to these speeches. I really wish I were a boy. Did you know that Clement carries my brother to school on his back sometimes? I’m not allowed to go to school let alone be carried on shoulders according to my mom its unseemly.

But I shouldn’t fill my dairy with complaining about how I wish I were a boy. Let me tell you about myself. I live with my mom, dad, three older brothers, one younger brother a older sister and we have a new baby along the way in my mom’s stomach. This isn’t even mentioning the couple of slaves we own. In fact im very lucky compared to most of friends that I know to have both my parents. Several friends of mine have lost one or even both parents over the years. However I can’t say I see much of a difference in their lives since we are still pretty much raised by slaves. I barely see my parents during the day; my dad is busy with clients and my mom is busy doing gods know whats.

The new baby however is very exciting. I’m hoping its girl I can play with her. Clement when I asked him told me all about the ceremony of birth today. He said as I quote directly, “When a child is born, it is placed on the floor in front of the father If it was a male and he wanted to acknowledge it as his son, he picked it up. This action meant that he agreed to accept it as his own and to raise. If it was a girl, he did not pick it up; he just instructed one of the women even his wife or a slave to feed it. If for whatever reason, he did not wan it he would leave it on the floor and the child would be taken outside and abandoned.”

Personally I think this is unfair. I think I deserve to picked up by my father just as much as any of my brother do. I mean Scipios is even worst at Greek then me and he has an actual litterator. I asked for one. And of course just got laughed at. It seems that is all my family does is laugh at me because I don’t act the way a proper Roman girl should like my older sister Julia. This is one of the reason I want another sister. Maybe she won’t be as perfect as my older sister and we can be the family outcasts together. However as Clement reminds me, it’s a wife duty to provide strong healthy sons for her husband so I shouldn’t be wishing for my mom to have a daughter in the first place. Also Clement told me there is no guarantee a child will even be born so my hoping may all be for naught. After all my mom has had three miscarriages after Scipios.

Speaking of marriages, my engagement to Marcus broke up a few weeks ago. I have to say I’m not to broken up about this. I only met Marcus once but he seemed rather boring. But he is from a good family and his dad supported my dad in poltics until recently. This was actually why the engagement ended. They had a huge disagreement about something. I tried listening when I dawdling in the atrium but my dad personal slave shooed me away. So I’m not actually sure of the actual reason. I hope the next boy is nice.

I have to say it’s a relief not to have to wear the iron ring on my middle finger anymore. The one time I met Marcus he gave this ring to me. Clement said I had to wear because Roman doctors found a nerve in that finger that ran directly to the...
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