Women of Ancient Rome
Roman men valued marriage, home and family. This led to great changes for the role of women in Rome. Women weren’t any where near equal to men, but they were treated much better than they were in Greece. Although women were citizens, they weren’t allowed to hold office or vote, but their husband’s did respect their opinions, in private. Women weren’t expected to publicly contribute to society in public. Women were seen in public with their husbands, a great change from Athens, where they rarely left the home. They were also hostesses in their homes for company. Greek women were basically hidden away when her husband had visitors. Women began to get some control of wealth as time passed in the Roman Republic and Empire. Property was always controlled by one person, usually the husband or father. As Rome fought wars and men were often away in battle or killed, women began to have some control of financial matters. Divorces increased when women could control assets.
Raising children was the most important job for women. Poor women did it themselves while the wealthy had servants.
Young girls were given an elementary school education. They were taught the basics but their education stopped at puberty, when they became ready to marry. They were then ready to raise a family. Women were expected to have many children because many people died before adulthood. Women often died from complications of childbirth.
Women worked many occupations in Rome. Poor women could be prostitutes, which was profitable but dangerous. They also worked many trades and farmed. Often women ran the farms when their husbands were in battle.
Legally, women had little protection. They were the property of their fathers or husbands. They could be killed for committing adultery. Their rights in Rome were more brought about by custom and tradition, rather than by government reforms or legal rights. In fact, the government often tried to...
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