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Hidden Lives, Public PersonaeWomen and Civic Life in the Roman West$
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Emily Hemelrijk

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190251888

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190251888.001.0001

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A World Full of Cities

A World Full of Cities

(p.7) Chapter 1 A World Full of Cities
Hidden Lives, Public Personae

Emily A. Hemelrijk

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses women’s social and legal position within Roman cities and the possible influence of Romanization on their integration into civic life. Further, it discusses the main profits and pitfalls of the epigraphic evidence and the blurred distinction between public and private in Roman society. Special attention is paid to the tension between gender and social status, the definition of the Roman elite as a political order (the senatorial, equestrian, and decurial) or economic class, and the relation between gender and Romanization. The concentration of the evidence for women’s civic roles in the Mediterranean regions is discussed in the light of the epigraphic habit. It is concluded that Roman citizenship and civil law (especially Roman laws of marriage and inheritance), and the resulting financial capacity of wealthy women, were partly responsible for women’s participation in civic life.

Keywords:   matrona, romanization, urbanization, epigraphic habit, elite orders, roman citizenship, roman marriage, ius trium liberorum

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