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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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Civic Benefactresses

Civic Benefactresses

(p.108) (p.109) Chapter 3 Civic Benefactresses
Hidden Lives, Public Personae

Emily A. Hemelrijk

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with female munificence. In contrast with earlier assumptions that women were primarily involved in smaller donations, it shows that the majority among them donated very expensive public buildings: temples, aqueducts, theatres, amphitheatres, bathhouses, basilicas, and macella. Women also donated costly statues of precious metals, funded public banquets, distributions of cash or food, games, theatrical displays, alimenta, and unspecified benefactions. This chapter discusses the public representation of civic benefactresses, the relationship between female munificence and Romanization, the family and social status of benefactresses, their motives and rewards, and the significance of their munificence for Roman cities, for themselves, and for their families. Though benefactresses showed a preference for certain buildings and were more inclined than men to include women among the recipients, there was no female brand of munificence. As a rule, benefactresses conformed to the general trends of civic munificence of their time.

Keywords:   munificence, euergetism, public building, temples, banquets, distributions, alimenta, public honour, benefactresses, public statues

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