Saturday, November 2, 2019

To what extent did women enjoy political religious and social power in Essay

To what extent did women enjoy political religious and social power in archaic Rome - Essay Example Because layer upon layer of building has occurred in the area in and around Rome, it is impossible to form a complete record from the archaeology, but nonetheless there is sufficient evidence to draw some conclusions about the way that people lived in Rome in this very early period. This paper focuses on the extent to which women in particular enjoyed power in archaic Rome, looking at political, religious and social dimensions of power in turn. In each case a distinction is drawn between high status women, and low status women, because the experiences of each group is likely to have been very different. The origins of Rome are to be found in the migrations of the Latini tribe to Northern Italy from a region to the north and East around the river Danube. They settled in the area we now know as Latium. Other tribes in the area include the Etruscans, the Sabines, and various Greek-influenced groups to the south. This legend seems to have been passed down orally and it was recorded much later by the Roman historian Livy in his history of the city, a major work entitled Ab Urbe Condita Libri.1 The way that the early history is depicted, with a female wolf nursing twin baby boys sets up a number of interesting speculations about the role of women in that early society. Livy is very aware of the problematic and clearly mythical content of the founding story when he writes â€Å"The traditions of what happened prior to the foundation of the City or whilst it was being built, are more fitted to adorn the creations of the poet than the authentic records of the historian, and I have no intention of establishing either their truth or their falsehood.† 2 Writing from a time when Roman society appeared to be heading for decline, in the first decade of the new millennium, Livy sees the past as a time of comparative glory, and it is no coincidence that he mentions the early Roman worship of the warlike God Mars as its most iconic feature: â€Å"Now if any nation ought to be allowed to claim a sacred origin and point back to a divine paternity that nation is Rome. For such is her renown in war that when she chooses to represent Mars as her own and her founder’s father, the nations of the world accept the statement with the same equanimity with which they accept her dominion.†3 Livy is an important source in terms of the way that later Romans wanted their past to be remembered, but his account must be read with care, since many of his ideas are shaped by a much later age, and a particular agenda to show the Romans and their past in a positive light. Women appear from time to time in the narrative, but they are usually incidental to the main story, and Livy’s bias against women is only too obvious. An important source of political power, in the origins of Rome, as in all early civilizations, is the network of family allegiances that comes about through marriage. Livy reports that the prehistoric origins of the Roman people came a bout because of an alliance between the Trojan super hero Aeneas, and the king of the Laurentian territory Latinus. This alliance may have come about due to a Latinus being defeated in battle, or due to the deference of Latinus before the supremacy of the Trojan warriors who had arrived in the local area intent on plunder. The key point that Livy stresses is the â€Å"

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