Reading Roman Women
Sources, Genres and Real Life
By (author) Suzanne Dixon
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Reading Roman Women by Suzanne Dixon
Book DescriptionRoman women were either luxurious sluts or domestic paragons - at least according to the elite men who wrote Roman history and poetry. These authors, preoccupied with masculine pursuits, introduced women into their works to make a moral point. Even Roman tombstones and the law showcase feminine virtues and reflect biases about "female nature". We also have our own prejudices about ancient Rome and Roman women. Derived from film, television and sensational novels, these prejudices affect the way we "read" the ancient material. So how do we retrieve the lives of "real women"? In this treatment Suzanne Dixon presents a range of examples to support her argument that our ideas of what we "know" about women's work, sexuality, commerce and political activity in the Roman world have been shaped by the format, or genre, of each ancient source. She sugguests ways in which we can read the evidence (including what is left out) more critically. she considers legendary heroines like Verginia and Lucretia and what they tell us about Roman attitudes to rape and women's chastity. She has a sympathetic take on notorious bad girls like Clodia and Messalina and tries to retrieve less spectacular women from the meagre non-literary sources. She introduces us to a huge cast of Roman women, not only the larger-than-life decadents of the Roman orgy, but the small traders of Ostia, the spinners, prostitutes and barmaids celebrated in Pompeian graffiti and the prosperous businesswomen and landowneers of Rome and the Bay of Naples.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780715629819
(235mm x 191mm x 14mm)
Imprint: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 21-Jun-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Suzanne Dixon
Cornelia, Hardback (April 2006)
Examining the life of Cornelia, famed as the epitome of virtue and intelligence, this book presents a study of the woman who represented the ideal of the Roman "matrona". It examines her attributes: daughter of Scipio Africanus, wife of an aristocrat, and mother of the Gracchi; and how these enabled her to move in high echelons of society.
Child Care and Culture, Paperback (September 1996)» View all books by Suzanne Dixon
Describes parenthood and infant care in a rural Kenyan community.
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Author Biography - Suzanne Dixon
Suzanne Dixon is Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland, Australia. She has written a number of books and articles on Roman legal and social history.
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