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Judging from the evidence you have studied about Roman women, how much did the speakers wife have 'in common with all married women who care for their good name'? Give the reasons for your view.

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Introduction

Judging from the evidence you have studied about Roman women, how much did the speakers wife have 'in common with all married women who care for their good name'? Give the reasons for your view. From the texts that I have studied on Roman women the speakers wife seems to have much in common with other 'married women who care for their good name' from that time. Many of the women are described as virtuous, loyal, obedient and devoted in the texts, but also many of the texts where for public consumption. Therefore it seems that this is how women were meant to be but not necessarily how these women really were. The passage is taken from a funeral eulogy, therefore it is unlikely that the husband is going to tell everyone about anything that may be seen as 'un-ladylike', or anything that would harm the families name. However, this particular Roman woman took it upon herself to beg Lepidus for her husbands life, as well as being legal minded in bringing her parents murders to justice. ...read more.

Middle

Arrias granddaughter Fannia is also said to have been loyal, having twice followed her husband into exile and being banished once herself on his account. It is said she inspired affection and respect, having cared for a relative called Junia, who was a vestal virgin. This shows the she must also have been caring, another commonly mentioned virtue of Roman women. A virtue that is mentioned in most of the texts if purity, integrity or propriety, all basically meaning the same thing, but obviously a major issue to the Romans, especially since the speaker of the passage tells us in the text that when her parents were murdered she went to stay with his mother when he was away to protect her modesty. As with the Arria and Fannia texts Plinys texts about and to his wife Calpurnia are written knowing that they are going to have an audience, and therefore are not written naturally. ...read more.

Conclusion

She is so upset by her ordeal and the possibility of it damaging the families name and reputation that she feels that it is more acceptable for the family is she commits suicide than if everyone were to know her chastity had been stolen from her in that way. In the Murdia funeral inscription she too is said to have been modest, chaste, loyal, obedient and to have had good judgement. This too is obviously written knowing that it will be read, or heard by many, so common virtues that were important to the honour of the family and the people of the time were mentioned. Though we cannot know whether or not it is true, from the fact that the similar qualities arise in each text it was expected that a married woman would be a good housewife, could work with wool, would be loyal and obedient and would be reasonable and affable. Therefore I conclude that the speakers wife had many traits in common with other women mentioned in the texts studied, although we cannot be sure that how accurate these depictions of the women are. Classics Gemma McKenzie ...read more.

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