Women in Rome

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The place of the matrona (a Roman woman) in the society was taking care of the family and household. She was under the protection of the pater familias (the master of the house), either the father or the husband. She was not entitled to have any public office or to participate in any political activities. Travel, even accompanied, was all but impossible. Women's individual identities even are often hard for a historian to disentangle as a look at the list below confirms. Due to this background position in the society, women referred by name in the ancient sources are scarce.

Some women (i.e. the Vestal Virgins) were able to gain respect and honor as priestesses. The primary task of the Vestal Virgins was to maintain the sacred fire of Vesta; priestesses' presence was considered necessary in certain rituals. Wealthier women could also gain respect by funding these ceremonies. (See Mary Lefkowitz's article, "A Woman's Place Was in the Temple", Wilson Quarterly, Winter '93).

Other women like Livia Drusilla, (58 BC-AD 29), Augusta (honorific), was the wife of Caesar Augustus and the most powerful woman in the early Roman empire, acting several times as regent and being Augustus' faithful advisor.

Other exceptions are:

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Women in Rome

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