Women's Influence on Classical Civilization by Eireann Marshall, Fiona Mchardy

By Eireann Marshall, Fiona Mchardy

Written by means of a global diversity of popular teachers, this quantity explores how girls in antiquity inspired features of tradition ordinarily notwithstanding of as male. politics, economics, technological know-how, legislations and the humanities, the participants learn examples from round the historical international asking how a ways conventional definitions of tradition describe male spheres of job, and studying to what quantity those spheres have been truly created and perpetuated by way of ladies. Women’s impression of Classical Civilization presents scholars with a helpful wider standpoint at the roles and influence of girls within the societies of the Greek and Roman worlds.

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Indeed, the historians who provide our earliest surviving narratives about the public exercise of patria potestas by Lucius Junius Brutus in 509 BC, and by Titus Manlius Torquatus one hundred and fifty years later, date from the latter part of the first century BC: nearly half a millennium after the consulship of Brutus, and over three centuries after that of Torquatus. Still, these accounts, however anachronistic and fictionalized, do have a valuable, cultural if not historical, purpose. For they vividly reminded their Roman readers that Roman fathers, especially those holding high public office, were legally entitled to punish, and were justified by hallowed precedents in choosing to punish, adult sons for insubordination, chiefly in the form of offences against the state.

Patria potestas’) 26 MATRIOT GAMES? 1111 2 3 4 5111 6 7 8 9 1011 1 2 3111 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 211 3 4 5111 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40111 1 2 3 44111 Historically speaking, we cannot place much credence in legends or even in accounts from the historic period that depict republican Roman fathers resorting to extreme measures when dealing with traitorous or insubordinate sons, even those patres portrayed as having done so in a public role. After all, these accounts do not come from the fathers themselves.

This has been shown in Findlen’s analysis of the actions of the university authorities at Bassi’s graduation ceremony, which in some respects resembled a wedding: Recalling both the religious tradition of women in orders as brides of Christ and the civic tradition of virgins whose chastity cemented the foundations of republican government, Bassi, as a ‘most learned virgin’, found herself fulfilling these ancient topoi. (Findlen 1993: 454) She was also depicted as a Minerva-like figure: in short, imagery of this pagan goddess of wisdom, and of the Vestal virgins, and of the established 21 GRÁINNE McLAUGHLIN precedent of Christian virgin, ‘celibate’ marriage to Christ was deemed necessary to accommodate and neutralize the reality of Bassi’s interest in, for example, electricity.

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