Classics Women


The **** of the Sabine Women

  • Rome had become strong
  • Shortage of women meant greatness couldn't last forever as lack of offsrping etc
  • Romulus asked neighbouring cities for women to marry Roman youth men
  • All said no
  • Roman youths took offence to this and were prepared to use force
  • Romulus was preparing for the Consualia and asked all neighbouring cities to join them
  • Many people came including entire Sabine population
  • When everyone was watching plays youths gave signal and began grabbing women
  • Most beautiful reserved for the senators
  • Grieving parents of girls ran away
  • Romulus told all girls that this wouldn't have happened if their fathers had let them marry the Roman men
  • Fathers of girls came back with weapons to get them back but the women stepped in to prevent it as they were happy in their new lives and didn't want their new husbands or fathers to die
  • They were successful in stopping the fighting 
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The **** of Lucretia

  • Lucretia's husband drinking at Sextus Tarquinas' house and convo turned to wives
  • Each man praised his own wife and wanted to see who most virtuous was
  • They went to Rome and found King's daughter-in-law dining with friends
  • Then went to Lucretia's house where they saw her working with wool
  • It was clear she was most virtuous 
  • She invited men into dine and Sextus became lustful and wanted to **** her
  • A few days later Sextus returned to the house and had dinner and was then shown to guestroom
  • When everyone was asleep he went into Lucretia's room with sword drawn
  • Said if she made a sound he would kill her. Then told her how much he loved her but it wasn't working
  • Used the threat that he would put the body of a salve next to her so it would look like they had been killed commiting adultery
  • She then complied and Sextus left feeling very good
  • Lucretia sent messengers to get her father and brother. When they came she was crying and explained the **** to them and asked them to punish Sextus
  • Said she didn't want to not punish herself and so stabbed herself in the chest killing herself
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Women bring about the repeal of the Oppian Law

  • Marcus F and Lucius, tribunes of people brought about motion to repeal Oppian Law
  • Law said women couldn't own more than half an ounce of gold, or wear a multicoloured dress or ride in a carriage in the city or town within a mile of it unless it was a religious festival
  • 2 tribunes were in favour of repealing the law
  • Many noble men wanted to dissuade them
  • As the men went down the Forum women tried to persuade them to let them repeal the law and let them have back the luxuries they had before.
  • Women now daring to go up and ask very important men to repeal the law, however Marcus P couldn't be persuaded
  • Marcus P made a speech about how men are afraid of women and it shouldn't be that way. He also said they were behaving terribly and they should keep to themselves holding up the real expectation of women
  • Lucius then made a speech after saying that Marcus P's speech was more about bad things women did rather than repealing the law. He said women only do things for the public good and they have conformed to highest stands of behaviour for a long time so they are unlikely to step out of line
  • After this, twenty years after law was introduced it was repealed.
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The Vestal Virgins

  • Was the duty of six virgins to keep the sacred fire in the Temple of Vesta burning
  • They have to carry out their duties for thirty years after which they can get married and do whatever they wish
  • Most remained a virgin until death
  • Being a vestal virgin meant they were able to make a will during their fathers lifetime. If they went out and met a criminal being brought to execution his life would be spared
  • Anyone who went under a vestal's litter when she's being carried is put to death
  • Virgins minor offences punished by beating
  • A virgin who is seduced was buried alive. They carry her on her litter through the Forum with many following
  • Priest says special prayers as he is required to carry out the execution
  • She is put on a ladder that carries her down to a room containing a bed, lamo, bucket, milk, bread and oil 
  • The ladder is then removed and pile of earth is placed over the room to hide it and she will eventually die of starvation
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Source 51, Cornelia Biography of Gaius Gracchus w

  • People of Rome honoured Cornelia for her motherhood
  • She had many children most of whom died and when they passed she made sure to have beautiful shrines and tombs for their bodies
  • She had many friends and entertained them
  • She enjoyed discussing the habits of her father and her sons
  • She was admirable because she did not grieve for her sons and she told people about them without crying about what had happened as if they were heroes
  • Some people thought she was crazy because she was old and had gone through so much tragedy
  • However her nobility and good education helped her in the times of sorrow
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Source 52, Cornelia Biography of Tiberius Gracchus

  • Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus were sons of Tiberus Gracchus
  • Tiberius had a good repuation in town for being consul twice in Rome and celebrated two truimphs
  • Story that Tiberius caught a pair of snakes and the omen didn't let him kill or free both of them
  • Said he either killed male or female snake. If male killed then Tiberius would die
  • If female was killed then Cornelia would die
  • He killed the male snake as he felt Cornelia was younger and it was fair
  • He died leaving Cornelia with 12 children
  • Cornelia took over the children and household and proved to be very motherly
  • Ptolemy offered to share his kingdom with her and proposed a marriage but she refused
  • She stayed a widow and only a daughter who married Scipio the Younger and two sons survived (Tiberius and Gaius)
  • She raised them in such a good way that it was agreed they were the most naturally gifted of all Romans
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Source 260, Allegedly written by Cornelia

  • Saying that Gaius is causing her a lot of pain. She doesn't want to worry at her old age
  • Saying he should talk about what he's doing with her before he does it 
  • Saying he's being irresponsible and is carrying on the family madness of trying to destory the constitution.
  • Telling him to do what he likes as she is not there to tell him otherwise
  • Asking Jove to make sure he doesn't go through with his dangerous idea
  • Says that if he decides to go through with the idea he will face many troubles and will nevr be able to rest contently
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  • Catiline is said to have attracted people of every kind including some women
  • These women had sold their bodies to pay for their luxurious lifestyle but when they got too old they were unable to anymore and went into a lot of debt
  • Catiline believed he could use these women to get urban slaves, set fire to city and kill husbands
  • Sempronia was one of these women as she had already committed many crimes
  • She was intelligent and musical
  • Felt nothing more worthless than modesty and chastity
  • So oversexed she usually went after men rather than vice versa
  • She was heavily in debt and had been an accessory to murder
  • Love of luxury had driven her off the rails
  • However she was a women of wit and charm
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  • Court Case, two accusations of gold and poison
  • Accusations against Caelio are that he stole gold from her and got poison to be used on her
  • Cicero says that the accusations are false and just gossip and says that he'll only say what needs be to rebute the accusations
  • Cicero pretends to be Caecus saying he thinks she is a disgrace and is disgusted with her behaviour
  • Caecus describes her relationship with Caelius as ''sheer unbridled passion''
  • Cicero then talks about her behaviour in Baiae parties, adultery etc
  • Cicero gives Clodia the choices of: denying the charges to clear her reputation OR admit that she is the type of person that can't be believed
  • Cicero then talks as Clodius, Clodius refers to incest and says Caelio doesn't want her anymore and tells her to get another lover
  • Cicero then finishes his speech by saying they should talk about another woman and then describes Clodia
  • Says it is fair to say a man has commited adultery when the woman is happy to sleep with anyone
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Turia Part 1 (Left Side Column)

  • Record of a funeral eulogy
  • Her husband is saying how she became an oprhan the day of their wedding when her parents were murdered
  • She insisted justice for them and made sure their death wasn't left unavanged. 
  • She pursued justice and secured the punishment of guilty
  • While this was happening she left her house to guard her modesty and she wen't to his mother's house awaiting his return
  • Then had to deal with her father's wil not being valid and they would get no inheritance
  • She said that they should BOTH keep the property instead of her having it all
  • Shared her inheritance with her sister to maintain her fathers word
  • He said that marriages as long as there's were rare and they were able to stay together without conflict for 40 years
  • He talks about her domestic virtues: loyalty, obedience, reasonableness, working with wool, modesty of appearance etc
  • She showed his mother same attention & love as she did her own parents
  • She was admirable because of the virtues she displayed even throughout what she had been through
  • She had many friends and provided dowry's for relatives marriages
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Turia Part 2 (Right Side Column)

  • She provided eveything he needed when he was in exile and sent him all her jewellery and gave him servants and sent over money and food
  • She begged for his life showing her courage whilst he was away
  • He owes his life to her
  • She gave him good advice when he was getting into bad situations
  • She helped restore him as a citizen, was dragged away and carried off like a slave
  • She was unable to provide children so said he should divorce her and get remarried so he could have heirs showing her love for him
  • He wanted her more than children
  • The things she has achieved in her life will always be remembered by him
  • He doesn't know how he will go on without her and will be grieving for a very long time
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  • Tombstone inscription written by her son
  • She made all her sons equal heirs and gave her daughter a bequest, very generous
  • She gave her husband a fixed sum of money
  • She left certain property of fathers to son not to hurt his brother by preffering himself but to remember his fathers generosity
  • She was determined to maintain marriges given to her by her parents and was very loyal
  • She deserves great praise as in modesty, chastity, obedience and wool working she was on equal level with other good women
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Source 243- To Calpurnia Hispulla from Pliny

  • She loved her brother very dearly and loves his daughter as if she were her own. She is more than an aunt to her and is proving worthy of her grandfather, father and CH
  • She reads his writings and memorises them
  • She is concerned for him when he is starting a new case and is happy when it's over
  • She sends messengers to court to see how his cases are going
  • She sings his verses accompanying herself on the lyre
  • He thinks their relationship will grow stronger
  • She learned to love him thanks to CH's encouragement
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Source 244- To his wife Calpurnia

  • He misses her dearly whilst she is in Campania for her health
  • He wants to be able to see her getting stronger
  • Worried she's having ''too good a time'' with possibly other men
  • He is uncertain about her illness as he doesn't know how she is
  • He is imagining the worst is happening to her
  • Asks her to write to him once or twice a day to ease his worries for a few moments
  • Shows his love and caring nature for her
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Source 245- To Calpurnia

  • She has written to him saying she is very affected by his absence
  • Sometimes holds his books and puts them in his place for comfort
  • He finds it gratifying that she longs for him
  • He re reads all her letters but it makes him miss her more
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Source 246- To Calpurnia

  • He misses her so much because he loves her and they aren't used to being apart
  • He imagines her at night and during the day when he misses her 
  • He only finds relief in court trying his friends cases
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Source 247- To Calpurnius Fabatus, Calpurnia's Gra

  • Her grandfathers wish to have a great grandchild has not been successful
  • Calpurnia had a miscarriage
  • Due to her inexperience and not taking care of herself properly
  • She nearly paid for her mistake with her life
  • However now know she is able to concieve
  • Says descent from her grand father's side and his side will give the children a well known name 
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Arria- Written by Pliny

  • He spoke with Fannia, Arria's granddaughter who told him stories of Arria
  • Arria's husband and son were terminally ill at the same time
  • Her son died. Arria took care of funeral without her husband knowing
  • Whenever she went to her husbands room she told him their son was getting better and when she was about to cry she would leave the room to grieve for a few moments
  • She would then go back in with a calm expression 
  • She killed herself which was considered a very noble act
  • She said she would die in whatever way and when people tried to stop her she rammed herself into a wall knocking herself out 
  • She said she would do it the hard way if they wouldn't let her do it the easy way
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Fannia- Written by Pliny

  • He is concerned about Fannia's health
  • She was taking care of  Vestal Virgin who had tuberculosis when she caught it herself
  • She is in general decline
  • She followed her husband into exile twice and on the third time was exiled herself- showing her loyalty, devotion and courage
  • She is pleasant and kind
  • People can look at her as an example
  • She will be the last of her great ansectors to die, the rest can't be like her
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Source 262- A death in childbirth- Helvidiae Siste

  • Both sisters died in childbirth giving birth to daughters
  • Two girls in the bloom of youth failed by their fertility
  • Infants are orphans at birth
  • For their father only one of his three children is still alive
  • He hopes the surviving child lives a long life
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Source 263- A death just before marriage

  • Fundanus their friend lost his young daughter
  • She was cheerful and worthy of life
  • She was so sweet and innocent
  • She studied hard and was intelligent and played occasionally
  • She did as she was told by doctors and cheered up her sister and father
  • Her spirit went on till the end
  • She was just about to get married
  • Money for wedding now being used for funeral
  • Her father is lost in grief of a daughter who admired and loved him so much
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