Freeborn women in ancient Rome were citizens cives ,  but could not vote or hold political office. But while Roman women held no direct political power, those from wealthy or powerful families could and did exert influence through private negotiations. As is the case with male members of society , elite women and their politically significant deeds eclipse those of lower status in the historical record. Inscriptions and especially epitaphs document the names of a wide range of women throughout the Roman Empire, but often tell little else about them. Some vivid snapshots of daily life are preserved in Latin literary genres such as comedy , satire , and poetry, particularly the poems of Catullus and Ovid , which offer glimpses of women in Roman dining rooms and boudoirs, at sporting and theatrical events, shopping, putting on makeup , practicing magic , worrying about pregnancy — all, however, through male eyes. The one major public role reserved solely for women was in the sphere of religion : the priestly office of the Vestals.
10 Powerful Women of Ancient Rome
The Roman Empire: in the First Century. The Roman Empire. Social Order. Women | PBS
How much is known about the lives of women in ancient Rome? From breastfeeding to unusual beauty regimes, women who lived in the Roman empire would have faced many of the same pressures as women in the modern world. But what is known about the lives of the Roman empresses? Were girls allowed to be educated? And could women divorce their husbands? Writing for History Extra , author and classicist Annelise Freisenbruch brings you seven surprising facts about the lives of women in ancient Rome….
The Role of Women in Ancient Rome—Piecing Together A Historical Picture
Rome was very much a male dominated society; so much so that in the Roman Republic a man could legally kill his wife or daughter if they questioned his authority. Women were also kept out of positions of power. They were not allowed to be senators, governors, lawyers, judges or any of the other official positions involved in running the Roman Empire. Women were also not allowed to vote in elections.
A ncient Rome was a macho society, often misogynistic, where women did not enjoy equal citizen rights. That said, if we look hard at the history, we discover some women who made their mark, either working within their prescribed gender roles as wives, lovers, mothers, sisters or daughters, or exercising so much political, religious or, even in a few cases, military power that they smashed those roles altogether and struck out on their own. These women navigated this challenging terrain and left a major mark on the course of events. Without acknowledging these, the story of Rome becomes a purely masculine one, which does not capture the whys and wherefores behind many of the leaders and soldiers who rose to power in the first place. Some of their names may be familiar, like Livia, Boudicca and Saint Helena.