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Leges durae: Regulations affecting women’s property rights in Mid-Republican Rome

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Lewis Webb
Publicerad i Australasian Society of Classical Studies Annual Conference, Armidale, NSW, Australia, 4-7 February 2019.
Förlag University of New England
Förlagsort Australia
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Institutionen för historiska studier
Språk en
Länkar www.ascs.org.au/news/index.html
Ämneskategorier Antikvetenskap

Sammanfattning

Throughout the Mid-Republic (264-133 BCE), Roman legislators and censors enacted numerous regulations that directly affected women and their property. While previous scholarship has traced the numerous laws affecting women in Rome (e.g. Cantarella 2016 with bibliography), few studies have focused exclusively on regulation and women’s property in Mid-Republican Rome (but see e.g. Dixon 1985). Building on Marianne Elster’s reassessment of Mid-Republican legislation (Elster 2003), in this paper I will establish that six laws enacted from 215 – c. 162 BCE and a censorial taxation assessment of 184 BCE affected women and their property. These six laws include the leges Oppia de mulieribus (215 BCE, abrogated 195 BCE), Atilia de tutore dando (c. 210-186 BCE), Cincia de donis et muneribus (204 BCE), Furia testamentaria (c. 204-169 BCE), Voconia de mulierum hereditatibus (169 BCE), and Maenia [de dote ?] (c. 162 BCE). I will argue that these laws and the censorial taxation assessment directly targeted, inter alia, women’s conspicuous display of property, alienation of property, inheritance, gifts, and dowries. The cumulative effect of this regulation was a reduction in women’s property rights, although some of the provisions of the leges Atilia and Maenia may have enhanced their rights. Effectively, Roman women experienced regulatory exaequatio, levelling (cf. Livy 34.4.14). Drawing on Plautus and Polybius (e.g., Plaut. Aul. 167-69; 498-502; Polyb. 31.26-28), I conclude these regulations are specula, mirrors reflecting the extent of women’s property and property usage, and the social concerns and regulatory debates about wealthy women in Mid-Republican Rome.

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