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Female Visual Presence in the Forum and Burials streets of Pompeii

By Wendelijn van der Leest


This thesis is a continuation of my Master thesis of 2006 "Eumachia; Livia of Pompeii?" in which I studied the social position of the matrona Eumachia in Pompeii. In this new thesis I have studied in a broader context the (elite) female presence in the forum and burials streets of Pompeii in comparison to male representation in these (semi) public spaces. Public representation was a sign of high status within Roman communities and it included honours bestowed to individuals by the city senate, like honorary statues. The thesis results demonstrate that women indeed were allowed to participate in the activities of the forum, among others through building projects and through the performance of religious duties in the capacity of public priestesses. Some women even received a statue in the forum. In the burial streets we see a continuation of this female visual presence, through the erection of beautifull and lavish funerary monuments for their families and/or themselves. In conclusion; the material and epigraphical evidence of women in Pompeii reveal the ability to participate in the public area's of the city. Whether this female prestige was based on their own merits or their family status differs between the individual cases

Topics: Letteren, Women, Pompeii
Year: 2007
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