|History largely takes place in the public sphere. In ancient Rome, public participation was absolutely forbidden to women. So what were they doing?
Women's power in Roman politics was an ace in the hole. The matrona of a family might be either arm candy or an enforcer, an inter-family bargaining chip or the dealer. Necessity and personal pride kept these as unknowns to the public, and to history.
In this class we will examine the Roman taboo on public participation for women. We will review the limitations that this placed on women's lives, as well as the power that could be held within, and the fates of a few who stepped outside, those lines.