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Roman Woman Profile Essay

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Roman Woman Profile


The sculpture that we have observed has been dated to the first half of the first century C.E. This places the portrait during the Julio-Claudian period in Roman history. From the information we have gathered about the time period, the woman's style of dress and of the types of sculpture prevelant during the period, we have formed a possible profile of the daily life of the subject.

It was determined that the women in the portrait was most likely a freeborn, upper-middle class citizen of Rome. The portrait seems to have been a part of a funerary monument, a conclusion which was drawn due to the pattern of cleavage observed at the back of her head and the sides of her face. It was also observed that there was a piece of metal in the back of the head which could have been used to clasp the head to the monument. Comparisons with other known funerary monuments corroberate with this explanation. Since this is the likely case, several determinations can be made. Not many funerary monuments were made for the lower class, but for the upper class, parents often prepared funerary monuments for their daughters after having married them off (Pomeroy 149-189). Using this rationale, it can be concluded that she remained in the upper class after marriage, as upper class women were often married to upper class men (Pomeroy 149-189). The veristic form of sculpturing used led us to believe that she was not a part of the elite court class, for during the Julio-Claudian period, most portraits of upper class women were of the idealistic, eternal youth imagery, exhibiting smooth, beautiful features (Kleiner 139). The portrait of our Julio-Claudian matron, however, exhibited many realistic features that would not exemplify be...


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...ed only women and some at which both men and women were present. She had leadership over her household, including her children and slaves, though she was subservient to her husband.

Works Cited

Cormack, S. (1996). The Domestic Realm. In D. E. Kleiner and S. B. Matheson (Eds.) I Claudia: Women in Ancient Rome (pp. 167). University of Texas Press. Austin, TX.

Johansen, F. (1994). Catalogue. In A. M Neilson (Ed). Roman Portraits I. (pp. 246-7). Bianco Luno Copenhagen.

Kleiner, Diana E. (1992). Art under the Julio-Claudians. Roman Sculpture. (pp. 139). New Haven, Bt: Yale University Press.

Peradotto, J. (1984). Women in the Ancient World. (pp. 241) New York, NY: State University of New York Press.

Pomeroy, S. (1976). The Roman matron of the late republic and early empire. Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves. (pp. 149-189). New York, NY: Schocken Books.


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