Faculty Sponsor

Diana Gildea


For the patrician class, marriage was a form of power intended to uphold Roman patriarchy by providing opportunity for social, political, and economic advancement. However, history has shown that the power of marriage also extended to the women involved in these couplings as well. Through marriage, elite Roman women had the power to perpetuate or decimate Rome’s social order. Thus, gender norms were created and enforced in order to maintain patriarchy. Women who did not live up to the social expectations set by these norms were met with opposition. By examining Roman poetry and literature, Roman politics, and profiling the lives and reputations of real imperial women, we discover that the treatment of women in Rome was a direct reflection of Rome's patriarchal values.