Ancient Rome > Social Issues & Women
"In the late first century B.C., around the year 5, a Roman man, mourning the death of his wife, had inscribed on stone a lengthy, detailed, and extremely touching, funerary epitaph commemorating her outstanding life, character, and deeds..."
Latin Readings on Roman Women
All in the table and charts on this page are approximations based on comparative evidence, rather than on the (largely inadequate) ancient statistical data. Among other potential problems....
Family Values in Ancient Rome
by Richard Saller
"Then, in a broad social-historical evolution, patriarchy declined, as paternal authority and control were weakened by the increasing independence of wives and children. Fathers were no longer able to use limitless force arbitrarily against family members. Wives and children were no longer the property of the paterfamilias, and came to enjoy the right to own and dispose of their own property. Children began to be allowed to choose a spouse, and those choices were more influenced by romantic love. As a result of this historical evolution, we now live in an age of the affectionate family, an age when women have more independence, financial and otherwise, and when children are loved and less apt to receive corporal punishment."
"In theory Roman women were little better off than their sisters in Athens. Under Roman law women went from the authority of their fathers to the authority of their husbands, and even a wealthy, old widow needed a male to supervise her finances, but by the beginning of the First Century BCE women began to achieve greater freedom in practice if not in theory.
Generalizations on the status of women in the ancient world are always difficult..."
For information on the lives of women in specific areas of ancient rome;