History Travels with Nancy Padgett: Seeing History
Women in Ancient Rome: Sources and Resources 

Book Sources and Web Resources on Women in Ancient Rome

The topic "Women in Ancient Rome" attracts all sorts of people --those  interested in art, archeology, women's rights, beauty, love and marriage, scandals and politics, love affairs and divorce, motherhood and children, and more. Here are some of the many resources on the Web and sources in books and journals.


Ancient sources

No memoirs or histories written by women exist. There are fragments available, in English translation, in Mary Lefkowitz' Womens' Life in Greece and Rome: A Source Book in Translation (2005).  Most of what we know comes from  male writers of ancient Roman and Greek. Many were hostile toward women who showed independence in thought or action.

Art and archeology provide additional sources. Always keep in mind that images may be "idealized" as forever-young, or rely on Greek standards of beauty in art, or have a political agenda. 

Modern sources, for the general American reader

D'Ambra, Eve, Roman Women ( 2007) Art history. Prof. D'Ambra's book includes especially interesting photos of artifacts about women who were outside the social elite.

Dennison, Matthew, Livia, Empress of Rome (2010). Mr. Dennison is a journalist and writes in a lively style.

Fantham, Elaine,
Julia Augusti, the Emperor's Daughter (2006)

Fraschetti, Augusto, ed., Roman Women, 1993. Translated from the Italian by Linda Lappin, 2001)

Levick, Barbara,
Julia Domna, Syrian Empress (2007)

Matyszak, Philip,
Ancient Rome of 5 Denarii a Day (2009)

McCullough, Colleen, Caesar's Women. One of the spicy novelist's seven works of fiction about Rome.

Pomeroy, Sarah,
Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity (1975, 1995)

Modern sources, for advanced readers

Barrett, Andrea, Livia: First Lady of Imperial Rome. Yale, 2004. and  Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire. Yale.

Bartman, E.,
Portraits of Livia: Imagining the Imperial Woman in Augustan Rome. Cambridge, 1999

Dixon, Suzanne, Reading Roman Women: Sources, Genres and Real Life. U of Virgina, 2001, and Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, 2007.

Fantham, Elaine,
Julia Augusti: The Emperor's Daughter. New York, 2006.

Flemming, Rebecca, Medicine and the Making of Roman Women. Oxford UP, 2000.

Gardner, Jane, Women in Roman Law and Society. Indiana UP, 1986. Taylor and Francis e-Library, 2009.

Hemelrijk, Emily, Matrona Docta: Educated Women in the Roman Elite. Routledge, 1999.

Kleiner, Diana and Susan Matheson, eds. I, Claudia: Women in Ancient Rome. (2 vols) U. of Texas, 1996, 2000. Art History.

Purcell, Nicolas, "Livia and the Womanhood of Rome," in Jonathan Edmondson, ed.,
Augustus. Edinburgh, 2009.

Rawson, Beryl, various books on the Roman family, children, and childhood., 1987-2003.

Saller, Richard, Patriarchy, Property, and Death in the Roman Family. Cambridge UP, 1994.
Treggiari, Susan, Roman Marriage. Oxford UP, 1991, and Terentia, Tullia, and Publilia: The Women of Cicero's Family. Routledge, 2007.

Web sites

VRoma: http://www.vroma.org/~riley/matron/portrait_links.html

Livius: http://www.livius.org/rome.html

James C. Thompson: http://www.womenintheancientworld.com/index.htm

written by Suzanne Dixon

The major museums  all have splendid Web sites, as does Wikipedia.   
Updated 21-July-2016. You may contact me, Nancy Padgett, at NJPadgett@gmail.com