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Roman Girlhood and the Fashioning of Femininity


  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108730259

£ 18.99

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About the Authors
  • Elite women in the Roman world were often educated, socially prominent, and even relatively independent. Yet the social regime that ushered these same women into marriage and childbearing at an early age was remarkably restrictive. In the first book-length study of girlhood in the early Roman Empire, Lauren Caldwell investigates the reasons for this paradox. Through an examination of literary, legal, medical, and epigraphic sources, she identifies the social pressures that tended to overwhelm concerns about girls' individual health and well-being. In demonstrating how early marriage was driven by a variety of concerns, including the value placed on premarital virginity and paternal authority, this book enhances an understanding of the position of girls as they made the transition from childhood to womanhood.

    • Focuses on the position of girls on the brink of marriage and the concerns surrounding their transition to adulthood, thereby complementing work on the position of adult women in the early Roman Empire
    • Employs a wide range of sources, including literature, legal texts, medical treatises, and inscriptions
    • Uses modern demographic studies of the Roman world (age at first marriage) as a starting point for considering the ancient sources
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Roman Girlhood and the Fashioning of Femininity offers a sustained and subtle account of a group only glimpsed fleetingly in the ancient sources.' Eve D'Ambra, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    'Her scholarship is impressive … This book will be of interest to those engaged more widely in women's studies as well as to those wishing to explore aspects of ancient Roman society in more depth. It is accessible and informative.' Marion Gibbs, Classics For All (

    '… the study harnesses an impressive array of primary literary and epigraphic sources presented in a manner that is accessible, well written, and makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of girlhood and femininity in the Roman context … Roman Girlhood and the Fashioning of Femininity would easily have a place on the bookshelf of undergraduates embarking on Roman history studies as well as scholars particularly interested in feminist, childhood, and sexual history during the Roman period.' Hayley Stoneham, The Journal of Dress History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108730259
    • length: 194 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.3kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Formal education and socialization in virtue
    2. Protecting virginity
    3. Medical perspectives on puberty
    4. The pressure to marry
    5. The wedding

  • Author

    Lauren Caldwell, Wesleyan University, Connecticut
    Lauren Caldwell is Assistant Professor of Classical Studies at Wesleyan University, Connecticut.

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