Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World 9462988056, 9789462988057

This volume approaches three key concepts in Roman history ― gender, memory and identity ― and demonstrates the signific

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Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World
 9462988056, 9789462988057

Table of contents :
Table of Contents
Tabula Gratulatoria
Jussi Rantala
1. Public Agency of Women in the Later Roman World
Ville Vuolanto
2. Religious Agency and Civic Identity of Women in Ancient Ostia
Marja-Leena Hänninen
3. The Invisible Women of Roman Agrarian Work and Economy
Lena Larsson Lovén
4. ‘Show them that You are Marcus’s Daughter’
The Public Role of Imperial Daughters in Second- and Third-Century ce Rome
Sanna Joska
5. Defining Manliness, Constructing Identities
Alexander the Great mirroring an Exemplary Man in Late Antiquity*
Jaakkojuhani Peltonen
6. ‘At the Age of Nineteen’ (RG 1)
Life, Longevity, and the Formation of an Augustan Past (43-38 bce)*
Mary Harlow and Ray Laurence
7. Conflict and Community
Anna of Carthage and Roman Identity in Augustan Poetry*
Jussi Rantala
8. Dress, Identity, Cultural Memory
Copa and Ancilla Cauponae in Context
Ria Berg
9. The Goddess and the Town
Memory, Feast, and Identity between Demeter and Saint Lucia
Marxiano Melotti
10. Varius, multiplex, multiformis* – Greek, Roman, Panhellenic
Multiple Identities of the Hadrianic Era and Beyond
Arja Karivieri
11. Mental Hospitals in Pre-Modern Society
Antiquity, Byzantium, Western Europe, and Islam. Some Reconsiderations
Christian Laes
List of Illustrations
Figure 8.1 Woman serving water with two jugs. Pompeii, Caupona in Via di Mercurio, VI 10, 1, room b, north wall
Figure 8.2 1) Pompeii, Caupona in Via di Mercurio, VI 10, 1, room b, N wall; 2) Pompeii, Caupona di Via Mercurio, room b, probably E wall; 3) Pompeii, Caupona in Via di Mercurio, south wall (male waiter?); 4) Pompeii, Caupona di Salvius, VI 14, 35.36, ro
Figure 8.3 Diana dressed in a double-girt chiton
Figure 8.4 Funerary relief of Sentia Amarantis, Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Augusta Emerita, inv. CE00676. Late second-third century CE
Figure 8.5 Bronze ring ending in two snake-heads, found in the thermopolium of Felix and Dorus VI 16, 39.40, Pompeii (inv. 55462)
Figure 8.6 1) Bronze bracelet in the form of snake (inv. 12699) and 2) spiral silverring (inv. 12700). Found in the Caupona o
Figure 8.7 1-2) Two faience beads (inv. 56194) and 3) a glass paste bead (inv. 56195) found in the Caupona all’Insegna dell’Africa III 8, 8, Pompeii

Citation preview


Edited by Jussi Rantala

Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World

Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World

Social Worlds of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages The Late Antiquity experienced profound cultural and social change: the political disintegration of the Roman Empire in the West, contrasted by its continuation and transformation in the East; the arrival of ‘barbarian’ newcomers and the establishment of new polities; a renewed militarization and Christianization of society; as well as crucial changes in Judaism and Christianity, together with the emergence of Islam and the end of classical paganism. This series focuses on the resulting diversity within Late Antique society, emphasizing cultural connections and exchanges; questions of unity and inclusion, alienation and conflict; and the processes of syncretism and change. By drawing upon a number of disciplines and approaches, this series sheds light on the cultural and social history of Late Antiquity and the greater Mediterranean world. Series Editor Carlos Machado, University of St. Andrews Editorial Board Lisa Bailey, University of Auckland Maijastina Kahlos, University of Helsinki Volker Menze, Central European University Ellen Swift, University of Kent Enrico Zanini, University of Siena

Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World

Edited by Jussi Rantala

Amsterdam University Press

Cover illustration: Funerary Statue of a Roman Matron, c. 160-170 ce (Museo Nazionale Romano/Terme di Diocleziano) Photo: Jussi Rantala Cover design: Coördesign, Leiden Typesetting: Crius Group, Hulshout isbn 978 94 6298 805 7 e-isbn 978 90 4854 009 9 doi 10.5117/9789462988057 nur 683 © Jussi Rantala / Amsterdam University Press B.V., Amsterdam 2019 All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the written permission of both the copyright owner and the author of the book. Every effort has been made to obtain permission to use all copyrighted illustrations reproduced in this book. Nonetheless, whosoever believes to have rights to this material is advised to contact the publisher.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations 9 Preface 15 Tabula Gratulatoria


Introduction 19 Jussi Rantala

1 Public Agency of Women in the Later Roman World


2 Religious Agency and Civic Identity of Women in Ancient Ostia


3 The Invisible Women of Roman Agrarian Work and Economy


Ville Vuolanto

Marja-Leena Hänninen

Lena Larsson Lovén

4 ‘Show them that You are Marcus’s Daughter’


5 Defining Manliness, Constructing Identities


6 ‘At the Age of Nineteen’ (RG 1)


7 Conflict and Community


The Public Role of Imperial Daughters in Second- and Third-Century ce Rome Sanna Joska

Alexander the Great mirroring an Exemplary Man in Late Antiquity Jaakkojuhani Peltonen

Life, Longevity, and the Formation of an Augustan Past (43-38 bce) Mary Harlow and Ray Laurence

Anna of Carthage and Roman Identity in Augustan Poetry Jussi Rantala

8 Dress, Identity, Cultural Memory


9 The Goddess and the Town


10 Varius, multiplex, multiformis – Greek, Roman, Panhellenic


11 Mental Hospitals in Pre-Modern Society


Copa and Ancilla Cauponae in Context Ria Berg

Memory, Feast, and Identity between Demeter and Saint Lucia Marxiano Melotti

Multiple Identities of the Hadrianic Era and Beyond Arja Karivieri

Antiquity, Byzantium, Western Europe, and Islam. Some Reconsiderations Christian Laes

Index 325

List of Illustrations Figure 8.1 Woman serving water and wine. Pompeii, Caupona in Via di Mercurio, VI 10, 1, room b, north wall 215 Figure 8.2 1) Pompeii, Caupona in Via di Mercurio, VI 10, 1, room b, N wall; 2) Pompeii, Caupona di Via Mercurio, room b, probably E wall; 3) Pompeii, Caupona in Via di ­Mercurio, south wall (male waiter?); 4) Pompeii, Caupona di Salvius, VI 14, 35.36, room 1, north wall, MANN inv. 111482; 5) Ostia, Isola Sacra tomb 90, Ostia Antiquarium inv. 1340; 6) Funerary relief of Sentia Amarantis, Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Augusta Emerita, inv. CE00676; 7) Ostia, Isola Sacra, Ostia Antiquarium, inv. 135 216 Figure 8.3 Diana dressed in a double-girt chiton 218 Figure 8.4 Funerary relief of Sentia Amarantis, Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Augusta Emerita, inv. CE00676. Late second-third century ce 220

Figure 8.5 Bronze ring ending in two snake-heads, found in the thermopolium of Felix and Dorus VI 16, 39.40, Pompeii (inv. 55462) Figure 8.6 1) Bronze bracelet in the form of snake (inv. 12699) and 2) spiral silver ring (inv. 12700). Found in the Caupona of Saturninus, I 11, 16, Pompeii Figure 8.7 1-2) Two faience beads (inv. 56194) and 3) a glass paste bead (inv. 56195) found in the Caupona all’Insegna dell’Africa III 8, 8, Pompeii

224 225 226

Abbreviations AE L’Année épigraphique Alex. Rom. Alexander romance Ammianus Marcellinus Amm. Marc. Appian, Bella civilia App. B Civ. Apuleius, Florida Apul. Flo. Apuleius, Metamorphoses Apul. Met. Ar. Vesp. Aristophanes, Vespae Arnobius, Adversus nationes Arnob. Nat. Arrian, Anabasis Arr. Anab. Ath. Deipn. Athenaeus, Deipnosofistai Basileios, Ad adolescentes Bas. Ad adolesc. Basileios, Epistulae Bas. Epist. Bullettino dell’Istituto di corrispondenza BdI archeologica Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca BHG Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina BHL Bullettino archeologico Napoletano BullNap Cassius Dio Cass. Dio Cato, De agri cultura Cato, Agr. Cens. Censorinus Cicero, Epistulae ad Brutum Cic. Ad Brut. Cic. Att. Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum Cicero, Epistulae ad familiares Cic. Fam. Cic. Har. resp. Cicero, De haruspicium responso Cicero, Pro Murena Cic. Mur. Cicero, Orationes Philippicae Cic. Phil. Cicero, De senectute Cic. Sen. Cicero, In Verrem Cic. Verr. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum CIL CJ Corpus Juris Civilis Claudianus, De consulate Honorii Claud. Cons. Hon. Columella, Rust. Columella, De re rustica Codex Theodosianus C.Th. Curtius Rufus Curt. Dig. Digesta Diodoros Siculus Diod. Sic. Dion. Hal. Dionysius Halicarnassensis


Enn. Ann. Ennod. Pan. Theod.

Gender, Memory, and Identit y in the Roman World

Ennius, Annales Ennodius, Panegyricus Dictus Clementissimo Rege Theodorico Epit. de Caes. Epitome de Caesaribus Euseb. Vit. Const. Eusebius, Vita Constantini Ex. Exodus Fontes Iuris Romani Anteiustiniani FIRA Fasti Ostienses FO Fulgentius, De aetatibus mundi et hominis Fulg. De aet. Fulgentius, Mitologiae tres libri Fulg. Myth. Gaius, Institutiones Gai. Inst. Aulus Gellius Gell. Gregory of Nazianzus, Epistulae Greg. Naz. Ep. Greg. Nyss. Vita Macr. Gregory of Nyssa, Vita Macrinae Hdn. Herodianus Herod. Herodas Jerome, Epistulae Hier. Ep. Horace, Carmina Hor. Carm. Horace, Carmen saeculare Hor. Carm. saec. Horace, Satirae Hor. Sat. Inscriptiones Graecae IG Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien IK Inscriptions latines de l’Algérie ILAlg Inscriptiones Italiae Inscr. Ital. The Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania IRT Itinerarium Alexandri Itin. Alex. Joh. Chrys. De sacerd. John Chrysostom, De sacerdotio Jordanes, Getica Jord. Get. Jul. Val. Res. Gest. Alex. Iulius Valerius, Res gestae Alexandri Macedonis Julian. Adv. Galil. Julian, Contra Galilaeo Julian, Epistulae Julian. Ep. Julian, Orationes Julian. Or. Juvenal Juv. Libanius, Orationes Lib. Or. Liv. Livy Luc. Lucan Lucian, De mort. Peregr. Lucian, De morte Peregrini Lydus, De mensibus Lydus, Mens. Macrobius, Saturnalia Macrob. Sat. Manilius, Astr. Manilius, Astronomica


MANN Catalogue of the Museo Archeologico di Napoli Mark Gospel of Mark Mart. Martial Men. Rhet. Menander Rhetor MGH, SS. RR. Merov. Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovigicarum Nepos, Atticus Nep. Att. Nepos, Hannibal Nep. Hannib. Notizie degli scavi di Antichità NSc Num. Numbers Orosius Oros. Ovid, Amores Ov. Am. Ovid, Ars amatoria Ov. Ars. Ovid, Fasti Ov. Fast. Ovid, Heroides Ov. Her. Ovid, Metamorphoses Ov. Met. Ovid, Tristia Ov. Trt. Pompeianarum Antiquitatum Historia PAH Panegyrici Latini Pan. Lat. Paus. Pausanias Papyri bruxellenses graeci P.Brux. Pers. Persius Petronius, Satyrica Petron. Sat. Prosopografie des Femmes de’ l’Ordre PFOS Senatorial (I-II siècles) Philostratus, Vitae sophistarum Philostr. V S PIR 2 Prosopographia Imperii Romani Saeculi I, II, III (second edition) Plaut. Aul. Plautus, Aulularia Plaut. Men. Plautus, Menaechmi Plaut. Truc. Plautus, Truculentus Plin. Ep. Pliny (the Younger), Epistulae Plin. HN Pliny (the Elder), Naturalis Historia P.Lips Griechische Urkunden der Papyrussamlung zu Leipzig 2 PLRE Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire 1 (second edition) Plut. Alex. Plutarch, Alexander Plut. Ant. Plutarch, Antonius Plut. Brut. Plutarch, Brutus



Gender, Memory, and Identit y in the Roman World

Plut. Cic. Plutarch, Cicero Plut. Cor. Plutarch, Coriolanus Plutarch, De Alexandri magni fortuna aut virtute Plut. De Alex. Fort. Plut. Mor. Plutarch, Moralia Plut. Ti. Gracch. Plutarch, Tiberius Gracchus Plut. Tim. Plutarch, Timoleon Michigan Papyri P.Mich. Papiri Milanesi P.Mil. Polybius Polyb. Oxyrhynchus Papyri P.Oxy. Pompei. Pitture e mosaici PPM Priap. Priapeia Procopius, De Bello Gothico Procop. Goth. Propertius, Elegiae Prop. Eleg. Catalogue of the Greek Papyri in the John P.Ryl. Rylands Library at Manchester Ps. Psalms The Archive of Aurelius Sakaon: Papers of P.Sakaon an Egyptian Farmer in the last Century of Theadelphia Griechische Papyrus der Kaiserlichen P.Strasb. Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek zu Strassburg Papyrus de Théadelphie P.Thead. Papyrus Vindobonensis P.Vindob. The Documents from the Bar Kochba P.Yad. Period in the Cave of Letters Quintilian, Institutio oratoria Quint. Inst. Res Gestae Divi Augusti RG Rhetorica ad Herennium Rhet. Her. RIC Roman Imperial Coinage Sallust, Historiae Sall. Hist. SEG Supplementum ephigraphicum Graecum Seneca (the Younger), De beneficiis Sen. Ben. Seneca (the Younger), Epistulae Sen. Ep. Sen. Helv. Seneca (the Younger), Ad Helviam Seneca (the Younger), Ad Marciam Sen. Marc. Serv. In Aen. Servius, In Vergilii Aeneidem commentarii Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Antoninus Pius SHA Ant. Pius Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Commodus SHA Comm. Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Didius Iulianus SHA Did. Iul.



SHA Hadr. Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Hadrian SHA Marc. Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Marcus Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Pertinax SHA Pert. SHA Sev. Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Septimius Severus Sid. Apoll. Carm. Sidonius Apollinaris, Carmina Sid. Apoll. Epist. Sidonius Apollinaris, Epistulae Suetonius, Augustus Suet. Aug. Suetonius, Gaius Caligula Suet. Calig. Suetonius, Divus Iulius Suet, Iul. Suetonius, Nero Suet. Nero Suetonius, Tiberius Suet. Tib. Symmachus, Epustulae Symm. Ep. Tacitus, Agricola Tac. Agr. Tacitus, Annales Tac. Ann. Tacitus, Dialogus de oratoribus Tac. Dial. Themistius, Orationes Them. Or. Theod. Graec. Aff. Cur. Theodoret, Graecarum Affectionum Curatio Ulp. Ulpian Valerius Maximus Val. Max. Varro, De lingua Latina Varro, Ling. Varro, De re rustica Varro, Rust. Velleius Paterculus Vell. Pat. Virgil, Aenid Verg. Aen. Xenophon, Cyropaedia Xen. Cyr.

Preface This collection of articles is, while dealing with an interesting and crucial question of interaction between gender, memory, and identity in the Roman world, also celebrating the birthday of Katariina Mustakallio by acknowledging her work and career. Thus, several of her colleagues were invited to contribute papers that deal with some of the subjects very close to Katariina’s own interests. To know Katariina is to know a person knowledgeable about a wide variety of topics. In the field of ancient history, she has dealt with both cultural and social questions from many perspectives. While this volume concentrates on gender, memory, and identity, Katariina has also had a keen interest in topics such as childhood, old age, death, and religion in ancient societies, particularly within the Roman Empire. Moreover, Medieval history and, more generally, world cultures and their history, have also been an important part of her work and vision as a scholar. Finishing her PhD thesis at the University of Helsinki, Katariina’s impact on ancient studies at the University of Tampere has been extremely significant for over twenty years now. Her activity in organizing and providing lectures on ancient history, her scholarship, her willingness to help and encourage students and fellow researchers, and her ability to create an overall atmosphere of togetherness and good spirit among those who work close to her, has enabled Classical studies to become an important and lively part of history studies and research in Tampere. That said, she has acted in many notable academic positions at the University of Tampere but also elsewhere – for example, as the Director of the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae in her beloved Rome for the period of 2009-2013. While the importance of her work can be noticed in many aspects at the University of Tampere, one should particularly mention her efforts as being one of the driving forces behind the very close co-operation between Classical and Medieval studies, practiced in Tampere for many years now, and emphasizing the significance of longue durée from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. One result of this quite unique co-operation has been the continuing series of the international conference Passages from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, which began 2003 and has been held every second or third year since, bringing together scholars of various fields of study to discuss diverse phenomena taking place in the period covering both Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Moreover, Katariina was one of the key figures in the foundation of Trivium (Tampere Centre for Classical, Medieval and Early Modern Studies) in 2006, and has actively taken part in the projects of the Centre since that.


Gender, Memory, and Identit y in the Roman World

Of course, as Katariina herself is always first to remind the rest of us, great deeds are made in co-operation. Thus, when beginning to put this collection of papers together, it was known a difficult task lie ahead: as Katariina has worked with many people, and has many dear friends and colleagues who certainly would have been willing to honour her by participating in this book, deciding who to invite to take part in the volume was a problematic case indeed. Thus, many people who surely would have been able to provide a high-class contribution were unfortunately left out. To mention just a few, Professor Christian Krötzl, Docent Jussi Hanska, Docent Sari KatajalaPeltomaa, Dr Jenni Kuuliala, Dr Miikka Tamminen, MA Pia Mustonen, and MA Outi Sihvonen, all active figures in Trivium and other common projects of Classical and Medieval historians in Tampere, have all worked for years with Katariina, and all of them would have been fitting contributors to this volume. Indeed, the same story goes with many other friends and colleagues, both Finnish and international, of Katariina that are researchers suitable for the volume as such, yet had to be excluded for practical reasons. Naturally, when deciding on those to invite to contribute, the main factor was to include people with a research history that covers the three main concepts of the volume. Accordingly, all the contributors of this volume not only have been working with Katariina in one way or another – some as doctoral students under her guidance, some as collaborators in other projects – but have also dealt in their previous research with questions of gender, memory, and identity in the Roman world, thus providing together an interesting and diverse collection of papers. Thus, I would like to express my warm thanks to all the contributors for their full-hearted response to the invitation to take part in this volume. Their participation enabled the production of what I believe is a collection of fine articles of appropriate distinction and a fitting way to celebrate Katariina and her past and present work, as well as to thank her for her warm friendship – something all the contributors of this volume can surely attest to. Moreover, a few people should particularly be mentioned. Dr Sanna Joska has provided valuable editorial assistance, of which I give her my sincere thanks. Docent Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Dr Jenni Kuuliala, and Docent Ville Vuolanto kindly provided useful suggestions in the initial phase of the process, helping me in getting the work started smoothly. Finally, from my own behalf, I of course thank Katariina herself for all her help, guidance, encouragement, and friendship she has provided to me over the years. The fact that I am able to call a person like Katariina my friend makes me feel privileged indeed. Jussi Rantala

Tabula Gratulatoria

The people and institutions listed below, as well as many other friends and colleagues, congratulate Katariina Mustakallio on her 60th birthday: Eeva-Liisa Aalto Ria Berg Christer Bruun and Greti Dinkova-Bruun Julia Burman and Erkki Sironen Laura Chioffi Department of European and World History, University of Turku Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä Rauno Endén Lotta Eriksson and Pau Rosenberg Finnish Historical Society Pertti Haapala Jussi Hanska Mary Harlow Markku Henriksson Ilari Hetemäki Markus Hiekkanen Marjatta and Kari Hietala Virve Hietala Sabine R. Huebner Martti Häikiö Marja-Leena Hänninen Institutum Romanum Finlandiae Seija Jalagin Sanna Joska Mervi and Pekka Kaarninen Marjo Kaartinen Maijastina Kahlos Arja Karivieri and Göran Kindström

Rami Karivieri and Riitta Iiponen Elina Katainen Kimmo Katajala Sari Katajala-Peltomaa Aino Katermaa Pirkko and Yrjö Kaukiainen Timo Keinänen Tiina Kinnunen Aura Korppi-Tommola Kai Krohn Christian Krötzl Hannele Kurki and Teuvo Räty Jenni Kuuliala Liisa Laakso Christian Laes Antti Lampinen Lena Larsson Lovén Ray Laurence Outi Lehtipuu Ohto Manninen Pirjo and Mikko Markkola Marxiano Melotti Leena and Hannu Mustakallio Mikko Myllykoski and Silpa Maria Pöntinen Marjaana Niemi and Kalevi Korpela Markus Nummi Eva Packalén and Jari Sedergren Päivi Pahta Tim G. Parkin Seppo Parkkila Jaakkojuhani Peltonen Leena Pietilä-Castrén


Gender, Memory, and Identit y in the Roman World

Jussi Rantala Mikko Saikku Olli Salomies and Tiina Purola Marjo-Riitta and Antti Saloniemi Kaj Sandberg Liisa Savunen and Markku Riekkinen Pertti Seppälä Outi Sihvonen and Antti T. Oikarinen Heikki Solin Agneta Strömberg

Elina Suolahti Miikka Tamminen Antero Tammisto and Liisa Laakso-Tammisto Tampereen Historiallinen Seura Trivium – Tampere Centre for Classical, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Heli Valtonen Krista Varantola Ville and Pia Vuolanto Simo Örmä

Introduction Jussi Rantala Cultural identity has become a much-discussed topic among ancient historians, particularly from the 1990s onwards.1 As we can notice from previous research, there is no straightforward answer to the question, ‘what is identity’; in fact, it is practically impossible to define such an abstract concept as ‘identity’ empirically. However, in social and cultural studies, definitions of course can – and should be – attempted. One means to understanding identify is to define it as ‘an abstract concept associated with the loyalty of an individual to a larger group, based on cultural, national, political, sexual, or other similar grounds’.2 Likewise, both collective and individual identities can be seen as ‘ascribed or negotiated characteristics which a person or group is agreed to possess’.3 We can perhaps draw from different definitions a conclusion that identity is a concept which describes how individuals or groups understand themselves as unique entities, separated from other individuals and/or groups. Culturally, this requires shared values, a ‘set of assumptions and experiences […] expressed by following certain common practices or by employing accepted representations of mutual identity’. 4 However, perhaps an even more important observation is that identity is not a fixed concept. This is the widely recognized norm in modern study, and deservedly so. People are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating their identities. While this process can take place in everyday life, it is particularly topical in times of crisis – collective or personal – or during other significant cultural, social, and political changes, or interference or influence from other individuals or groups, or other occasions as such.5 Moreover, while we may admit that it is entirely possible for an individual 1 For the research on cultural identity of the 1990s, see, for example, Dench, 1995; Gruen, 1995; Laurence and Berry (eds.), 1998. 2 Rantala, 2017, p. 3. 3 Miles, 1999, p. 5. 4 Huskinson, 2000, p. 5. 5 See Sorensen, 2008, for discussion.

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_intro


Jussi R antal a

or a group to have one overarching identity, one that goes above all others in significance for her/him/them, there still is a large number of ‘sub-identities’ that exist. These are separate, sometimes changing, and even contradictory, emphasized in different ways during different times – often depending on context or where the individuals or groups are acting and evaluating themselves.6 As a result, identity can be seen as a discourse – both at an individual and collective level. In this discourse, memory and tradition bring cohesion to identity; they create stories to which one as an individual or as a member of a community can identify. At the same time, those who are able to provide and explain these common stories for the members of their communities often become part of the same story themselves. As noticed by Helène Whittaker, being able to present abstract values, such as identity, in a tangible and perceivable manner, can be seen as a mark of authority and certain permanence among community.7 In all cultures, identities are very much shaped by the past. The world as we understand it, our culture, customs, values, and many other things important to us, are affected by facts and events which once were – or which we imagine once were. Regarding imagination of the past, we must of course refer to the classic study of Benedict Anderson (1983), in which he considered societies, such as nation-sates, as ‘imagined communities’: while most of the people living in the same state never meet and do not personally know each other, they still identify themselves to the same community and consider themselves as members of it. In fact, Anderson’s idea of a state as ‘imagined’ has sometimes been misinterpreted as if he would point out that such communities are not ‘real’. For Anderson, this seems not to be the main case; instead, he emphasizes that there are many ‘imagined communities’, national and other cultural communities among them, which admittedly can be based on historical and traditional myths, but which are nevertheless a social reality that affect our everyday lives in countless ways. Indeed, history and tradition, whether based on myths or not, are thus one of the most important foundations of all communities. These phenomena of the past, as we understand them, are preserved by memory (memoria), both at an individual and communal level; both individuals and cultures alike have their own ways of remembering.8 6 Smith, 1991. 7 Whittaker, 2011, p. 1. See also Sorensen, 2008, p. 21. 8 See e.g. Assmann, 2006; Connerton, 1989; Halbwachs, 1992; Whittaker, 2011. Particularly Assmann, building on Halbwach’s classic study, points out the significance of memory both as a social and individual phenomenon.

Introduc tion


Ancient Romans were of no exception to this process. In fact, even if memory is an important part of all societies and cultures explaining and understanding their identity, one may argue that this is especially true with the Romans. As Alain Gowing has stated, Romans held memoria in such importance that it can be traced in ‘almost every aspect of their existence’. It was present in both public and private celebrations, at funerals and religious festivals, and can be traced in speeches, public monuments, and other pieces of art, architecture, or literature.9 The power of memoria for Roman political life can be noticed already in the Republican period, as the memory of famous members of noble families was celebrated after their deaths by monuments and lavish celebrations. The political significance of this practice became even more important in Imperial times. Political authority was concentrated among fewer individuals, and, as a result, nobility that was wealthy but lacked direct political power tried to obtain more influence in society by demonstrating their might and influence in celebrating, for example, the legacy of their famous dead relatives in a more and more grandiose manner.10 Another famous example of the significance of memoria in Roman political life, from the Republic all the way to the Late Antiquity, is the practice of damnatio memoriae, the erasing of the memory of an emperor or other person considered as a traitor from public monuments, and thus from public memoria.11 After all, the power of memory not only consists of choosing what to remember, but also of choosing what to forget.12 Speaking of the Roman Empire, the ‘providers’ of collective memories are of course often understood as emperors and other members of the Imperial circle. However, this is naturally only part of the story within the vast entity known as Roman Empire. The subjects actively shaped society around them as well, creating new significance to their own identities based on various ‘sub-identities’, as mentioned above.13 Thus, class, occupation, age, education, gender, and so on, were all important concepts to which individuals based

9 Gowing, 2005, pp. 1-2. 10 Larsson Lovén, 2011, pp. 128-129. 11 For damnatio memoriae, see e.g. Pekáry, 1985, pp. 134-142. Stewart, 1999, makes an interesting comparison between the ancient practice of damnatio memoriae and destruction of pagan statues by Christians in the fourth and fifth centuries ce, pointing out to continuity in cultural practices from Early to Late Roman Empire. 12 Flower, 2006, pp. 6-7. For memory in Rome, see also Galinsky, 2014, and Galinsky and Lapatin, 2016. 13 See Ando, 2010.


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their identities on and, at the same time, affected the society surrounding the people dealing with these questions. As Janet Huskinson notices: Cultural identities are very much to do with relationships and how we perceive ourselves and each other in terms of particular social signifiers: for example, do we work on similarity or difference? Gender is one instance where this kind of relativity is used to shape identities, and in many recent studies of Roman women notions of ‘same’ and ‘other’ have provided useful key to understanding the construction and dynamic of their social roles.14

Gender is indeed a significant question when we deal with identities in the Roman world, particularly because of the highly patriarchal nature of Roman society. This key feature of Roman communitas is, of course, assessed by many studies already; the most well-known phenomena considering ‘male-orientation’ of the Roman world is probably the limited authority of women set by Roman law, leading to the official exclusion of women from many public and private duties. And yet, the significance of gender was much broader than that. It was present both as a legal and as an ‘unofficial’ entity in all spheres of the Roman Empire, from Imperial circles to the lowest strata of the society; it can be traced in Roman literature, composed by the elite for the elite, but also in other sources revealing practices of everyday life. Gender affected, from its own part, the ways Romans acted, how they remembered, and, as a result, how they built their identities.15 Thus, this collection of papers focuses on the interaction between gender, memory, and identity in the Roman world. The aim of the volume is to underline how this interaction took place all over within Roman society, taking many forms and including a wide range of practices. Moreover, the papers of the collection demonstrate that this was a continuous process, affecting social and political life of the Roman world for centuries. Accordingly, some of the chapters focus on Imperial politics and the role of the emperors and people close to them in the process, while others deal with the lower strata of society, with the time-span of discussion reaching from the Early Empire (first century ce) to the Late Antiquity, and even beyond that. Indeed, when reading the various papers of this volume, we should always keep in mind that concepts such as ‘Early Empire’ or ‘Late Antiquity’ are 14 Huskinson, 1999, p. 190. 15 For sex and gender in Antiquity, see e.g. Montserrat, 2000; Nelson, 2007; Williams, 2010; Masterson, Rabinowitz and Robson, 2015; Foxhall, 2013.

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often artificial by their very nature. Of course, one can admit that there are some understandable practical reasons behind these classifications. The continuous political and military troubles of most of the third century ce (from the end of the Severan Dynasty to the beginning of the reign of Diocletian), combined with the considerable lack of evidence from the same period, provide a ‘natural’ borderline between the early and later period of the Roman Empire. Moreover, the emergence of the ‘Christian Empire’ from Constantine the Great on has appeared as a period in which new intellectual values, provided by the Christian faith, affected the socio-political life of the Empire.16 Thus, all of this leads to a temptation of overstating the change in the Empire and highlight the polarity between the Empire before, and after, Constantine. However, while new values and ideas undoubtedly took place and gradually affected Roman society, the totality of change should not be exaggerated. On the contrary, when we evaluate periods such as the Late Antiquity we should be rather careful not to see them as completely different cultural time spans.17 After all, when we notice some new cultural, religious, political, social, and other kinds of changes taking place in the Later Roman Empire, we must also remember that adaptation of new ideas was a continuous process itself. Already from the Republican period on, and possibly even before that, Romans took lots of influence from neighbouring peoples such as the Etruscans and Greeks. One may even claim that, in accepting foreign customs and adapting them appropriately, we are at the very heart of Roman culture – although we should be careful not to exaggerate this aspect either. While Romans probably were more inclusive of outsiders compared, for example, to Greeks, they also regulated foreign influences and excluded them from some areas of their society and culture.18 All in all, both continuity and change always existed, side by side, in ancient Rome. The first articles of this volume focus on women’s position in Roman society, from Early to Late Empire. As mentioned above, Roman society was, at least in principle, a highly patriarchal system, particularly if evaluated just from the legal point of view. According to Gillian Clark, for example, femaleness was generally a disadvantage in Late Antiquity; she also mentions that while Christianity did give some new possibilities for women to act 16 Clark, 1993, p. 1. 17 See e.g. Miles, 1999, p. 3. The cultural continuity from Early to Late Antiquity is stressed in many articles of the same volume (edited by Miles); see especially Huskinson, 1999; Morales, 1999; Stewart, 1999. 18 Huskinson, 2000, p. 12.


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in society, it is hard to notice that Christianity as such made people think women in more positive light or treat them better: ‘Christian teaching could either reinforce or subvert traditional beliefs about women – and it could use the traditional beliefs to construct Christian teaching’.19 This is, on a general level, a valid claim as such. On the other hand, if we take a closer look to sources dealing with ‘lower’ levels of Roman Empire, we can notice at least some possibilities for women to participate in public life of the society. While examining this ‘lower’ strata of ancient societies is challenging, and traces of women’s activity particularly hard to find, some insight into the general picture of such is possible through material evidence. As shown by Ville Vuolanto in his article, while this evidence is also culture-bound and thus plays down the role of women in public life, it still provides glimpses and hints of women acting in various important roles in society, receiving even authority among their local communities. In other words, while particularly public monuments and memorials, as well as elite literature, were bound to the patriarchal patterns of Roman society – thus mostly lacking descriptions of memorable deeds of women – the actions of women can be traced in civic and commercial everyday life, implying civic activity on behalf of females; considering the cultural context, even small details pointing out to women’s authority should be understood as significant factors. Using sources such as papyri and epigraphy, Vuolanto’s article thus reminds us that we should not simply evaluate the role of women in society using the most visible evidence, as the reality behind the surface seems to be much more complicated than expressed in the rather patriarchal ‘official’ documents and thus in the most visible public memory. The significance of inscriptions and other public monuments is obviously most evident when we see them commemorating emperors and their family members. However, we can also trace their importance to outside the Imperial context. Religious inscriptions in particular had a considerable significance in this aspect. For example, cultic sanctuaries around the Mediterranean world were, according to Ian Rutherford (1998), grounds for ‘contesting the sacred’; in other words, people of different backgrounds coming from different places to sacred sites competed with each other to find a place as central as possible to erect their own honorary inscriptions. This ‘fight’ indicates the significance of religious inscriptions and the messages they conveyed for the groups or individuals erecting them. Regarding gender, religious inscriptions and the memory they carry provide a particularly 19 Clark, 1993, p. 119; 140. See also Cameron, 1993, pp. 148-151, for a bit more positive picture of the impact of Christianity on women in Antiquity.

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interesting case, as they are one of the best ways to find answers to the question of a woman’s role and identity in civic life. Roman culture, highly patriarchal by nature, limited in many ways the role in public life of women. However, there were exceptions, religious life providing some of them, particularly because of the very ‘gendered’ nature of Roman religious system. For Romans, harmony and balance was an essential feature of pax deorum, peace of the gods, and to maintain this balance, both men and women were needed. Thus, religion was one sphere of public life where women had a chance to be active and achieve an acknowledged position.20 Marja-Leena Hänninen evaluates this religious activity of women in the harbour city of Ostia, as witnessed by epigraphic evidence, and investigates the ways women might have constructed their civic identities in a male-dominated society. The paper points out that these cults were particularly useful for women below the elite class; while females of the upper class could receive social distinction in other ways as well, such as by having monuments erected to honour them, by participating in cults women of the lower strata could find a recognized position among their community. Moreover, even if Roman society was traditionally dominated by men, Hänninen observes that, while participating in cults, women in fact acted in a similar manner as men did, although it seems that the social position of a husband affected the position of his wife in the cult she participated in. While we are able to obtain at least some information about women living and acting in local communities, mainly in cities and towns, there are of course a vast number of women who have not left any direct traces about their lives. The problem is most obvious when we leave urban spaces and examine the countryside instead. Mere numbers can show us that women involved in cultivation were not by any means an insignificant part of Roman society. Agriculture formed the most important part of ancient economy, and a vast number of people lived in the countryside, working the land. As Lena Larsson Lovén shows in her article, the number of sources available do not give a proper picture of their importance, as we have very little evidence about the everyday life of women in rural areas. As a result, we need to draw pieces of information from ‘between the lines’ of ancient writers, who represented an entirely different socio-political group than agrarian women and were not interested of the subject at all. Larsson Lovén demonstrates this as she traces women working in the Roman economy and their activities in agricultural work, using Roman literature as her source. Thus, she concentrates on those who were, as she indicates in her article, 20 See Mustakallio, 2013.


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the most silent women in the ancient world. As her paper demonstrates, despite the scant evidence, we may nevertheless presume that the life of women in the countryside reflected the similar gender-based ideals, as was the case in other parts of the society; their role was as wives and mothers, under male authority.21 While not as often noticed as emperors and empresses, Imperial daughters as public figures were a female group of considerable importance for Roman society during the Late Empire. This is easy to notice, for example, by observing writings of Gregory of Nyssa, who described the hysteria aroused in Constantinople when seven (or perhaps eight) years old Pulcheria, daughter of Emperor Theodosius and Empress Aelia Flavia Flaccilla, died in 385 ce: They filled the church and its forecourt, the square beyond, the alleyways and tenements, the mesē and the cross-streets, the open spaces atop buildings – all one could see was a mass of humanity, as if the whole world had rushed to a single place in its grief. And there one could view that sacred blossom brought forth on golden bier. How dejected were the faces of all who gazed upon her! How their eyes flowed with tears! They struck their hands together, and their keening too made known the pain filled their hearts.22

The importance of Imperial daughters (and, generally, children) is quite obvious as such: they represented symbolically the future and continuation of the Roman Empire. This idea was, of course, much older than Theodosian reign: it can be traced in practically every period of the Empire. Regarding this question, Sanna Joska takes a closer look to the public monuments honouring Imperial daughters during the second and third centuries ce. As Joska demonstrates, Imperial daughters were used by subjects of the emperor for their own, local, ends; honouring Imperial daughters signify remarkable activity and inventiveness by people at the local levels, even if they operated inside the cultural framework provided by Imperial power. Public monuments, and inscriptions particularly, are a significant source when tracing questions related to memoria; indeed, they were probably the most effective ways to preserve names, ideas, and values within public memory. The inscriptions communicated, of course, with those people 21 See Scheidel, 1995. 22 Oratio consolatorio in Pulcheriam (ed. by Spira), pp. 461-63 (adapted from Holum, 1982, pp. 21-22). Translations from Greek and Latin in this volume are made by the authors of the articles, unless otherwise stated.

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who could read, but their significance went beyond, as they created and transmitted messages also through their physical presence. Public monuments were important not only because of the text they contained but also because of their size, beauty, and their location. Indeed, it was often precisely their location, which conveyed messages to those who could not read the actual message these monuments included. They told a story simply by being situated at important sites in the cities, next to other monuments celebrating historical and significant public deeds, and, at the same time, were bonded with these earlier statues and inscriptions, constructing a continuous story from past to present. This was an important factor in the process of building and maintaining a public identity. As pointed out in the classic study by Maurice Halbwachs, societies need landmarks.23 By erecting monuments to honour the Imperial family, local people took part in local political discourses, shaped society and their own position as part of it, and as such, shaped their identity as members of their communities. The first part of the volume has thus mostly dealt with females. However, while so called gender studies have sometimes tended to concentrate on women, it should be noted that men, manliness, and masculinity are of course also important aspects regarding questions about gender. As Dominic Montserrat has noticed, there has been a tendency to ignore the difference between concepts of (biological) sex and (cultural) gender, which sometimes has led to the situation where gender was associated almost automatically to something dealing with women.24 And yet, masculinity did matter – even at the upmost levels of the Empire. Indeed, we may even argue that masculinity and manly virtues were one of the very cornerstones of Roman identity. Two concepts, virtus and imperium, underline this in particular. The first one, etymologically meaning ‘manliness’, pointed to the moral virtues of Roman men, often considered being opposite to ‘women’s vices’, such as being mentally soft or unrestrained. Imperium, the rule or dominion, was related to virtus. It referred to the essential hierarchy as understood by the Romans, including a master’s rule over a slave, man’s rule over women, and rule of the magistrates over Roman people. However, this went also to the cultural level; it pointed out how Romans should rule foreign peoples and maintain control over ‘barbarians’; in a similar manner a man should 23 See Halbwachs, 1992. Jan Assmann goes even further. As he mentions that Halbwachs concentrated on ‘living memory’, he himself wants to put more emphasis on the significance of historical tradition for cultural memory and, thus, for cultural identity. See Assmann, 2006, pp. 8-9. For inscriptions as preservers of memoria in Ancient Rome, see e.g. Bodel, 2001, pp. 23-27; Eastmond, 2015; Miles, 2000, pp. 50-51. 24 Montserrat, 2000, pp. 161-162.


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remain in control over a woman.25 The most striking evidence of this is the attitude of Roman historians to certain unpopular emperors; for them, the ultimate way to defame the reputation of a ruler was to describe him as an effeminate, woman-like figure unfit to act as a man, and thus unfit to rule the Empire and foreign peoples. In other words, unfit to be included in Imperial identity.26 In the rather masculine cultural memory of Romans, warfare and military virtues had a special place. Already from the Republican period, they were an important part of Roman self-understanding. Great deeds in war dominated the visual culture and literature of Early Rome, ensuring that the culture of memory remained rather masculine. And while during the Imperial era the actual army was composed mostly of soldiers drafted from the non-Italian people of the Empire, it is interesting to observe that martial manliness, signified by military metaphors as part of Roman cultural life and other such values, remained a central part of Roman masculinity all the way to the end of the Western Empire.27 The legendary figure of Alexander the Great, a Macedonian King, but also a hero with an immense value for Roman culture, is a perfect example how masculinity, and particularly the militaristic values connected to it, remained in the Roman collective memory through the centuries.28 Jaakkojuhani Peltonen points out in his article how memoria of Alexander as a manly, masculine figure was used all the way up to the Late Antiquity, and even beyond, to promote and strengthen identities of elite males and entire groups of people. Alexander’s masculinity was also an important part of the intellectual debate within the Late Antiquity, where Christianity and paganism were compared and evaluated as a part of the contemporary cultural discourse. On the other hand, we can also try to trace continuity among groups socially, culturally, and politically quite distant from legendary heroes such as Alexander; indeed, we have already noticed how one way to define identity was ‘ascribed or negotiated characteristics which a person or group is agreed to possess’. While the starting-point of this collection is that individuals – not only emperors but also local elites and even ordinary people – actively shaped society, we must of course also recognize that Imperial politics indeed affected all strata of society and contributed to the local identities. In fact, 25 Williams, 2010, pp. 145-151. 26 The most famous cases are probably Emperors Elagabalus and Nero; see e.g. Rantala (forthcoming). 27 See e.g. Kuefler, 1995, pp. 37-45; Hänninen, 2011, pp. 42-43; Hahn, 2017, pp. 36-37. 28 For Alexander as a part of Roman culture, see e.g. Spencer, 2002.

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as obvious as this sounds, it is a detail surprisingly often forgotten. While many modern studies have concentrated on highlighting how provincial people, particularly local elites, actively chose what to adopt from Roman cultural elements and what to ignore,29 the Imperial power and its will to exercise this power have been, in recent studies, an ‘elephant in the room’, clearly present but still ignored, as mentioned by Vanacker & Zuiderhoek.30 Thus, when we evaluate the cultural values and identities of the Roman Empire, we cannot ignore the significance of the emperors, particularly that of Augustus. Indeed, it was particularly during the period of Augustus when the basis for Roman Imperial identity, all the way to Late Empire, was created; it was Augustus who created the cultural framework in which both Imperial as well as local actors participated for hundreds of years. However, while this Augustan cultural framework was new, built by the civil war that collapsed the Republic, it was also related to the old values and concepts; both continuity and change were an important part of the process. One prime example is the concept of citizenship. As one of the most important markers of Roman identity, being a citizen was traditionally used to refer to having the right to vote. However, from the reign of Augustus on, this aspect of citizenship was pushed to the background and the cultural, symbolic value of being a citizen was highlighted instead. Here, we can notice some kind of a paradox; while Augustus practically pushed for a more or less autocratic system, he celebrated, among other values, citizenship – a concept traditionally associated to a subject’s right to politically act within the city-state. This was essentially what Augustan ‘revolution’ was all about; emphasizing old ideas and values but, at the same time, giving them suitable significance in order to strengthen the new political reality.31 Naturally, it was Augustus himself who appears as the central figure of this new age. However, despite the certain uniqueness of Augustus’ figure in Roman history, he was also a Roman man, and as such bound to various cultural expectations. This situation is evident in the paper of Mary Harlow and Ray Laurence. As the article points out, the expectations and ideas related to the qualities of a Roman man followed Augustus throughout his early life. As these expectations formed the basis of discourses about one’s deeds in Roman culture and society, we might read Augustus’ Res Gestae, an inscription erected throughout the Roman Empire describing his achievements, as a new reference point given by the emperor referring to his youth. In 29 See e.g. Webster, 2001; Hingley, 2010. 30 Vanacker and Zuiderhoek, 2017, p. 2. 31 Wallace-Hadrill, 2008, pp. 452-453.


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other words, it can be considered as a ‘cultural transmission’ to the youth of Augustus’ own day and the future generations evaluating his deeds and response to the expectations of being a young Roman man. Augustus thus provides quite a unique, personal view to the question of what it actually meant to be a young man in Roman culture. As mentioned above, memory is a crucial aspect in the process of building identity. Among cultures and individuals, we can notice many different, sometimes crude or often very elaborate, ways that memory is preserved. Large communities such as states do this, for example, with historical accounts and monuments celebrating past deeds, public festivals commemorating historical events, and so on. However, a somewhat similar process can also be traced among individuals. Dresses, personal memorabilia, established behaviour in certain stages of life, or one’s role in different family celebrations, can all bind an individual to the memory and tradition of her/ his own, thus shaping one person’s identity. The next articles of the volume thus concentrate on building cultural identities in the Roman Empire, both by literature covering the (imagined) past as well as by more concrete, material objects, used by individual members of the society. While the memory of the past affected Augustus and his public figure, as explained by Harlow & Laurence, this was also true regarding values in the wider cultural sphere of Augustan Rome. Moreover, when we take a closer look at Augustan literature and the tales they tell about Roman past, we notice that gender is indeed a topic very much dealt with by authors such as Horace, Ovid, and Virgil. This is not surprising, as ‘returning to proper morals of old’ was one of the central themes in Augustan policies, as indicated, for example, by the moral laws instituted by the emperor.32 In Jussi Rantala’s paper, we focus on one example of a story, preserved in public memory by Augustan writers, that connects gender values and Roman identity closely together – the story of Carthaginian Anna, sister of Queen Dido. As Rantala shows, this figure of the past was fitted to the cultural atmosphere of the Augustan period by combining her memory with Augustan values, particularly marriage and a woman’s role in relation to her husband, thus promoting values central for Roman cultural identity as it was understood in the contemporary cultural context. However, the article also shows that Roman authors – in this case Ovid and Virgil – took their own, rather independent approach to the subject, while remaining within the Augustan cultural and political framework. They actively operated in the context given by contemporary politics, taking part in intellectual and 32 Augustan moral laws: see Raaflaub and Samons, 1990, pp. 434-435.

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political discussion regarding the grand themes of their day, but still held their own views, attitudes, and interpretations.33 As we have seen in some of the previous papers, inscriptions are perhaps the most important source when dealing with gender, memory, and identity among the lower social classes of the Empire. However, there is other material evidence as well that can tell something about the interaction and significance of our three key concepts. Regarding identity, we have already noticed the symbolic value of things such as public monuments and celebrations for collective identity; these were, and are, very concrete and powerful ways for a community to define itself, and remind them of who they are. However, we may also find at the individual level many tangible, even visual, elements referring to one’s identity. A physical appearance is the most obvious of these. Things such as dress and jewellery can identify an individual and place her/him in a cultural, historical, or geographical context. Dress can also point to one’s membership in a community but, on the other hand, differentiate her/him and rest of the members of the same group; it can be both inclusive and exclusive. Moreover, while dress may indicate one’s social position in her/his community, gender identification is also part of this general process.34 Romans indeed believed in the significance of dress for one’s identity. The most famous example is probably the toga, a garment separating Romans, gens togati, from non-Romans, such as pallati (those who wore pallium, associated with Greeks) and bracati (those who wore trousers, non-Romans and non-Greeks who lived outside ‘civilized’ world). The Roman term a toga ad pallium, from toga to pallium, is a perfect example of the significance of one’s dress related to her/his social status, as Romans used this phrase to describe one’s sinking from a higher to lower position in society.35 However, while togas might be the best-known garments we know of, we can also trace other examples where dress and other decorations signified the identity of an individual and her/his place in Roman society. This is shown in Ria Berg’s article, where she takes a closer look at women working in Roman bars and inns, and the female dresses used in this context. Utilizing not only literary evidence but also iconographic material and jewellery, Berg demonstrates how clothing not only was used to express 33 Galinsky, 1996, pp. 244-246. 34 Barnes and Eicher, 1992, p. 2. Dresses were also an important part of Roman collective identity as part of iconography. For example, we can notice (female) figures in Roman art and coinage representing different provinces, dressed in clothes with cultural associations to the province in question; we can observe dresses and individual garments worn by gods representing ideas important for Roman communitas; and so on. See Huskinson, 2000, pp. 8-9. 35 Harlow, 2004, p. 47.


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one’s identity and status, but also how various objects of the Roman bars and inns, combined with dresses and jewellery worn by female workers, might have created together a context where cultural memories of the past, such as old mythological stories, were brought to life. At the same time, all of this indicates how significant cultural identity based on distant stories could have been for the people of lower strata of society, even if discussions on Roman cultural identity often remained in Imperial or other higher level of Roman communitas. Last three articles of this volume take a closer look on gender, memory, and identity in a longer time-span, that is, as part of continuity and change. Thus, they widen the scope and tackle broader questions taking place from Early to Late Antiquity, sometimes even beyond that. In Late Antiquity, many old structures from the earlier period survived. Central administrative and governing system, with people paying taxes to that system and expecting security in exchange, continued to exist (with occasional disturbances, of course) until late fifth century ce, and in the eastern part of the Empire much longer still. In addition, cities continued to provide urban culture, something that many contemporaries saw as the backbone of civilization. Overall, the state structures of Early and High Roman Empire more or less survived, and with it, a large part of the traditional high culture. On the other hand, while Christian authors were part of Classical, pre-Christian culture as well, Christianity undeniably bought new ideals and ways of learning to Roman intellectual life and affected in other levels of society as well.36 Indeed, considering continuity and change in Roman society, we may claim that nowhere was their coexistence more evident than in religious life, making whole subject much more complex than it may first look like.37 Marxiano Melotti’s article on the cult of Saint Lucia provides an interesting view precisely on this aspect. As Melotti points out, the (Greek) cult of Demeter and her daughter Kore in the island of Sicily was pivotal in the building of a local and regional political identity. As the cult was later affected by Roman and Christian cultures, it resulted in a transformation of political, cultural, and religious practices. Thus, the figure of the Christian Saint Lucia eventually acquired some elements and functions of the ancient cult of Greek goddesses; the new cult metabolized the Greek ideas of death 36 Cameron, 1993, pp. 128-151. 37 Perhaps the most well-known example is the question of ancient monotheism. While it is sometimes claimed that what essentially distinguished Christians from pagans was that Christians believed in one God, while pagans worshipped a multiple of gods. However, even a question as basic as this is much more complicated; both polytheism and monotheism in Antiquity had many forms and aspects. For discussion, see Athanassiadi and Frede, 1999.

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and fertility, and contributed to define a new identity for the Christian community. Despite this, we cannot simply read this as a transformation of pre-Christian cults into Christian ones. As Melotti demonstrates, the transformation was much more complicated, taking place in a very long time-span with various phenomena affecting the process. Thus, the article for its own part demonstrates the co-existence of continuity and change but also their complexity in Graeco-Roman culture through the centuries, from pre-Christian to Christian era; indeed, the article even reveals a surprising connection to Scandinavia and modern Sweden, emphasising precisely the complexity of ideas and beliefs carried out through the centuries. As the Roman Empire grew, Imperial identity was naturally a question which emperors needed to tackle. Empire-wise, one of the most prominent issues considering cultural identity was the question of Greek culture as a part of the Roman world. Particularly, in the second and third centuries ce, we can observe a vivid discussion about ‘Greekness’ and its relationship with Roman culture, for example when Diogenes Laertius defended the Greek origins of philosophy. Moreover, writers such as Philostratus dealt with many distinctly Greek traditions, and some Greek historians, such as Herodian, apparently took an active part in the debate among the Greek elite on the cultural position of Greece, to mention just a few examples. Even early Christian writers such as Clement of Alexandria or Hippolytus took place in the debate about Greek culture and its relationship with philosophy, while Jewish intellectuals, in the footsteps of Josephus, tried to define their identity in relationship with the Greek culture that was dominant in the eastern part of the Mediterranean.38 The reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138), an enthusiast of Greek culture and history, can be considered as a crucial period regarding the cultural identity of Roman Greece. In her article, Arja Karivieri deals with the multifaceted identities promoted by Hadrian. She explains how this process reflects the identities of the leading figures of the Empire, including Hadrian himself, his wife Vibia Sabina, and his lover Antinoos, but also how the promotion of multiple identities affected local society in Roman Greece. The article thus demonstrates the significance of Imperial policy, particularly the example provided by public figures of Imperial family members, in the cultural change throughout the Empire.39 Moreover, as Karivieri shows, this Hadrianic-era process continued in Late Antiquity. Mythic heroes of the Graeco-Roman past were compared 38 Whitmarsh, 2007, pp. 38-43. See also Sidebottom, 2007, pp. 80-81. 39 For the significance of Imperial couple as an example to their subjects, see also e.g. Rantala, 2017.


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with Christian heroes, both in private country estates as well as in public monuments, such as the Arch of Constantine; this process created linkages from the past to the present and created new identity by using historical memory. Theory-wise, the paper deals with four contexts in which memories are constructed: representations, places, rituals, and texts, demonstrating how the using of these four was a continuous process, from Early to Late Roman Empire. As a final observation, it would perhaps be pertinent to emphasize that often persons or groups who are labelled to certain categories according to their characteristics are usually not asked if they actually do agree to possess these characteristics; identities are often defined from the outside, by others. This practice was not unfamiliar in ancient societies. Roman literature, for example, is full of ethnic stereotypes about foreign nations and their ‘un-Roman’ habits.40 Ancient Greeks were perhaps even stricter in this classification. As has been stressed by Paul Cartledge (1993), a polarization between ‘us’ and ‘them’ was at the very heart of the Greek culture, appearing in practice as ideological polar oppositions such as Greeks versus barbarians, citizens versus foreigners, free men versus slaves, and, indeed, men versus women. In other words, while identity often is about defining who you are and to which group you identify yourself, one aspect of identity is also identifying other people or groups to certain categories. These objects of identification are often precisely the ‘silent ones’ of the society, those without an opportunity to express their views. Christian Laes deals with one such group, the mentally disabled, and traces labels of ‘madmen’ in Mediterranean culture through a long-time period. As was the case with women in ancient agriculture, tracing gender issues is particularly difficult, as women were among the most silent groups of ancient societies, and indeed the mentally impaired women surely were the most silent ones among all the silent. Generally, while the Late Antiquity can be seen as a turning point considering hospitals as institutions of mentally impaired in general, accounts of ‘madmen’ in ancient tradition as a whole tend to highlight the goodwill of rulers or other signif icant f igures, instead of telling the story of those people actually suffering with mental illness. The accounts thus continued the somewhat moralizing tradition of historical and other accounts, used to carry deeds of great men in public memory. In this tradition, the ‘lesser’ people were, for hundreds of years, kept very silent indeed and were subjects of identification at best – that is, if somebody bothered to identify them at all. 40 See Isaac, 2004.

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This volume is not a definitive analysis on the relationships and interaction between gender, memory, and identity in Roman world, but provides case studies from as wide a range as possible. It shows the variety of possible points of view, providing examples for using many types of sources – both written and material evidence – to further approach the question. Of course, all the key concepts provide a rich, separate research tradition of their own. As mentioned, identity and difference have formed an active field of research from at least the 1990s on, expanding from the previous study of approaching ancient literature and other sources as plain, empirical ‘data’ to an idea of ancient texts as expressions of ‘cultural forces’, closely connected to the place and time in which they were created and thus with their own significances and meanings. Questions of memory have been an important part of identity studies; as mentioned, identities are built on foundations provided by the understanding of the past. Moreover, gender studies have obviously been a lively part of ancient studies for decades as well, expanding from something located quite strictly in the sphere of women to questions of masculinity and femininity, ‘gender-blending’, sexuality, and so on. However, the interaction of these three is mostly dealt with in only a few separate articles over the years, with a systematic approach more or less lacking. 41 Thus, this collection for its own part fills a gap in modern research. Here, the contributors have explored what they consider important aspects regarding the subject. Moreover, the articles of the volume present a wide range of theoretical and methodical possibilities to study gender, memory, and identity, and their interaction in Roman world. Using both material and textual evidence, the papers deal with social historical, even microhistorical, problems, as well as questions related to literary analysis, comparative approach, and so on. All in all, this collection will hopefully encourage a much-needed further study of inter-linkages between the three crucial concepts that considerably shaped the Roman Empire and its culture through the centuries.

41 Some research is available, though; see e.g. Huskinson, 1999; Whittaker (ed.), 2011; Revell, 2015. Obviously, there is a large number of research combining two of the three concepts dealt with here; see the works cited in individual articles of this volume.


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Bibliography Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983). Clifford Ando, ‘Imperial identities’, in Local knowledge and microidentities in the imperial Greek world, ed. by Tim Whitmarsh (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), pp. 17-45. Jan Assmann, Religion and Cultural Memory: Ten Studies (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006). Polymnia Athanassiadi and Michael Frede, ed., Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). Ruth Barnes and Joanne Eicher, ed., Dress and Gender: Making and Meaning (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992). John Bodel, ed., Epigraphic Evidence. Ancient History from Inscriptions (London: Routledge, 2001). Averil Cameron, The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity ad 395-600 (London: Routledge, 1993). Eva Cantarella, ‘Fathers and Sons in Rome’, Classical World, 96:3 (2003), 281-298. Paul Cartledge, The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). Gillian Clark, Women in Late Antiquity. Pagan and Christian Life-styles (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993). Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). Emma Dench, From Barbarians to New Men. Greek, Roman and Modern Perceptions of the Central Apennines (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995). Suzanne Dixon, The Roman Mother (Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988). Suzanne Dixon, The Roman Family (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992). Antony Eastmond, Viewing Inscriptions in the Late Antique and Medieval World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015). Harriet Flower, The Art of Forgetting. Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006). Lin Foxhall, Studying Gender in Classical Antiquity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). Karl Galinsky, Augustan Culture. An Interpretive Introduction (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996). Karl Galinsky, ed., Memoria Romana: Memory in Rome and Rome in Memory (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014).

Introduc tion


Karl Galinsky and Kenneth Lapatin, ed., Cultural Memories in the Roman Empire (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2016). Jane Gardner, Being a Roman Citizen (London: Routledge, 1993). Alain Gowing, Empire and Memory: The Representation of Roman Republic in Imperial Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). Erich Gruen, Culture and National Identity in Republican Rome (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995). Johannes Hahn, ‘Rituals of killing: public punishment, munera and the dissemination of Roman values and ideology in the Imperium Romanum, in Imperial Identities in the Roman World, ed. by Wouter Vanacker and Arjan Zuiderhoek (London: Routledge, 2017), pp. 16-35. Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992). Mary Harlow, ‘Clothes maketh the man: power dressing and elite masculinity in the later Roman world’, in Gender in the Early Medieval World. East and West, 300-900, ed. by Leslie Brubaker and Julia Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 44-69. Richard Hingley, ‘Cultural diversity and unity: Empire and Rome’, in Material culture and social identities in the ancient world, ed. by Shelley Hales and Tamar Hodos (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 54-75. Kenneth Holum, Theodosian Empresses. Women and Imperial Dominion in Late Antiquity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982). Janet Huskinson, ‘Women and learning: gender and identity in scenes of intellectual life on late Roman sarcophagi’, in Constructing Identities in Late Antiquity, ed. by Richard Miles (London: Routledge, 1999), pp. 189-213. Janet Huskinson, ‘Looking for Identity and Power’, in Experiencing Rome. Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire, ed. by Janet Huskinson (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 3-27. Marja-Leena Hänninen, ‘Juno Regina and Roman Matrons’, in Female Networks and Public Sphere in Roman Society, ed. by Päivi Setälä and Liisa Savunen (Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 1999), pp. 39-52. Benjamin Isaac, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004). Mathew Kuefler, The Manly Eunuch. Masculinity, Gender Ambiguity and Christian Ideology in Late Antiquity (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995). Lena Larsson Lovén, ‘The Importance of Being Commemorated: Memory, Gender, and Social Class in Roman Funerary Monuments’, in In Memoriam: Commemoration, Communal Memory and Gender Values in the Ancient Graeco-Roman World, ed. by Helène Whittaker (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011), pp. 126-143.


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Ray Laurence and Joanne Berry, ed., Cultural Identity in the Roman Empire (London: Routledge, 1998). Mark Masterson, Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz and James Robson, ed., Sex in Antiquity: Exploring Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World (New York: Routledge, 2015). Richard Miles, ed., Constructing Identities in Late Antiquity (London: Routledge, 1999). Richard Miles, ‘Communicating culture, identity and power’, in Experiencing Rome. Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire, ed. by Janet Huskinson (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 29-62. Dominic Montserrat, ‘Reading gender in the Roman world’, in Experiencing Rome. Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire, ed. by Janet Huskinson (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 153-181. Helen Morales, ‘Gender and identity in Musaeus’ Hero and Leander’, in Constructing Identities in Late Antiquity, ed. by Richard Miles (London: Routledge, 1999), pp. 41-69. Katariina Mustakallio, ‘The Life Cycle: from Birth to Old Age’, in A Cultural History of Women in Antiquity, ed. by Janet Tullock, (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 15-32. Sarah Nelson, Women in Antiquity: Theoretical Approaches to Gender and Archaeology (Rowman Altamira: Lanham, 2007). Thomas Pekáry, Das römische Kaiserbildnis in Staat, Kult und Gesellschaft: Dar­ gestellt Anhand der Schriftquellen (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1985). Kurt Raaflaub and Loren Samons, ‘Opposition to Augustus’, in Between Republic and Empire. Interpretations of Augustus and his Principate, ed. by Kurt Raaflaub and Mark Toher (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), pp. 417-454. Jussi Rantala, The Ludi Saeculares of Septimius Severus: The Ideologies of a New Roman Empire (London: Routledge, 2017). Jussi Rantala, ‘Ruling in the Purple… and wearing Make-up. Gendered Adventures of Emperor Elagabalus as seen by Cassius Dio and Herodian’, in Exploring Gender Diversity in the Ancient World, ed. by Jennifer Dyer and Allison Surtees (Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, forthcoming). Louise Revell, Ways of Being Roman: Discourses of Identity in the Roman West (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2015). Ian Rutherford, ‘Islands of the Extremity: Space, Language and Power in the Pilgrimage Traditions of Philae’, in Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt, ed. by David Frankfurter (Leiden: Brill, 1998), pp. 227-256. Walter Scheidel, ‘The Most Silent Women of Greece and Rome: Rural Labour and Women’s Life in the Ancient World’, Greece and Rome, 42:2 (1995), 202-217. Harry Sidebottom, ‘Severan historiography: evidence, patterns, and arguments’, in Severan Culture, ed. by Simon Swain, Stephen Harrison and Jas Elsner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 52-82.

Introduc tion


Anthony Smith, National Identity (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991). Jorgen Sorensen, ‘A Theory of Ritual’, in Religion and Society. Rituals, Resources and Identity in the Ancient Graeco-Roman World, ed. by Anders Rasmussen and Susanne Rasmussen (Rome: Edizioni Quasar, 2008), pp. 13-21. Diana Spencer, The Roman Alexander. Reading a Cultural Myth (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2002). Peter Stewart, ‘The destruction of statues in late antiquity’, in Constructing Identities in Late Antiquity, ed. by Richard Miles (London: Routledge, 1999), pp. 159-189. Yan Thomas, ‘The Division of the Sexes in Roman Law’. History of Women in the West, vol. 1: From Ancient Goddesses to Christian Saints, ed. by Pauline Pantel (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1994), pp. 83-137. Yan Thomas, ‘Fathers as Citizens of Rome, Rome as a City of Fathers (Second Century bc-Second Century ad)’, in A History of the Family, Volume I: Distant Worlds, Ancient Worlds, ed. by Andre Burguière, Christiane Klapisch‐Zuber, Martine Segalen, and Françoise Zonabendand (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1996), pp. 228-269. Wouter Vanacker and Arjan Zuiderhoek, ed., Imperial Identities in the Roman World (London: Routledge, 2017). Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Rome’s Cultural Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). Jane Webster, ‘Creolizing the Roman Provinces’, American Journal of Archaeology, 105 (2001), 209-225. Tim Whitmarsh, ‘Prose literature and the Severan dynasty’, in Severan Culture, ed. by Simon Swain, Stephen Harrison and Jas Elsner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 29-51. Helène Whittaker, ed., In Memoriam: Commemoration, Communal Memory and Gender Values in the Ancient Graeco-Roman World (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011). Craig Williams, Roman Homosexuality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

About the Author Dr Jussi Rantala is a Researcher at the University of Tampere.


Public Agency of Women in the Later Roman World* Ville Vuolanto

Abstract The Roman law hindered women to have authority over any free persons. However, the Roman gender system was not monolithic in the context of the multi-ethnic Empire. So far little attention has been paid to the down-to-earth authority of women in families and in local communities, at the fringes of the Roman legal influence. The chapter presents a theoretical model for women’s ’public’ and ’private’ agency in order to scrutinize the limits of women’s actions and authority during the first four centuries ce, and to ponder the factors contributing to the visibility and commemoration of women. It comes out that our sources would necessarily underestimate women’s activities, not only in informal and intrafamilial contexts, but also in civic, commercial and communal life. Keywords: agency, authority, gender, Late Antiquity, memory, public space, Roman Empire, women

Introduction This chapter scrutinizes the limits of women’s agency and authority in the Roman world during the first four centuries ce. I will contextualize the public activities of women of the local elites with the agency of women of less prominent status, who were influential in their own social contexts, local communities, and neighbourhoods, even if they were never honoured * I thank Outi Lehtipuu for discussions and ideas concerning the episcopae; and, naturally, Katariina Mustakallio for inspiration and continuous support – indeed in case of the present article too.

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch01

42 Ville Vuol anto

or commemorated by their home patriae. Indeed, while recent studies, especially by Emily Hemelrijk, have shown that women of the local elites had an important role as benefactresses and patronae in local urban contexts,1 little attention has been paid to the down-to-earth authority that women of more modest backgrounds had. I will also argue how the visibility of women’s public participation (to modern scholars) depends on and is limited by the Roman ideas of the proper spheres of feminine agency.2 I am interested in the women’s agency especially at the fringes of the Roman legal influence and on the borderline of the public and private spheres. In the context of the Roman society, the concepts of ‘public’ and ‘private’ are far from clear-cut: sometimes they can even denote two ways of looking at the same phenomena. Nevertheless, concepts such as public and private can be useful in conceptualizing past realities. As fluid concepts without a sharp division, they will be used in this chapter to refer to social contexts and interaction rather than to places or spaces. These terms are not, therefore, to be thought of as denoting something ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ of the household walls as such, although they could be seen to refer to activities proper to domus and forum, respectively.3 Forum, as the centre of the Roman civic life with strong public interest, was a place for politics, jurisdiction, business, and civic religion; domus, in turn, with activities involving little or no intervention of the public authorities, was for relationships with family and friends, and oikonomia, matters pertaining to the running of the household. 4 Ultimately, the nature of the activity defined its place in the forum-domus continuum – and therefore, activities we would define as public could also take place in the sphere of the domus, and vice versa. For the following discussion, I propose a new model for the Roman ideals of ‘public’ and ‘private’, inspired by the work of Kate Cooper. According to her,5 instead of dividing the Roman sphere of agency strictly 1 See especially Hemelrijk, 2015, with e.g. Ceneri, 2013; Cooley, 2013. 2 By agency, I understand ‘a capacity to act purposively and make a difference’, which ‘takes place on social networks and in structures of power’. It needs to be pointed out, that individual agency does not necessarily mean autonomous action (e.g. it would be quite impossible and fruitless to try to measure the level of any action’s autonomy vs structural constraints): see Vuolanto, 2017, pp. 16-18 with further literature. Thus, for example, any women’s agency is not diminished as such by the fact that they might have decided to act in order to continue and strengthen their family tradition (cf. Meyers, 2012, p. 146). 3 See Cooper, 2007, pp. 21-24 with Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 9-11. 4 Economic or religious activities, in turn, are not restricted to any specific sphere; they take different forms in different contexts. 5 Cooper, 2007, p. 25.


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into public and private spheres, it would be more useful to think in terms of the spheres of public interest and of private interest. Furthermore, the area of private interest would be divided into three: the field of commerce, strongly regulated by the public authority; the field of local communal affairs (with domestic affairs open to the public), weakly regulated by the public authority; and the field of the ‘proper’ private sphere, hidden from the public eye and without any civic intervention. On this basis, I propose a slightly modified (and simplified) model for public and private agency, as shown in Table 1.1. Table 1.1 Spheres of ‘public’ and ‘private’ agency in the Roman World Extramural (forum)

Spheres of agency

Political/Civic (‘official’)

Commercial and Local Communal (‘semi-official’ ⇒ ’informal’)

Public sphere (regulated by public interest and authority) Private interests apply, public interests dominate

Intramural (domus) Intrafamilial (‘private’) Beyond the reach of public regulation

Private sphere (dominated by private interest and authority)

Note: Inspired by Figures 2 and 3 in Cooper, 2007, p. 25

Thus, the central question of this chapter can be reformulated: how would this model fit to the observed spheres of feminine authority in the context of the Roman world, and would it offer a fruitful vocabulary for understanding this? We shall ask, what forms, if any, could have been taken by women’s authority, as a socially approved (legitimate) capacity for exercising ascendancy or dominance over someone,6 and how this activity would have coincided with certain spheres of agency. Indeed, in the model presented, there emerges four areas of women’s agency: first, the agency in political/ civic sphere, where the public interests dominate; second and third, the commercial and local communal agency both in civic sphere and in the sphere of the household; and fourth, the intrafamilial sphere in practice outside of the public regulation. This last area, however, falls out of scope of the study at hand here.

6 Unlike mere ‘power’, which can be exerted by force, authority is at least to some degree accepted by the subordinates themselves – it is legitimate. Authority is also coupled with agency, of oneself or as the capacity to ordering others to act.

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These are large questions, and here it is possible to investigate them only in part. I will use here previous research on women’s roles, both in public and in private contexts, together with small sets of epigraphical sources from Italy and papyrological texts mostly from Roman Egypt, all of which mention women with supervisory and authoritative roles. In these cases, women are often acting on behalf of their protégés, whether children or adult, under particular designations like epitropoi, epakoloutheetriai, tutoriae, tutrices, and episkopae. The use of these terms has often been interpreted as having an official, even juridical, significance. I will question this interpretation and reflect on why these terms were used for women in some cases – even if, in general, they appear rarely in the sources. In order to achieve this goal, it is important to compare the nature of the two different sets of sources, commemorative epigraphy and documentary papyri, in which this vocabulary appears. In what follows, I will first present the Roman ideological background to feminine influence and authority in public sphere. I will then focus briefly on women’s agency in the political and civic, that is ‘official’, sphere, before proceeding to the grey area, in which the private and public interests more clearly intermingle, with semi-official and informal roles for women’s agency. Here, in activities related to private interests, but taking place at least in part in public, the limits of women’s agency were negotiated daily. Unfortunately, there is not much information on this activity, and even less contemporary reflection. The last section before my conclusions deals with memory: what kind of factors would have contributed to certain patterns of the visibility and commemoration of influential women?

Ideological background: potestas and auctoritas of Roman women According to Roman law, a woman could never have anybody – whether adult, child, man, or woman – under her power: she has no potestas. The authority of the woman begins and ends with herself.7 According to Yan Thomas and Jane Gardner, the lack of auctoritas and potestas lies behind the exclusion of women from many public and private obligations, thus causing a network of feminine disadvantages.8 However, it seems that in the period of 7 Dig. (Ulpian): ‘Mulier autem familiae suae et caput et finis est’, with Gardner, 1986, pp. 5-11; Thomas, 1994, pp. 95-98, 127-129. 8 Thomas, 1994, pp. 129-131, 136-137; Gardner, 1993, pp. 97-101, 107-109.

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the Roman Empire, the more general idea of womanly weakness, infirmitas, or fragilitas, had supplanted the earlier, more legalistic, argumentation behind the womanly incapacities. As a literary topos, womanly weakness was known and used throughout Roman Antiquity from Cicero onwards, and it appeared in juridical, historical, papyrological, and Christian theological texts. A woman was weak and unsteady, and therefore easily fell into bad ways because of her own defects or, even more likely, by being led astray by other people’s cunning. Thus, infirmitas began to be used as a key concept for understanding the restrictions imposed on women, encapsulating the view of women’s vulnerability, the topos of woman as a ruin of the property, and the idea that women were excluded from the ‘masculine’ duties by nature – and, essentially, as a term describing feminine helplessness and need of protection.9 Indeed, in principle women were to be always under guardianship (tutela mulieris) themselves. This principle was gradually eroded, and it is likely that only a small minority of women were actually under guardianship during the Early Roman Empire; by the beginning of the third century tutela mulieris clearly had no longer any real significance.10 Nevertheless, many of the practical consequences of the womanly incapacities remained throughout the Roman Imperial legal tradition. Women were not allowed to intervene in other people’s affairs, and thus were forbidden to represent others in courts or to stand surety. Their possibilities of bringing criminal charges were also gravely limited, and they could not, for example, act as informers, since this would be improper and immodest for a woman. It was also held natural that women were excluded from any civic offices, which were often connected with the curial and other public duties (munera/ leitourgiai).11 Even appearance in public would not be self-evident: women should be modest, stay at home, and concentrate on domestic work – in particular, wool carding and weaving were seen as symbols of feminine virtue (especially pudicitia). These ideas persisted also in Late Antiquity. 9 Cic. Mur. 27 and e.g. P.Oxy. I 26 (55 ce), Plin. Ep. 2.4.1, Val. Max. 9.1.3, Tac. Ann. 3.33-3.34, Tit. Ulp. 11.1, C.Th. 9.24.1 (320 ce), Iust. Nov. 97.3 (530 ce); See also P.Oxy. XXXIV 2713 l. 8-9 (297 ce, a petition by a woman). See Dixon, 1984; Saradi-Mendelovici, 1990, pp. 72-73; Marshall, 1989, pp. 52-53. Arjava, 1996, pp. 231-233 for Late Antiquity. Regarding ‘feminine helplessness’ and ‘need for protection’, cf. the article of Jaakkojuhani Peltonen in this volume, dealing with manly values, often connected with military deeds. 10 See, e.g., Dig. 26.4.1pr (Hermogenian) and Gai. Inst. 1.190, with Halbwachs, 2016, pp. 448-449 and Arjava, 1996, pp. 112-113 on the historical development. 11 Dig. (Papinian); CJ 2.12(13).18 (294 ce); Dig. (Paul); Dig. (Ulpian); Dig. 49.14.18 (Marcian); Dig. (Hermogenian) with Halbwachs, 2016, pp. 445-450; Arjava, 1996, pp. 233-237; Marshall, 1989. Evans Grubbs, 2002, pp. 63-64, 71-80 offers documentation of the restrictions on women’s public duties.

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As Antti Arjava sums it up, ‘the general sentiment was that women should just mind their own business’.12 In theory, this background left very little space for action for women in the private sphere, and even less in public life. A woman could not act in public roles as a magistrate (with authority over other persons) or even, for example, as a legal guardian for her own minor children, since this would require her to appear for them in courts in public, and to represent them in private contracts and agreements.13 Similarly, women were in principle excluded from sacrificing animals, and this meant that they were excluded from a variety of Roman civic activities, such as membership in voluntary associations, collegia.14 However, the ideological aristocratic frame of reference should not lead us astray: in practice, the Roman gender system was far from being monolithic. Even the legal system was not completely consistent in keeping women always under guardianship or denying them positions of authority. In some contexts, women’s basic ability to exercise authority as such was not questioned: for example, since slaves were seen as being subject to the law of ‘things’ (res), not of persons, women could have power over them. Moreover, since the ideological background for the female incapacities was founded on such a ‘contingent’ and vague capacity as womanly weakness, rather than on the essentiality of femininity, this would have given more leeway for action for women. This shows strikingly in the following discussion of the limits of female agency.

Authority of women in the ‘official’, public sphere A nearly unique document, a tabula patronatus from the year 242 ce, shows a small central Italian town, Peltuinum Vestinum, adopting a woman of senatorial rank, Nummia Varia, as its official patroness. This was by no means only honorific, nor only an acknowledgement of the benefactions she had given to the community. It was expected that Nummia Varia would take the whole community and its individual members under her protection; she would ‘intervene with the authority (auctoritas) belonging to her rank 12 Arjava, 1996, p. 238. For example, the jurist Ulpian (Dig. gives the need for pudicitia as the reason why women should be excluded from most of the public duties. See further: Halbwachs, 2016, p. 446; Arjava, 1996, p. 238 (quote), pp. 243-246, 252-253. On wool-working, see Larsson Lovén, 1998. 13 Public offices: See e.g. Dig. 50.17.2 (Ulpian); for the guardianship of children (tutela minorum) and women, see Vuolanto, 2002. 14 Hemelrijk 2015, 182; Beard, North and Price 1998, 297.

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and protect’ and keep the community safe. Even if here the tasks expected from the patroness are more clearly stated than in other surviving evidence considering women patronesses, this is not the only case when a woman acted in such a role. There are altogether nearly twenty other cases of city patronesses from the Roman Empire, most of them from Italy and North Africa. As Emily Hemelrijk points out, the auctoritas of these high-class women was not based on their public career – since women were in principle excluded from political office. Instead, it derived from their rank, wealth, reputation, and wide social networks.15 While the city patronage presents itself as a prominent case of the local women’s publicly acknowledged roles of authority, this was not the only way in which women could rise to prominence locally. In particular, the various priesthoods were a way for women to appear in public and acquire prestige – the Imperial cult was the most important method for this outside Rome – and we even know of a few female Augustales from Roman Italy. In the capital, the six Vestals were the most prominent women in public. These priesthoods were also often connected with extensive benefactions to the community.16 In the Roman world, therefore, women’s authority could indeed have been acknowledged publicly and officially – especially outside of the city of Rome and its aristocratic traditions and values. In the Greek-speaking East, women could have assumed public roles even more openly, often in response to their benefactions to the community, or thanks to their family connections and wealth. Indeed, by the second century ce, to quote Riet van Bremen, women were to some extent expected ‘to perform a (fairly narrow) range of what […] had not been considered proper “jobs” for them’. Women would occasionally have been found in a range of civic offices and liturgies, both individually and jointly with their husbands.17 To give an example: Aurelia Leite, from ‘the most magnificent city of Paros, her patria’, served as a gymnasiarch and repaired the gymnasium with her funds, and was in return honoured by the city with a marble statue.18

15 CIL IX 3429 (= ILS 6110), with Hemelrijk 2004, 222-225, 234-235. 16 Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 49-82, 201-203. 17 See the conclusions of van Bremen, 1996, pp. 297-302, the quotation p. 299. For a list of women with civic titles from the Hellenistic and Roman worlds, see his appendices (Van Bremen, 1996, pp. 303-357). 18 IG XII 5.292 (c. 300 ce), with Evans Grubbs, 2002, pp. 76-78. We should note that her husband too served as a gymnasiarch. See also the cases referred to in Meyers, 2012, p. 145, pp. 156-157.

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However, as van Bremen points out, there is no evidence of any movement of emancipation to acquire civic power for women as such.19 Women were integrated into the existing system, by virtue of their wealth, family tradition, connections, and ambitions – and unfortunate demographic circumstances, which sometime would leave women as sole heirs to considerable social and financial capital. It was, after all, all-male panels of the councils that decided who were to take the offices or perform the civic duties.

Women’s agency in commercial and local communal sphere The discrepancy between the ideologically separate spheres of life and the actual significance of women’s agency becomes more evident when we shift the focus to the everyday life of the local communities and households. Here, it should be remembered that before 212 ce, the Roman citizenship, and therefore the Roman law, did not affect all the free inhabitants of the Empire. The context of the multi-ethnic Empire led in many cases to a situation in which the local laws, habits and practices could coexist with the Imperial rule – quite regardless of the actual legislation, or the traditional Roman mos maiorum. Indeed, women could assume varied positions in daily life. It is not necessary here to go through the variety of occupations in which women were active, from saleswomen to workshop owners and doctors; they took part in building industry, were money-lenders, participated in long-distance trade, and acted as institutores (intermediaries) in all kinds of business. For example, women participated in the brick industry as landowners, brick producers, and business managers, in a manner similar to men.20 Quite naturally, women had visible roles in these occupations, and de facto could not evade getting involved in other people’s business. Sometimes these roles had also quite official overtones, as when a certain woman, Moschis, acted as a tax-farmer for the Imperial treasury – it needs to be pointed out that this occupation provoked no comments from the Imperial jurists as such.21 Moreover, many women assumed roles of benefactors for their local communities on a grand scale, thus assuming prominent, even if informal, 19 Van Bremen, 1996, pp. 301-302. 20 For a very good overview of the whole issue, see Becker, 2016. For women as entrepreneurs in brick production and trade, see Setälä, 2002 – some of these women were continuing the family business, but for many others no such indication can be found. See also Halbwachs, 2016, pp. 450-453 on women as legal actors in professional life. 21 Dig. 49.14.47 pr. with Gardner, 1986, p. 236.

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public roles, at least from the second century ce onwards. A prominent example of this kind of agency is the case of Terentia, daughter of Aulus, in Ostia, who donated lavishly a crypt and a calchidicum by the degree of the Roman senate and the local council to honour the members of the Imperial family.22 There were also a group of women honoured as ‘mothers’ or ‘parents’ of their communities, both in the Eastern and the Western parts of the Empire, who became integrated into the public life of cities by providing them with benefactions and serving as priestesses. Women could also act as patronesses for the Roman collegia (officially acknowledged associations, guilds, and clubs). These patronesses were, in turn, expected to favour their client association by benefactions and by intervening for the collegia through their influence and networks – and by lending their prestige to the association in question.23 As Emily Hemelrijk writes, there was ‘a tension between sex and status as criteria for social hierarchy’ so that ‘wealth or a high social status could overrule the drawbacks and restrictions attaching to the female sex’.24 These women, like others with functions in the collegia, show that gender did not necessarily prevent them from taking part in the life of the community, especially in cases when the wealth and status of the women in question were sufficiently higher than the men who took part as private members of these associations. Women could also be independent members of the associations, and serve in these as officials, albeit this seems to have been commonplace only in cases of domestic funerary associations. There are female members and officials recorded in less than thirty cases on collegia outside of the funerary associations – and this means that it happened now and then, even if women would constitute only a tiny minority of the overall membership of the collegia.25 The above-mentioned activities present women in forum, often in semiofficial contexts; when directing our gaze to domus, the importance of womanly action is even more evident, even in contexts regulated by public interest and authority. Women were able to act legally in intrafamilial contexts in certain limits, on behalf of themselves or their family members, and could bring criminal charges in cases where she or a close relative was being wronged. Moreover, women were allowed to be defendants in cases pertaining to themselves. In these contexts, women were often represented 22 AE 1986, 115 and AE 2005, 303 with Cooley, 2013, pp. 36-38. See further especially Cooley, ibid. pp. 42-43; Meyer, 2012 and Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 178-180. 23 Ceneri, 2013; Hemelrijk, 2010; Van Bremen, 1996, pp. 167-168. 24 Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 224. 25 Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 183-188, 197-205. There were also all-female collegia, through which the women also took part in the communal life, see Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 205-208.

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or helped by a male guardian or a jurist.26 It is also noteworthy that about one-third of the rescripts, Imperial responses to legal petitions, were directed to women in the 280s and 290s, the period from which they have been best preserved.27 Women certainly were active also in legal matters – and this activity was not played down. Women not only used the Roman legal system on their own behalf. It was a widespread custom that mothers administered quite freely the property of their children, since they were seen as the natural choices to guard their best interests. Even in cases where official guardians were in fact appointed, mothers often acted as supervisors for their children and their property, and they could strongly intervene in the administration.28 This was also in the children’s interest: their properties (and they themselves) were not left to the discretion of only one grown-up.29 This female agency indeed crossed the line between intrafamilial and communal authority: property matters involving minors not only attracted official and juridical attention, but they were important for a wide circle of supervisors, guardians, and relatives. In Egypt, we encounter different kinds of designations and concepts used for women acting on behalf of under age children. This emerges most clearly in Roman Egypt, where some women even acted as guardians, epistropoi (a standard word for a legal guardian in Greek), until the 180s ce. Starting in the second century ce, but before 212, there were women acting for children as frontistria, and from the early second to late third century ce we find epakoloutheetria, women who took care of the matters of their underage children alongside official male guardians.30 Kēdestria, perhaps the most obscure of the terms used of women with supervisory roles, appears once for a mother and once for an aunt acting in behalf of minor children in cases from the late third century.31 These concepts seem to have displaced the earlier usage of the word epitropos for both male and female guardians, but they are not mentioned in any extant piece of legislation, and it would be hard to find evidence that there were laws decreeing their use, as some 26 Evans Grubbs, 2002, pp. 65-71. 27 Arjava, 1996, p. 246. 28 Vuolanto, 2002, pp. 238-243. At least in the lower social groups, there were seldom any formally-appointed legal guardians, but nearest relatives, whether males or females, took care of the everyday management of the children and their property – as long as there appeared no need for any public action on behalf of the wards (like a case in court). 29 This could also have been the idea behind the choosing of several guardians for a child, see Saller, 1997, p. 195. 30 Gagliardi, 2012; Vuolanto, 2002, pp. 218-238. 31 P.Thead. 18 (= P.Sakaon 37, 284 ce, a mother); P.Oxy. VI 888 (late third or early fourth century ce, kēdemonia of an aunt).

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scholars have proposed. Similarly, there is no direct indication that the spread of Roman legislation would have prompted their use as such – the change in terminology already in the second century seems to be due to the gradual development inside Egypt: they were used in spite of the Roman legislation, not because of it.32 Even more generally, in the papyrus documents there appear women who had administered the business of underage children without official guardians: women, most often mothers, grandmothers, or aunts, apprenticed children33, married them off,34 applied for children to be registered in epikrisis-lists,35 or in tax-lists,36 rented out children’s land or house,37 or their work,38 and gave them for adoption.39 Moreover, mothers acted for their children in law courts, too, sometimes even against the official guardians – here again, we can see a mixture of strictly intrafamilial and more open, community-related agency. 40 Do these papyri depict only the situation within a specific local cultural context? Outside Egypt, for example, it is indeed hard to find any terminology denoting women supervisors. However, in two commemorative inscriptions from Rome we find the word tutoria. 41 In the first of these, two men make a dedication to a woman, Vettia Attica – one calls her his

32 See also Gagliardi, 2012, especially p. 446; cf. for example Markus, 1989, pp. 71-75 and p. 170. For the Roman legislative practices in Egypt – with flexible interplay between the local practices and traditions and the Roman legal system, but with the gradual ‘Romanization’ and integration of Egypt into the Roman legislative principles and praxis – see Jördens, 2012, pp. 61-64 and Arjava, 2014, pp. 175-182 (particularly for the family legislation). 33 For example, P.Mil. II 60 (= SB V 7612, second or third century ce); P.Oxy. Hels. 29 (54 ce), with Krause, 1995, pp. 7-8, 77 and 184-188. 34 Krause, 1995, pp. 149-156. 35 Krause, 1995, p. 7 note 23 (enumerating ten cases brought by mothers; add SB 7333 (186/7 ce) and P.Oxy. LXV 4489 (297 ce). See also P.Oxy. LIV 3754 (320 ce) with a grandmother. 36 E.g. P.Brux. 1.4 (= P.LugdBat 5.4) 174 ce; and P.Brux. 1.15 (170s ce). 37 E.g. P.Oxy. LXI 2973 (103 ce); SB XVI, 12288 col. 1 lin. 111-115 (c. 175 ce); P.Strasb. 150 (= SB V 8940, third century ce). 38 E.g. P.Mich. II 121 r. II, viii (42 ce) and P.Mil. II 60 (= SB V 7612, second or third century ce). 39 E.g. P.Oxy. IX 1206 = FIRA III 16 (335 ce); P.Lips. 28 (= MChr. 363, 381 ce, grandmother); P.Oxy. XVI 1895 (554 ce). 40 CJ 9.1.5 (222 ce); CJ 2.12.18 (294 ce). See also P.Ryl. 2.114 (P.Sakaon 36) c. 280 ce, and P.Thead. 15 (= P.Sakaon 31, 280/1 ce); P.Yad. 12-15 (124/125 ce with Cotton 1993, 102-106). For other complaints and disagreements on management, see e.g. Cic. Verr. 2.1.90-93; CJ 2.18.1 (196 ce); P.Vindob. Tandem 3 (after 212 ce); CJ 5.43.1 and 3-4 (212, 229, 229 ce); Bas. epist. 107-109 with Krause, 1995, pp. 108-112. 41 There was also a Latin name Tutorius: the woman’s name Tutoria appears in ten inscriptions, and once in the form Tutora (AE 1988, 375).

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wife, the other his tutoria. 42 In the other case, a male dedicator calls Ulpia Athenais his tutoria. 43 The Oxford Latin Dictionary explains tutoria as ‘A woman appointed by a legal guardian or connected with him in some way’. The word is etymologically linked with the standard Latin word for a guardian, tutor, used in legal contexts to denote the guardians of minor children, of women, and of persons considered insane, but it could also be used more loosely as in referring to tutelary deities. In these texts, there is nothing which would link these women with legal guardianship or tutores. In fact, the definition – or guess – in the old Forcellini lexicon would suit this situation well: ‘Videtur esse eadem ac tutrix’; and this is the interpretation adopted also by Tiziana Chiusi.44 Tutrix, in turn, is simply the feminine form of the word tutor, but it appears not too frequently in the ancient sources: the only occurrence in literature comes from the end of the fifth century ce, when Fulgentius uses the word tutrices to refer to Muses serving as his guardian spirits. 45 Moreover, there is an inscription from Lucania, 46 dedicated to Helvia Commoda, who is described as the ’best tutrix’ by the commemorator, her husband Helvius Sabinianus. Two points here deserve special attention: the commemorators here were adults at the time of the death of these female patrons, and there is no indication of any kinship relation. Heikki Solin proposes that instead of tutrici, we should here understand ’iutrici’, precisely because women could not serve as guardians. 47 However, we may note that it is only in sixth-century legislation that the word tutrix denotes an official female guardian of a child who is under age48 – with a result that the word was adopted by Medieval Latin users and finally even by legal English in this sense. We may need to accept that in the context of a rustic epigraphical text, the word does not necessarily refer to a female guardian with a specifically juridical designation. 49 Instead, it seems that 42 CIL VI 36526: D.M. / Vettiae Atticae / M. Ulpius Gratus / tutoriae suae / b. m. fec. et / L. Minicius Atticus coniu. 43 CIL VI 9710: D. M. Ulpiae / Athenaidi / T. Flavius / Genethlius / nummularius / tutoriae / bene / merenti / fecit. 44 Chiusi 1994, 195-196; Oxford Latin Dictionary 1996, s.v. tutorius; Forcellini et al., Totius Latinitatis Lexicon, 1858-1887, sv. tutorius. 45 Fulg. Myth. praef. 14.21. 46 Inscr. Ital. III 1.157 (= CIL X 354): D(i) havet(e) M(anes) / Hel(viae) Commo/d(a)e coniug(i) kar(issimae) tutri/ci optim(a)e / Hel(vius) Sabini/anus b(ene) m(erenti) f(ecit). 47 See Solin, 1981. 48 CJ 49 This ‘wife tutrix’ could also refer to a woman in charge of the upbringing of the children from her husband’s previous marriage(s). However, this is not probable, since in that case one would naturally expect the word noverca (stepmother), or simply mater.

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both tutrix and tutoria designate a woman as a protector of an orphan, and maybe (or alternatively) later in life as a patroness. There is also an example from another context. In second-century Petra, there appears an influential woman, Iulia Crispina, administering the property of underage children as an episkopa. She intervenes in the guardianship alongside with other (male) guardians of the children; she seems therefore to have a similar position vis-à-vis the children as the epakooutheetria or frontistia in Roman Egypt. Her title should be translated in this context as a ‘shepherd’ or caretaker.50 We would today most often translate episcopa, the feminine of episcopus, as ‘a bishop’ – an interpretation clearly out of place in this context. This is an example of the use of a term to denote woman’s authoritative position in a local context; here, as in the Egyptian terminology referred to above, and in the case of the tutoria -inscriptions, it would be misleading to read the situation through the lens of the contemporary (and even less, the later) technical or even juridical concepts. For examples, there has been preserved a late antique inscription from Terni, Italy, which reads ‘Hu[nc titulum nostrum (?)] / si vis cog[n]o[sce via]/tor hic requie[scit] / venerabilis fem[ina] / episcopa Q … depos(ita) in pace V […] Olybrio […]’. This has caused much discussion among the scholars – do we have here a female bishop?51 However, if read against the background of the discussion above, the word episcopa may rather be used here as a honorific for a patroness of a local community. Indeed, it would be worthwhile to study anew the texts which refer to Christian women as apostles, presbyters, or bishops against this background.52 If we do not limit ourselves to terms and concepts used of women, it is possible to find also in the Roman elite literature women who act for other people, especially children, and administer their business. The strong role that widows played in the lives of their children was widely acknowledged among the elites of the Roman Empire. The mother was seen to be the best possible person to support, bring up, and educate her fatherless children; the pietas of the mother was the best protection for the child.53 But mothers 50 P.Yad. 20 and 25 (‘Ἰουλιία Κρισπεῖνα ἐπίσ̣ κο̣ πος ̣’) with Cotton, 1993, pp. 96-97 and Gagliardi, 2012, pp. 427-428. 51 CIL XI, 4339 (fourth or fifth century). For the edition used here, with discussion and further literature, see Eisen, 2000, pp. 199-200. A question mark added by Ville Vuolanto. 52 Such as the apostle Junia in Rom. 16:7; deacon and προστάτις Phoebe in Romans 16:12 – or indeed the mosaic inscription of Episcopa Theodora, with a mosaic picture and commemorative plaque in Santa Prassede, Rome (ninth century ce). Further on this discussion, see now Schaefer, 2013. 53 CJ 5.49.1 (224 ce, advice given to a guardian of a child); Arjava, 1996, p. 89; Saller, 1997, pp. 174-175; Dixon, 1984, p. 66; Pietas of the mother, see e.g. CJ 5.3.6 (224 ce) and Dig. (Ulpian).

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also often acted as supervisors for their children and their property in a more comprehensive manner. Already the famous Bacchanalia episode allegedly had its origin in this kind of arrangement: Livy depicts a mother who had been able to administer the property of her son so freely that in the end the ward was totally robbed of all his wealth (spoliatus).54 This, of course, is an ultimate negative example, but Seneca too attributes an independent role both to his mother, Helvia, and to Marcia in bringing up their children and in managing their properties.55 Like Cornelia, mater Gracchorum, in the Early Imperial imagination,56 so too the mothers of the late antique intellectuals, like Libanius, John Chrysostom and Gregory of Nyssa, took care of the intellectual and material needs of their children. The literary theme of widowed mothers administering their children’s business was, therefore, repeated throughout the Roman Empire.57 In biographical narratives, no official guardians are singled out: a significant part of a widow’s merit was that she was able to guide the children to adulthood without male help.58 It would be misleading to refer to the position of these women as ‘unoff icial guardianship’, as if guardianship in these occasions would have been an issue of jurisdiction to start with – and of somewhat lesser importance than the ‘official’ guardianship. To concentrate on legal side of the phenomenon, which indisputably excluded women in most cases from appearing in court on behalf of their children, would not do justice to women’s roles in the larger context. Instead, it would be more fruitful to acknowledge the importance of women acting as supervisors for the management of children’s property and wellbeing, and thus to acknowledge their significance both for the Roman economy more generally and, more particularly, for the family dynamics. From a modern perspective, women’s appearance in this wide variety of roles involving often semi-official activity both inside the household and outside of its limits may seem surprising, even inconsistent, given the patriarchal structures and ideological foundation of the Greco-Roman societies. On the level of everyday life some women were integrated 54 Liv. 39.9; the whole story: Liv. 39.21-39.31. The historical event took place in 186 ce, but Livy’s account of it is, naturally, from the Augustan period. 55 Sen. Helv. 14.3; Sen. Marc. 24.1. 56 Plut. Cor. 1.2; 4.4; Plut. Ti. Gracch. 1.4-5. For other such women, see Tac. Dial. 28.6; Liv. 1.3.1-2; Plin. Ep. 3.3; Tac. Ann. 16.34; Tac. Agr. 4. 57 See Lib. Or. 1.4; 1.56; Joh. Chrys. De sacerd. 1.5; Greg. Nyss. Vita Macr. 11 with, e.g., Greg. Naz. Ep. 207, Hier. Ep.125.6; Sid. Apoll. Epist. 4.25.7-8. 58 Vuolanto, 2016, pp. 52-54.

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informally and flexibly into the system of local authority and power networks. Women’s ideological lack of authority in the Roman world was by no means clear-cut, not even in public contexts, and there emerges a clear discrepancy between the legal and ideological fiction, and the lived reality.59 Even the idea that women should not appear in public was more a lost ideal than a directing model for real women’s behaviour: there was a ‘de facto acceptance of the public prominence of women in the Roman municipalities’.60 For the everyday interaction and the functioning of commercial life and the local communities, the authority of prominent women was a feature of everyday life. It was especially when the public values gave way to private interests that women could hold authority – sometimes even in the off icial contexts of civic life. As such, this should not be a surprise: women’s wealth and experience were needed in the society, since there was a constant need of patrons and benefactors, moneylenders, tradespeople, guardians, and supervisors. Women’s integration into these activities was a practical solution to a practical problem, and ultimately status and wealth proved to be more important than gender. In some cases, this feminine agency was coupled with an innovative use of technical terms related to leadership and authority roles, but these concepts should not be read legalistically and anachronistically. On the other hand, these cases cannot prove that women were involved in these activities in ways similar to those of socially well-established men. But these exceptions have the power to redirect our focus to the cultural and social structures which would make some, although not many, women visible to us in such roles. An exception never proves the rule, although it may bring to light a trend. In all, it seems that it was not so important, in ideological terms, what women actually took care of and in which ways they were active. What mattered more was the manner and context in which they acted. Provided that the women’s agency was not a threat to the established social order and hierarchy, it was of minor importance if women took wider responsibilities, even official tasks, or intervened in other people’s business. This was especially the case when a woman’s social status was far above that of the other (male) actors involved.

59 See also Hemelrijk, 2004, p. 235. 60 Quote: Hemelrijk, 2004, p. 235. See also Arjava, 1996, p. 245 and Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 205.

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Commemoration, shared values, and identity We may ask why an array of specific concepts for women’s agency can be frequently found in papyri, but less so in epigraphy, and with virtually no occurrences in literature – even when women’s agency as such is mentioned. First of all, papyri with contracts and transactions are documents of activities that actually took place: in this kind of context, it was necessary to document the kind of roles women played, regardless of the ideological or normative frame of reference. On the other hand, the literature of the Roman elites was produced by educated males who were well aware of the juridical terminology and its proper usage. Moreover, women’s agency was not of primary interest for these writers. In epigraphy, it was important to frame the public image, honour, and fame, not the technical roles the women in question had assumed. Even more significantly, with epigraphy we are dealing with the memory: how the composer of the inscription wanted the women in question to be remembered, and, even more specifically, how the women were to be remembered in relation to the composer of the inscription.61 Here the values, conventions, and expectations would have had a decisive effect on the text preserved for us. Moreover, there was a need for brevity; what information would be worthy of being recorded in a short text set in stone? Only sporadically would a woman’s specific relationship to the commemorator be expressed primarily in the terminology of power, authority, and supervision. Likewise, the women were more likely to be commemorated in their culturally expected roles and virtues as wives and mothers than for their occupations.62 For the close relatives, the expressions that declared their specific relation to the deceased would have been needed and expected. Thus, for example, being a ‘mother’ would be enough: there was no need to write about any technical guardianship she might also have held over her children. Against this background, the scarcity of sources is not only understandable but inevitable. Nor is it surprising that when some women actually were commemorated in their unconventional roles, this was done boldly in the way sanctioned by the cultural expectations set by similar kind of inscriptions for male agents. As Emily Hemelrijk points out, women’s offices and benefactions were proudly announced in (some) funerary inscriptions: it was important that the community too should remember their role in local 61 Motivations of dedicators of public monuments in local level for one female group, Imperial daughters, is treated by Sanna Joska in this volume. 62 See e.g. Becker, 2016, pp. 915-918.

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society. On the other hand, civic remembrance beyond the family was of interest to women themselves, just as it was to men. Their self-presentation and identity were constructed through perpetual commemoration and hoped-for continuity.63 The number of women who had authoritative roles in civic, commercial, and local communal life was very low in comparison to the men who appeared in these contexts and functions. However, thanks to honours perpetuated in statues and inscriptions, they were visible in the city space, and they left their mark on the collective memory – and this is why we too know about them.64 Personal commitment, status in local community, and influential networks made it possible for them to have functions both in official contexts and in more down-the-earth negotiations. Women could acquire social recognition, memory, and dignitas – and it is to be assumed that only a tiny fraction of this activity was recorded by public honours or with informal terminology in inscriptions or in papyrus documents.

Conclusions In this chapter, I have shed light on the limits of the possible agency of women in everyday life and experience. It can be claimed that the atypical cases employing curious and rare concepts to define activities of the women constitute ‘normal exceptions’, to borrow here a concept of the microhistorical approach. These concepts create cracks that allow us to see past the normative discourse, to have a glimpse of everyday life where certain ideological tensions, attitudes, and social needs may have led to a different outcome than expected by the modern scholars. We have seen that the binary categorization of the Roman spheres of life spheres into public and private realms (or to the spheres of forum and domus) is insufficient, and even misleading, when we analyse the authority and agency of women in the Roman Empire and Late Antiquity. Instead, more flexible categories of political and civic life (with officially recognized spheres of authority); local communal and commercial life (with spheres of authority acknowledged informally, or at least de facto); and the intrafamilial 63 Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 189-205, 222-223. Hemelrijk writes that ‘women were […] proudly announcing their offices on their graves’ (p. 189). This is slightly misleading, since in most cases it was not the deceased themselves who would have taken care of the actual wording on their memorials. 64 While we can find at least some traces of visible women in the city space, the situation is very different in countryside; see the article by Larsson Lovén in this volume.

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sphere (authority formed in private negotiation) fit better for the analysis of Roman social life (see Table 1.1). Only in singular and exceptional cases were women specifically referred to and remembered as wielding authority and acting in supervisory roles in official or semi-official contexts in local communities. But this does not mean that their role in everyday situations in this sphere of life would have been unimportant: women might have lacked legal authority, but not legitimate authority, to borrow from the terminology of Max Weber. This activity would not be easily visible to us, given the lack of both contemporary interest and such specific terms and concepts, which would have been meaningful in recording and in commemorating such an agency in the context of the dominant cultural framework that was inimical to women’s public activity. Indeed, the documentary papyrological sources give us much more multidimensional and active picture of the women’s influence, since they record, not how women’s actions were remembered, but what actually took place. There is, naturally, a possibility that Egypt was a special case in the Roman Empire, but this is, as such, a problematic hypothesis.65 Unfortunately, we have no point of comparison for the papyrus documents for the most parts of the Roman world. Nevertheless, the evidence from other kinds of sources here referred to, even when these are anecdotal in nature, makes it improbable that the visible local roles of women shown in the papyri would reflect only a specifically Egyptian understanding of womanly authority. Indeed, depictions of women’s authority in the elite literature or in epigraphical sources are bound to have remained marginal: any other outcome would be quite surprising, regardless of the levels of the women’s agency. The public memorials and even the more private commemoration followed the patriarchal cultural patterns, naturally highlighting the public and official roles and achievements. Even when the achievements of these women, who were influential and authoritative in their communities, were highlighted, the patterns of such tributes and memorials would have followed the cultural expectations and concentrated on the feminine virtues. Those concepts, which would have stressed roles falling outside the limits of the traditional ‘womanly virtues’, seldom found their way into commemorative inscriptions – especially since the commemoration of women was mostly in the hand of their (male) relatives.

65 For the (historiography and critique) of the idea of Roman Egypt as a ‘special case’, see Hickey, 2009, pp. 495-503.

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It is only seldom that cracks appear in the surface formed by the cultural expectations and the traditional Roman understanding of ‘public’ life. These cracks allow us to get hold of evidence of feminine spheres of agency: there were women who were documented and remembered as influential figures by their nearest family and by their communities, and their agency in the public space was a factor in constructing their own identity and the communities they belonged to. They had not only everyday authority in informal and intrafamilial contexts, but visible and recognized roles in civic, commercial and communal life.

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Lorenzo Gagliardi, ‘La madre tutrice e la madre ἐπακολουθήτρια: osservazioni sul rapporto tra diritto romano e diritti delle province orientali’, Index. Quaderni Camerti di studi romanistici, 40 (2012), pp. 423-446. Ute Eisen, Women Officeholders in Early Christianity: Epigraphical and Literary Studies (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2000). Judith Evans Grubbs, Women and Law in the Roman Empire: A Sourcebook on Marriage, Divorce and Widowhood. Routledge: London and New York, 2002. Jane Gardner, Women in Roman Law and Society (London and Sydney: Croom Helm, 1986). Jane Gardner, Being a Roman Citizen (London: Routledge, 1993). Verena Halbwachs, ‘Women as Legal Actors’, in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Law and Society, ed. by Paul du Plessis, Clifford Ando and Kaius Tuori (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 443-455. Emily Hemelrijk, ‘City patronesses in the Roman Empire’, Historia, 53.2 (2004), 209-245. Emily Hemelrijk, ‘Women’s Participation in Civic Life: Patronage and “Motherhood” of Roman Associations’, in De Amicitia: Friendship and Social Networks in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. by Katariina Mustakallio and Christian Krötzl (Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 2010), pp. 49-62. Emily Hemelrijk, Hidden Lives, Public Personae: Women and Civic Life in the Roman West (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). Todd Hickey, ‘Writing Histories from the Papyri’, in Oxford Handbook of Papyrology, ed. by Roger Bagnall (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 495-520. Andrea Jördens, ‘Government, Taxation, and Law’, in Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt, ed. by Christina Riggs (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Oxford 2012), pp. 566-567. Jens-Uwe Krause, Rechtliche und soziale Stellung von Waisen: Witwen und Waisen im Römischen Reich 3 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1995). Lena Larsson Lovén, ‘Lanam fecit: Woolworking and Female Virtue’, in Aspects of Women in Antiquity, ed. by Lena Larsson Lovén and Agneta Strömberg (Jonsered: Åströms, 1998), pp. 85-95. Andrea Markus, Tutela Impuberis: Einfluß des Völkerrechts auf das klassische römische Vormundschaftsrecht unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der gräkoägyptischen Papyri. Ph.D. Thesis, Philipps-Universität: Marburg, 1989. Anthony Marshall, ‘Ladies at Law: The Role of Women in the Roman Civil Courts’, in Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History 5, ed. by Carl Deroux (Leuven: Peeters, 1989), pp. 35-54. Rachel Meyers, ‘Reconsidering Opportunities for Female Benefactors in the Roman Empire: Julia Antonia Eurydice and the Gerontikon at Nysa’, L’Antiquite Classique, 81 (2012), 145-159.

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Richard Saller, Patriarchy, Property and Death in the Roman Family, 2nd edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). Helen Saradi-Mendelovici, ‘A Contribution to the Study of the Byzantine Notarial Formulas: The Infirmitas Sexus of Women and the Sc. Velleianum’, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 83 (1990), 72-90. Mary Schaefer, Women in Pastoral Office: The Story of Santa Prassede, Rome (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). Päivi Setälä, ‘Women and Brick Production: Some New Aspects’, in Women, Wealth and Power in the Roman Empire, ed. by Päivi Setälä with Ria Berg, Riikka Hälikkä, Minerva Keltanen, Janne Pölönen, and Ville Vuolanto (Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 2002), pp. 181-201. Heikki Solin, ‘Zu lukanischen Inschriften’, Commentationes Humanarum Litterarum, 69 (1981). Yan Thomas, ‘The Division of the Sexes in Roman Law’, in History of Women in the West, vol. 1: From Ancient Goddesses to Christian Saints, ed. by Pauline Pantel (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1994), pp. 83-137. Riet Van Bremen, The Limits of Participation: Women and Civic Life in the Greek East in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods (Amsterdam: I.C. Gieben, 1996). Ville Vuolanto, ‘Women and the Property of Fatherless Children in the Roman Empire’, in Women, Wealth and Power in the Roman Empire, ed. by Päivi Setälä with Ria Berg, Riikka Hälikkä, Minerva Keltanen, Janne Pölönen, and Ville Vuolanto (Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 2002), pp. 203-243. Ville Vuolanto, ‘Parenting in Late Antiquity: Gendered Roles in Ideology and Everyday Life’, Patristica Nordica Annuaria, 31 (2016), 33-51. Ville Vuolanto, ‘Experience, agency, and the children in the past: the case of Roman childhood’, in Children and Everyday Life in the Roman and Late Antique World, ed. by Christian Laes and Ville Vuolanto (London and New York: Routledge, 2017), pp. 11-24.

About the Author Dr Ville Vuolanto is a Lecturer in History at the University of Tampere.


Religious Agency and Civic Identity of Women in Ancient Ostia Marja-Leena Hänninen

Abstract The paper deals with women’s participation in various cults of Ostia, the harbour city of the ancient Rome. The paper is based on the rich epigraphic and archaeological evidence on religious life of Ostia. The focus is on the Late Republican and, particularly, in the Early Imperial era, as the majority of the surviving evidence dates from the second century ce. The main question of the paper is the role of religious activity in the construction of women’s civic identity. Furthermore, the significance of religion in the way women’s memory was immortalized is studied. Women’s social standing, family background and marriage is also paid attention to. The final aim is an attempt to define women’s religious agency in the urban society of Ostia. Keywords: agency, identity, Ostia, religion, women

Introduction My paper deals with women in Ostia, the harbour city of ancient Rome, and their activity in the religious life of this city before the Christianization of the Roman Empire. During the Early Imperial era, in particular, Ostia was characterized by its cosmopolitan population. This feature was largely due to the Imperial harbours built in the first century ce. They made Ostia the gateway for all kinds of goods to the capital of the Empire. People from all over the Roman world resided temporarily or permanently in Ostia and its neighbour Portus. The ethnically and socially varied population also meant there was a great variety of religious cults in Ostia. There were traditional cults dating back to the early history of the colony of Ostia and cults linked

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch02


Marja-Leena Hänninen

with the city of Rome. On the other hand, there were cults brought by the newcomers. It is worth asking what the role of religion in building one’s identity was in this kind of urban environment.1 By the second century ce, freedmen had become a large, active, and influential social group in Ostia, visible in religious life, too. In this article, I am trying to find women’s place in this multifaceted picture. The main question of the paper is the role of religious activity in the construction of women’s civic identity.2 By civic identity I mean the ways in which an individual understood their place and role in the community. Everyone was basically a member of a family and a resident of a certain city or village. The social status of the family was essential to the chances an individual had in life. One’s social status could, however, change. A non-citizen could become a citizen, a slave could be freed, people moved or were forced to move from their native place to new districts to live. The first generations of newcomers were usually outsiders in their new hometowns and could find new elements in their identity in professional or religious associations. The second question I am focusing on in this article is the religious agency of women. Religion was undoubtedly an essential part of the civic life in the Roman world. For women, it was also an element of the public sphere considered perfectly appropriate for them to participate in. Among the scholars focussing on women in Antiquity, the importance of religion in women’s life is nowadays a generally accepted fact.3 Much attention was earlier paid to various priesthoods, which was rather disappointing, especially regarding the city of Rome. This is, however, a too narrow perspective. There are several dimensions to religious activity in the ancient world. Priests and priestesses prayed and sacrificed for the benefit of the whole community. Private persons could participate in public religious festivals, pray for themselves and their family, and give votive offerings and gifts to deities. The domestic cult was part of family life. Furthermore, women’s public munificence to temples and cult communities can also be regarded as religious activity, even if the donations might have had other functions, too. Women did not have political rights in Antiquity, and religion was basically the only field in which they could legitimately act in public. In what kind of cults do we find women in the evidence of Ostia? Special attention 1 Urban space and its significance in building identitities is covered in this volume by Joska and Melotti. 2 Women in Christianity and Judaism have been left out of the discussion in this article. 3 For recent scholarship on the topic, see, e.g. DiLuzio, 2016; Hemelrijk, 2015; Schulz, 2006.

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will be paid to the effect of the social status and ethnic background of women, since priesthoods of traditional deities were strictly confined to the members of the local elite. It is especially interesting to study the activity and agency of women who did not come from the traditional elite of Ostia, but were immigrants or freedwomen. How did they find their place in the urban society of Ostia? Were they perfect outsiders or did they have an opportunity to achieve some recognition via religion? Ostia is well known for the variety of its religious life and the richness of its evidence concerning religion. More than fifty temples or other cult sites have been recognized. Hundreds of inscriptions testify to religious aspects in the life of the colony of Ostia: priesthoods, building and renovating temples, dedications to deities, sacrifices. Only some of the sanctuaries have been able to be identified.4 What is available, however, is rich epigraphic material attesting to the deities venerated in the harbour city, dedications to these deities, and names of people who worshipped them. As can be expected, women are named in only a minority of these inscriptions. Women are, in general, underrepresented in epigraphic sources.5 Most of the available sources can be dated to the first centuries ce, the second century ce being the heyday of Ostia. The number of inscriptions explicitly referring to women’s religious activity is reduced, but can still give us a sketch of the development. I will first discuss the participation of the women of the local elite in the cults of Bona Dea as well as the Imperial cult, and secondly the participation of women of the sub-elite and lower classes in the cults of Bona Dea, Attis, and Bellona as well as the cult of the Egyptian deities. These cults were alive in Ostia until the fourth century ce, at least. There is, however, no surviving evidence on women involved in these cults in Late Antiquity. Christian women are known from Ostian inscriptions from the third century onwards, as well as female Christian martyrs connected with Ostia and Portus in hagiography.6

Elite women and civic religion in ancient Ostia Among the cults dating back to the Republican era in Ostia are several that could have connections with women’s life. The so-called Quattro tempietti were dedicated to Ceres, Venus, Spes, and Fortuna. Priestesses of Ceres and 4 For an overview of the religious life and various cults in Ostia, see Meiggs, 1973, pp. 337-403. 5 On epigraphic culture and women, see Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 29-35. 6 For the Christianization and Christian martyrs in Ostia and Portus, not specifically discussed in this article, see Meiggs, 1973, pp. 388-403 and pp. 518-531.


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Venus are known from many Italian towns,7 but not from Ostia. Some calendar festivals of Ceres and Venus in Rome were specifically celebrated by women, but we do not have any information about the particular ways in which the goddesses were venerated in Ostia. The Quattro tempietti were dedicated and built in the Late Republican era by a notable man of the local elite, M. Lucilius Gamala senior. It is hard to define the exact significance of the four deities in Ostia, since no epithets are attached to them in the surviving inscriptions. Fausto Zevi assumes that the four goddesses were worshipped as protectors of seafaring, business, and annona.8 Cults may have had various dimensions, different meanings for different persons or groups of interest. There are, unfortunately, no surviving votive inscriptions, made by men or women. No Vestals or other priestesses either are known from Ostia before the Early Imperial era. The religious offices seem to have been almost totally in the hands of the men of the local elite in Ostia during the Republican era. There is one remarkable exception in this male-dominated picture of the religious life of Ostia in the Republican era. The cult of Bona Dea, famous for its exclusively female celebration in Rome, is also attested in Ostia. Interestingly, there were two sanctuaries of Bona Dea in Ostia. One of them, situated at the end of the Via degli Augustali (Regio V, insula X-2) can be dated to the Republican period. The other sanctuary of Bona Dea in Ostia, situated outside the Porta Marina, was built later and is dated to the Early Imperial period.9 In Rome, two festivals of Bona Dea were celebrated annually. One of them was the anniversary of the temple of the goddess on the Aventine and, apparently meant for a wider audience. The more famous festival was celebrated in December and was an exclusive feast of noble women, organized in the house of a leading magistrate. Since no men were allowed to be present, we do not know exactly what happened during the feast. Vestal virgins made sacrifices during the feast on behalf of the Roman state.10 In the Imperial era, the cult of Bona Dea cannot be described as an exclusively female cult. Epigraphic studies have shown that there were many males, too, among the devotees of the goddess. It is still possible that some elements of the cult, such as the festival celebrated in December, were 7 See Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 54-61. 8 Zevi, 1997, p. 437. 9 For the epigraphic evidence concerning these sanctuaries, see Brouwer, 1989, pp. 63-70. For a general description of the cult sites, see Meiggs, 1973, pp. 352-353. 10 Brouwer, 1989, pp. 358-399.

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meant only for women. However, most of the known priests and other cult officials of Bona Dea were women and, thus, the cult of Bona Dea can be regarded as dominated by women.11 We do not know what kind of rituals were performed, what kind of feasts celebrated to honour Bona Dea in Ostia. In the ancient world, cults varied locally. What do the inscriptions reveal about the cult and two temples of Bona Dea in Ostia? As for the sanctuary of Bona Dea outside the Porta Marina, only the dedicatory inscription is known. Interestingly, this temple was dedicated by a man, a duovir of Ostia, Marcus Maecilius.12 Several copies were made of this dedicatory inscription, which give the sanctuary quite an official brand. No names of women connected with this sanctuary are known to us, or any votive inscriptions. The temple continued to exist during the Principate, but the size of the sanctuary was reduced in the third century, and it seems that the worship of Bona Dea on this cult site did not survive until the last phase of ancient Ostia.13 The other sanctuary of Bona Dea gives more generous information about women’s participation in the cult. Three inscriptions are related to the Bona Dea sanctuary at the Via degli Augustali, and all these dedications were made by women: Octavia, Terentia, and Valeria Hetaera. The earliest inscription connected to this sanctuary records a donation made by a woman called Octavia, daughter of Marcus and wife of Gamala. According to the inscription, she had the portico plastered, benches made, and the kitchen roofed in honour of the goddess Bona Dea.14 The inscription has been dated to the Late Republican era or the early Augustan era at the latest. It was not found in its original location but recycled in a pavement of the Imperial era in the area of the sanctuary.15 Octavia did not build a new temple but contributed to the embellishment and construction of new elements to the sanctuary. The oldest phases of the temple building can be dated to the second century bce. The temple was used over several centuries and was probably abandoned only in the fourth century.16 The site of the temple is quite remote and well-hidden inside the high walls and, thus, it looks like a sanctuary suitable for an exclusive cult.17

11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 44-45. Brouwer, 1989, pp. 63-67; AE 1946, no. 221. For the phases of the temple of Bona Dea outside Porta Marina, see Brouwer, 1989, pp. 407-410. Cébeillac, 1973, pp. 517-518; Brouwer, 1989, pp. 68-69; Zevi, 1997, pp. 444-446. Cébeillac, 1973, pp. 521. Medri, Falzone, Lo Blundo and Calvigioni, 2017. Rieger, 2004, pp. 234-235; Steuernagel, 2004, pp. 69-70.


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Octavia has been identified as the wife of P. Lucilius Gamala senior, who was among the leading men of Ostia in the Late Republican period – a man who had been both the highest civic magistrate, duovir, and the highest religious authority, pontifex Volcani, in Ostia. Members of the Lucilius Gamala family held the highest offices of Ostia for centuries.18 He was supposedly the builder of the Quattro Tempietti Repubblicani, the four Republican temples.19 As for the family background of Octavia, the gentilicium Octavius is otherwise not known from Ostia. M. Cébeillac has suggested that Octavia was born in Forum Clodii. There was a flourishing cult of Bona Dea there, and Octavia’s family was specifically devoted to the cult.20 Octavia’s benefactions to the sanctuary of Bona Dea can be seen both as public munificence and religious participation. She had chosen to give donations specifically to the cult of Bona Dea. There might have been several motives behind her action, and it is impossible to separate religion from other civic activities. Leading magistrates were expected to use their resources for the common good. From the Late Republican period onwards, there is more evidence for women’s public munificence, too. This may be related to the changes in Roman marriage: sine manu marriages made it possible for women to use their wealth more independently.21 Donations made by a woman could be signs of special devotion to a deity, but they also brought glory for her and her family. As for the suggestion that Octavia was Gamala senior’s wife, it seems to have been most appropriate that the wife of the leading man of the colony also took an active role in supporting the most important female cult of the colony. In addition to Octavia, two other female donors of the sanctuary of Bona Dea in the Regio V are known. Chronologically, the next after Octavia is a lady called Terentia, wife of Cluvius, who donated a well-head to the sanctuary of Bona Dea.22 The same lady had also funded a more monumental building in Ostia, a portico with a vestibule (cryptam et chalcidicum).23 Terentia must have been very wealthy to afford all these benefactions. Nothing certain is known about her family. Cicero mentions a C. Cluvius in one of his letters. The names Cluvius and Terentius do not appear in surviving lists of duoviri of Ostia. Since a freedman of the Terentii is known to have donated new mosaics to one of the Quattro tempietti, Zevi connects 18 19 20 21 22 23

Meiggs, 1973, pp. 40-41. Meiggs, 1973, pp. 350-351. Cébeillac, 1973, pp. 522, 527, 529-530; supported by Zevi, 1997, pp. 446-447. See Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 22-25. AE 2005, p. 304. AE 2005, pp. 303 and 305. See also Cooley, 2013, pp. 36-37.

Religious Agenc y and Civic Identit y of Women in Ancient Ostia


Terentia’s munificence rather to the family of the Terentii than to that of the Cluvii.24 Terentia’s building can be dated to the year 6 ce and, thus, her donation to the sanctuary of Bona Dea can be dated to the Augustan era.25 Terentia has been compared to Eumachia in Ostia as a donor of a monumental public building. Terentia’s building also had a connection to the Imperial cult, since she dedicated her building to Augustus (or another member of the Imperial family) and rituals commemorating a member of the Imperial family were performed as the building was inaugurated. Terentia can be interpreted as imitating Livia in her euergetic activity, possibly even on a religious level. There is, however, no evidence indicating that Terentia herself would have been a priestess.26 There is an interesting inscription from the Julio-Claudian period, dealing with a series of dynastic festivals in Forum Clodii, the possible hometown of Octavia, the other great sponsor of the cult of Bona Dea in Ostia. Women were to be given sweet wine and cakes on Livia’s birthday in the quarter of Bona Dea. Livia had the temple of Bona Dea on the Aventine restored. Cicero’s wife Terentia is also known as a devotee of Bona Dea, presiding over the secret festival by the time of the conspiracy of Catilina.27 The nature of Octavia’s donations – benches and a kitchen – suggests that some kind of gatherings were organized inside the temple area, probably banquets, too. The presence of a kitchen seems natural if banquets were being organized inside the sacred area. Another interpretation would be the use of the kitchen for preparing medicine, since Bona Dea was also venerated as a healing deity.28 Brouwer presents it as plausible that the temple was connected to a collegium, but as he himself admits, there is no evidence for Bona Dea being a tutelary deity of any Ostian association.29 There is, however, evidence for Bona Dea being a tutelary deity of collegia elsewhere.30 Octavia and Terentia participated in the long tradition of euergetism. Hemelrijk has calculated that women funded religious buildings more than any other types of buildings. They could fund a new building or its renovation, embellishments, or accoutrements. This may be due to the fact that religion was considered the one sphere of public life in which women 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Licordari, 1984, p. 350; Zevi, 1997, pp. 448-449. Licordari, 1984, pp. 350-351. Zevi, 1997, p. 450; Cooley, 2013, pp. 36-37; Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 123-124. Mastrocinque, 2014, pp. 76-78. For the role of Bona Dea as a healing goddess, see Brouwer, 1989, pp. 346-347. Brouwer, 1989, pp. 412, 426. Brouwer, 1989, pp. 372-385.


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could legitimately participate. On the other hand, temples were among the most common public buildings in any city of the Roman Empire. New temples were needed as well as private persons, men and women, to fund them.31 Funding a temple or donating something to a temple brought a lot of attention and glory to the donor as well as their family. Octavia and Terentia suit the picture of the cult of Bona Dea as an exclusively feminine and elite cult. Epigraphic studies, however, have shown that there were devotees of lower social status, too, both females and males, freeborn, freedmen and freedwomen, even slaves.32 There were different levels of cult officials, persons of various social status. The actual priestesses, sacerdotes, were usually of higher status than assisting cult officials, ministrae and magistrae. One freedwoman, Valeria Hetaera, made a dedication to the same sanctuary as Octavia and Terentia.33 She referred to the goddess with the epithet opifera, referring to help or benefaction given by the goddess. In Rome, the epigraphic evidence concerning the cult of Bona Dea in the Imperial era suggests that Bona Dea was worshipped as a healing goddess and not exclusively as a goddess dealing with female issues.34 The Ostian evidence only deals with donations concerning temple buildings and equipment, and there are no surviving votive inscriptions. We do not know if Bona Dea was venerated as a healing goddess in Ostia, too. The evidence strongly refers to a matronal cult.35 The dedication of a freedwoman shows that not only women of the local elite worshipped the goddess. Priestesses (sacerdotes) and lower cult officials (magistrae, ministrae), who also took care of the healing activities are known from Rome.36 The temple of Bona Dea outside the Porta Marina remains a little enigmatic as regards the clientele of the sanctuary. The dedication of a duovir refers to the official recognition of the cult. The lack of such a dedication from the other temple does not mean necessarily that it was an unofficial cult site, considering the haphazard survival of the epigraphic evidence. The existence of two sanctuaries of Bona Dea in Ostia suggest that the cult was considered important for the well-being and success of the colony.37

31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 117-119. Brouwer, 1989, p. 261. AE 1961, no. 45: Valeria Hetaera / dat Bon(ae) Deae / Opiferae sacr(um). Cébeillac, 1973, p. 532; Brouwer, 1989, pp. 346-348. Cébeillac, 1973, p. 548. DiLuzio, 2016, pp. 96-98. Rieger, 2004, p. 233.

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The cult of Bona Dea seems to have flourished in Ostia in the Augustan era particularly. This may be due to Augustus’s efforts to promote the cult.38 Augustus’s wife Livia paid special attention to the cult of Bona Dea in Rome, having the temple of Bona Dea on the Aventine restored. In general, Livia’s euergetic activities may have acted as a model for the women of the local elites, such as Terentia in Ostia and Eumachia in Pompeii.39 Bona Dea is the only ‘traditional’ goddess of the Republican period with whom the women of Ostia are known to have had a special relationship. The epigraphic evidence is scanty, but what we have suggests that it was a cult considered appropriate for the women of the local elite. New elements were added to the religious life of Ostia in the Imperial era on the official level, most notably the Imperial cult. There were several levels in the cult. Seviri augustales or magistri, who were mostly freedmen, took care of the worship of the Lares Augusti and the Genius of the emperor. 40 The more prestigious part of the Imperial cult dealt with the worship of the deified emperors and empresses. In Ostia, the veneration of the deif ied emperors and empresses and other members of the Imperial family took place in the temple of Rome and Augustus which stood at the south end of the forum of Ostia. The cult was led by a flamen Romae at Augusti, who was chosen for life from the most prominent men of Ostia. Men usually held this prestigious priesthood at the end of their public career. Individual deified emperors and empresses could have their own priests and priestesses, from the Flavian era onwards, at least. 41 Hemelrijk has pointed out that priestesses of deified empresses were rare in Italy – unlike in the provinces – and there seem to have been none in the city of Rome. 42 From Ostia we know of two priestesses of the deified empresses. Plaria Vera, a woman of senatorial or equestrian status, was recorded as a priestess of Diva Augusta. She was probably a priestess of the deified Livia.43 Hemelrijk has suggested that flaminica divae Augustae in general could mean priestess of any recently deified empress. 44 Plaria Vera, who acted as a flaminica divae Augustae married into one of the most prominent families of the Ostian elite of the era, that of the Egrilii. Her husband A. Egrilius 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Brouwer, 1989, p. 412. Barrett, 2002, pp. 199-206; Severy, 2003, pp. 134-135; Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 169 Meiggs, 1973, pp. 217-221, 354. For seviri augustales in general, see Mouritsen, 2011, pp. 249-255. Meiggs, 1973, pp. 178, 353-354. Hemelrijk 2015, 70-71. CIL XIV 399; 5346. Hemelrijk 2015, 79-80.


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Rufus had had an outstanding public career and was also a flamen Romae et Augusti after his term as duovir. 45 In this case, at least, the prestigious female priesthood seems to have been linked with the prominent public profile of her husband. Egnatia Aescennia Procula, who was probably a member of the local decurial class, served as flaminica divae Faustinae in the second century ce.46 Faustina was the wife of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, and was deified after her death. Diva Faustina seems to have been an object of special devotion in Ostia. When Faustina died, the council of Ostia set up an inscription to commemorate her harmonious marriage with Antoninus Pius. Furthermore, it was ordered that when maidens of Ostia married, they should offer prayers with their husbands at a public altar.47 An Ostian lady whose name has been only partially preserved made a will providing a capital sum for the upbringing of hundred girls. She was probably a daughter of Fabius Agrippinus, a consul born in Ostia. Obviously, she wanted to imitate Antoninus Pius, who instituted a similar fund to honour his late wife. 48 For local elites, the Imperial cult was a means of supporting or advancing one’s social status, or a means to get included in the local elite.49 Priesthood could be a sign of a privileged position or a means of social mobility.50 According to Hemelrijk, the social background of the priestesses of the Imperial cult varied but was, in general, usually higher than that of the priestesses of traditional Graeco-Roman deities.51 The priestess had to be wealthy, since priesthoods caused huge economic expenses and thus only a limited number of families could afford them.52 Basically, in the Imperial cult the male priests took care of the cult of the deified emperors and priestesses of the cult of empresses and other deified female members of the Imperial family.53 We do not know how civic priestesses of the Imperial cult were chosen and appointed in Ostia, but inscriptions from other cities contain formulas with information that they had been appointed by the local or provincial council, probably for one 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53

Meiggs, 1973, pp. 192-193, 196-197, 354; Herzig, 1983, p. 84. AE, 1988, p. 188. Meiggs, 1973, p. 233; CIL XIV 5326. Meiggs, 1973, p. 229; CIL XIV 445 Cf. Joska in this volume. Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 71-72. Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 72. Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 73. Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 74.

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year.54 The qualifications are not known, apart from citizenship. Wealth also seems to have been common to the women serving the Imperial cult.55 According to Hemelrijk, only a very small percentage of the priestesses of the Imperial cult in municipia were of the senatorial class. Decurial and equestrian status was a more probable social background. Women of these classes could gain prestige for both themselves and their families. It was a great honour to be appointed as a priestess, particularly in the Imperial cult – something that raised them above their peers.56 Women could also participate in the Imperial cult as private persons by making dedications to deities for the health and safety of the emperor and his family. In Ostia, Iunia Marciana gave a votive offering to Liber Pater Commodianus for the health of the Emperor Commodus.57 Women made this kind of dedication alone or sometimes with their husband or other family members. For example, an Ostian freedman made an offering with his daughter for the health of the Imperial family.58 Participation in emperor worship served as a sign of loyalty for the community and the state of Rome. A person who made an offering for the well-being of the emperor and his family showed that they were a trustworthy person, willing to be a member of society, whatever their ethnic and social background. This may have been even more important for those who were new citizens, such as freedmen.

Women in the cults of Magna Mater, Attis, and Bellona The majority of the known priestesses in Ostia were not members of the elite, were not civic benefactresses, and were not commemorated with honorary statues. Their exact social standing is not explicitly expressed in inscriptions. We know about their religious activities because they made votive offerings commemorated in inscriptions, or their priesthood or religious devotion is indicated in their funerary inscription. Religious activity was one of the virtues of the deceased woman: something she and her family were proud about, as important or even more important than their role as wife or mother, an essential part of their identity.59 54 55 56 57 58 59

Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 82-83. Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 88. Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 100-101. CIL XIV 30. CIL XIV 4285. Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 102-103.


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The evidence for the participation of women in the cults of Magna Mater (Cybele) and Attis, as well as the Egyptian deities is more abundant than the evidence for women’s devotion to the ‘traditional’ deities in Ostia. The cults of Magna Mater, Attis, and Bellona are particularly interesting. There is evidence of dedications and donations made by women in these cults and of women being priestesses and other cult officials. Women could also be members of the collegia connected with these deities, even in honorary positions. The early history of Magna Mater in Rome actually has a strong link with Ostia. According to the ancient historiographical tradition, the black stone symbolizing Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods, was received by the Roman nobility precisely in Ostia during the Second Punic war in order to guarantee Roman victory in the war. The worthiest man and the best of Roman matrons, led by the legendary Claudia Quinta, received the black stone symbolizing the new goddess.60 Surprisingly, however, there is no evidence of the cult of Magna Mater in Ostia before the Early Imperial era. In Ostia, the temple of Cybele stood in a large triangular area called Campus Magnae Matris. A smaller shrine of Attis and a temple of Bellona with a guild house of the hastiferi were built inside the same area. This complex of several cults was situated on the Porta Laurentina along the cardo and the southern city wall.61 The location was, thus, rather remote, a long way from the centre of ancient Ostia. On the other hand, the situation along one of the main streets of Ostia, full of shops, and next to a city gate is remarkable. The north-western side of the campus bordered the Terme del faro. One can assume that it was a busy area in the second century ce.62 The building history of the area of Magna Mater is much debated, and the exact chronology is not clear.63 It is evident, however, that the cult activities flourished in the second century and the first half of the third century. This was, of course, the heyday of Ostia, in general. As for the cults of Magna Mater, Attis, and Bellona, they were well-established by that era. They were not new cults by the second century ce, and there was hardly anything suspicious in their activities. Still, these cults seem to have been avoided by the members of the Ostian elite. Even if the cult of Magna Mater had a strong connection to the nobility in the city of Rome, in Ostia we do 60 Liv. 29.10-11. 61 Meiggs, 1973, pp. 356-359. For the results of the earlier excavations, see Visconti, 1868, and Calza,1943. For the most recent synthesis of the archaeological finds of the site, see Rieger, 2004, pp. 93-172. 62 Rieger, 2004, p. 124. 63 See Cooley, 2015, pp. 244-245.

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not find names of the local elite in the dedications and collegia of the cult, except as patrons of the collegia.64 Devotees of Magna Mater and Attis with a senatorial standing appear more frequently in Ostian inscriptions only from the third century onwards.65 The cult of Magna Mater and Attis was by no means an exclusive women’s cult. Nevertheless, it seems to have been hugely popular among women in Ostia. In epigraphic evidence for women’s religious activities in Ostia, there are more references to the cult of Magna Mater and Attis than to any other cult. Who were these women? Priests and priestesses of Magna Mater with the title of sacerdos as well as male archigalli are known from Ostian inscriptions. What kind of different roles they had in the organization of the cult in Ostia is not clear.66 The participation of women in the cult of Magna Mater and Attis seems to have followed the same pattern as in the western provinces of the Roman Empire. They were active members of the cult communities and they acted as priestesses and cult officials, but never in leading positions.67 Priests and officials of the cult of Magna Mater and Attis recorded in inscriptions of Ostia usually have an indication that they are serving the cult of the colony of Ostia: sacerdos or archigallus coloniae Ostiensis. This seems a strong element in their identity, attachment to one specific place. Two Ostian priestesses of Magna Mater are recorded in inscriptions we know. The information of their priesthood is recorded in their epitaphs found in the necropolis of Isola Sacra. Salonia Carpime erected the epitaph for her patrona Salonia Euterpe, who had been priestess of Magna Mater in Portus, the harbour district of Ostia (sacerdos Matris deum Magnae Portus Augusti et Traiani felicis), where there was another sanctuary of Magna Mater.68 It is not indicated whether Salonia Euterpe was freeborn or freedwoman, but she definitively did not belong to the elite of Ostia. No magistrates of Ostia were buried in the cemetery of Isola Sacra.69 Apparently, Salonia Euterpe had had some success in her life, something to be proud of. In the epitaph, she is commemorated as a patrona and a priestess of Magna Mater. This indicates some wealth and status: she was a woman elevated above her peers. Another Ostian priestess appears in a sarcophagus in the Vatican museum with an epitaph commemorating a president of the Ostian collegium fabri tignariorum C. Iunius Euhodus and his wife Metilia Acte who was a priestess 64 65 66 67 68 69

Meiggs, 1973, pp. 360-362. Rieger, 2004, pp. 150. Rieger, 2004, p. 157. See Spickermann, 2013. CIL XIV 408. Meiggs, 1973, p. 455.


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of Magna Mater in Ostia.70 Here we meet a couple active in civic life: while the husband acted in the trade collegium, his wife was a priestess. With the help of the lustrum of the collegium mentioned in the epitaph, the sarcophagus can be dated to the period from 161 to 170 ce.71 It is likely that Gaius Iunius Euhodus was a freedman, since freedmen were usually enrolled in the tribus Palatina. This tribe can also signify servile blood in the family, but not necessarily recent.72 Freedman or freeborn, Euhodus does not seem to have been member of the local aristocracy; the presidency of a powerful Ostian association is his highest achievement. Furthermore, it is notable that a public office is also recorded for the wife of Euhodus. Public activity, positions of trust, were expected to bring glory to both husband and wife. Metilia Acte is called sacerdos Matris deum Magnae coloniae Ostiensis, which suggests that she was priestess of the goddess in the cult complex of Campus Magnae Matris at the Porta Laurentina. We do not know if Euhodus, too, was active in the cult of Magna Mater. It is noteworthy that the presidency of a collegium also included religious duties. Furthermore, the collegium of the fabri tignarii, carpenters, was frequently associated with the guild of dendrophori, who had an essential role in the worship of Magna Mater and Attis.73 The priesthood held by Metilia Acte is not the only reference to the cult of Magna Mater and Attis in the sarcophagus. A head with a Phrygian cap is depicted on each end of the lid of the sarcophagus. Furthermore, cymbals and a pedum, a shepherd’s staff, are depicted next to the head with a Phrygian cap. The main panel of the sarcophagus has been interpreted to refer to the myth of Alcestis.74 The devotion of the deceased to Magna Mater and Attis is depicted with both text and pictures. From the necropolis of Isola Sacra, we also know of another funerary inscription commemorating a couple active in the cult of Magna Mater and Attis, Gaius Iulius Spiclus and Ulpia Metropolis. C. Iulius Spiclus had been priest of both Asclepius and Magna Mater. His wife had had played the tympanon, with the title tympanistra publica.75 The definition publica 70 CIL XIV 371: D(is) M(anibus) / C. Iunius Pal(atina tribu) Euhodus magister q(uin)q(uennalis) / collegi fabr(um) tign(ariorum)Osti(en)s(ium) lustri XXI / fecit sibi et Metiliae Acte sacerdo/ti m(atris) d(eum) m(agnae) coloni(ae) Ost(iensis coniug(i) sanctissime. 71 Mucznik, 1999, p. 61. 72 Meiggs, 1973, p. 190; Mouritsen, 2011, pp. 126-127. 73 Mucznik, 1999, p. 63. 74 Floriani Squarciapino, 1962, p. 15; Mucznik, 1999, pp. 72-74. 75 Helttula et al., 2007, nr 178: C. Iulius Spiclus sacerdos / M(atris) d(eum) m(agnae) et Aesculapis / fecit sibi et Ulpiae Metropoli / coniugi timpanis(triae) publicae // et filiis et nepotibus.

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suggests official funding. Another tympanistra, Culcia Metropolis, was also buried in the necropolis of Isola Sacra. According to her epitaph, she served the cult of Magna Mater in Portus, the harbour district.76 Music was essential in rituals, and both male and female musicians served the cult in Ostia, flautists and tympanon players. The profession of musician was not considered suitable for honourable Romans of the upper social groups. The ritual context is, naturally, a different sphere, and serving a cult in this way apparently brought honour and self-esteem. However, these women were hardly members of the local elite. It is interesting that priesthoods are less frequently indicated in epitaphs of the local elite. In her outstanding and thorough study of women in civic life in the Latin West, E. Hemelrjik has pointed out that elite women who had acted as civic priestesses or performed public benefactions were usually honoured with public statues and honorary inscriptions. Men and women of the non-elite, however, were seldom honoured publicly, their services to the community or a certain cult only immortalized in their epitaphs.77 Religious offices were something they could be proud of or something by which they wanted to be remembered. The cult of Magna Mater had an elaborate organization in Ostia with various guilds of cult officials, most notably dendrophori and cannophori.78 Names of devotees and officials of the goddess are recorded in inscriptions. Dedicatory inscriptions commemorate donations made by men and women to the cult of Cybele and Attis.79 Freeborn citizens, too, participated in the worship of the Great Mother, but persons of very high standing do not seem to have been involved in the cult before the third century ce.80 Dendrophori, tree-bearers, carried a pine tree symbolizing the death of Attis at the annual festival of Cybele; the cannophori carried reeds during the same festival.81 These associations were probably large and wealthy and acquired patrons who held important positions in the town. Officers and members of the guild had lower status even if they could be wealthy. Freedmen were active members, some of them also acting as seviri in the

76 Helttula et al., 2007, nr 182: D(is) M(anibus). Culciae/ Metropoli/ tympanistriae/ m(atris) d(eum) m(agnae) utriusq(ue)/portus. 77 Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 102-103. 78 For an overview of the development of the cult in Ostia, see Meiggs, 1973, pp. 356-366. See also Cooley, 2015. 79 Epigraphic evidence collected in Vermaseren, 1978. 80 Meiggs, 1973, pp. 361-362. 81 Floriani Squarciapino, 1962, p. 7.


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service of the Imperial cult and administration.82 These associations seem to have had female members, too. Some of these women were given the honorary title of mater, mother of the collegium. Domitia Civitas donated a statuette of Attis to the collegium of the cannophori. She made the dedication with her husband Q. Domitius Aterianus. The wife has the title of mater, husband that of pater.83 In addition to the dedication text, a syrinx, Phrygian cap and lituus have been carved in the white marble base. The couple was apparently of freedman status and wealthy, as they could afford a valuable gift to the collegium. We also know a mater of the dendrophori, Iunia Zosime, who donated a silver statuette of Virtus to the collegium of the dendrophori.84 The amount of silver used to the statuette is indicated very precisely. This is not a unique object among the gifts given to the collegia in the area of the Campus Magnae Matris. A whole group of bases for statuettes have been found from the same area. The status of the donor in the collegium as well as the amount of silver used are usually indicated in the dedication. This can be interpreted as a sign of competition or imitation. 85 It is possible that new members or members with honorary status were expected to give a donation to the association. According to the dedicatory inscription of the temple of Bellona, it was funded by the lictors and slaves of the colony (servi publici).86 The duoviri of that year, the highest officials of Ostia, assigned the site of the temple. Later on, as the temple and its area were restored, lictors and slaves of the colony with freedmen of the colony and apparitores were, again, responsible for the funding.87 The cult of Bellona was associated with the cult of Magna Mater and Attis, but there is no real evidence for the involvement of women in this specific cult in Ostia. However, we know a woman who acted as a patroness (patrona) of the collegium of hastiferi which was connected to the cult of Bellona. This lady, Iscantia Prima, had, with the male patrons of the collegium, C. Rubrius Fortunatus and C. Rubrius Iustus, funded the 82 Meiggs, 1973, pp. 360-361. The functions of the seviri augustales probably varied largely locally and they were not simply priests. For a discussion on the definition of the Augustales, see Mouritsen, 2011, pp. 250-256. 83 CIL XIV 37: Q. Domitius / Aterianus pat(er) / et Domitia / Civitas mat(er) // signum Attis / cann(ophoris) Ost(iensibus) d(ono) d(ederunt). 84 CIL XIV 69: Virtutem / dendop(horis) / ex arg(ento) p(ondo) II / Iunia Zosime // mater / d(ono) d(edit). 85 Cooley, 2015, pp. 256-257. 86 Meiggs, 1973, p. 182. 87 Meiggs, 1973, p. 182; Rieger, 2004, p. 168.

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restoration of the sanctuary of Bellona.88 With the help of consular dating, the inscription can be dated to the year 211 ce. The devotees of Bellona seem to have been of rather low status but, still, persons with connections to the official institutions of the colony of Ostia, and people with some means to fund the sanctuary and guild house. What did it mean to be a mother or patroness of a collegium? According to Hemelrijk, patronesses were basically of higher social standing than mothers. Patronesses were usually freeborn equestrian or senatorial women, while mothers were recruited from the sub-elite, many of them being freedwomen or descendants of freedmen. The mothers of the collegia were recruited from the same social groups as the members of the collegia. Women of different social standings appear to have been given different honorary titles.89 Iscantia Prima, patroness of the collegium of the hastiferi in Ostia, was hardly of very high standing. We do not know what kind of relationship she had to the two men with whom she made the donation or if one of the men was her husband. According to Hemelrijk, Iscantia Prima is exceptional among the known patronesses of collegia, since she contributed to a substantial donation to the collegium.90 Patronesses were often honoured with statues, but they were apparently not expected to give donations before they were honoured. The honorary title might have been connected with the status of their family or husband. The mothers of the collegia had a different status. They made donations but did not receive public honour, even if they could be honoured inside the collegia.91 Domitia Civitas, mother of the cannophori, and Iunia Zosime, mother of the dendrophori, suit this pattern very well. They donated silver statuettes to the collegia and their names were immortalized inside the cult area. The title of mater collegii was apparently an important part of the identity of the woman in her own eyes as well as for the community and was reflected in her status and prestige.92 Both the persons who had these honorary titles and the collegia that gave the titles gained something. Both male and female patrons of the collegia were expected to use their social networks and influence as well as their economic means for the best interests of the collegium. The role of the mothers of the collegia was a little 88 Vermaseren, 1978 nr 391 (=AE 1948, 31): C. Rubrius Fortunatus C. Rubrius [Iu]stus et / Iscantia Prima patroni astoforum Ostiensium / edem vetustate collasa(m) sua pecunia fecerunt. / Dedicat(a) III n(onis) Aug(ustis) Geta et Antonino co(n)s(ulibus). 89 Hemelrijk, 2008, pp. 120-121. 90 Hemelrijk, 2008, p. 125 91 Hemelrijk, 2008, pp. 126-127. 92 Hemelrijk, 2008, p. 128.


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different. They were also expected to give donations, but their social standing was usually the same as that of members of the collegia. As a matter of fact, women with the title of mother of the collegium seem to have been originally members of the collegia or relatives of the members. Mothers were usually appointed in such collegia that were open to female members.93 Women were apparently active members of the collegia of the dendrophori and cannophori in Ostia and the most merited women could be honoured with the title of mater. It is harder to tell if Iscantia Prima was also a member of the guild of the hastiferi, since she is the only woman whose name is linked with this collegium in the surviving sources. Ostian inscriptions record women with the title of patrona or mater of a collegium who were not members of the Roman senatorial aristocracy. Domitia Civitas was mater of the collegium of the cannophori, Iunia Zosime mater of the dendrophori. Iscantia Prima is called a patrona of the collegium of the hastiferi along with two men in an inscription commemorating the restoration of the temple of Bellona.94 Even if these women were not members of the local elite, they apparently did their best to gain respect and social prestige. They had wealth and self-esteem.95 There is also evidence for donations by devotees to the associations of dendrophori, cannophori, and hastiferi. These donations include statues of both deities and members of the Imperial family. Some of the statuettes are made of valuable material like silver, according to the dedicatory inscriptions. The amount of silver is also indicated – perhaps there was a standard for this or it was a question of competition between donors or at least of an attempt to not be less generous than others. There are both men and women among the donors. The status of the donor in the cult may have been indicated, such as pater, mater, honoratus. Calpurnia Chelido dedicated a statuette of Magna Mater to the collegium of the cannophori.96 According to Alison Cooley, this kind of dedication was a means for the collegia to strengthen their group identity as loyal supporters of the emperor and devoted worshippers of the goddess. Dedications could be celebrated with banquets and money gifts, which made the dedication known to the other members of the collegium.97 Silver votives in the Campus Magnae Matris may have been donated as a part of summa honoraria connected with the 93 Hemelrijk, 2008, pp. 136-137. 94 Herzig, 1983, pp. 83-84. 95 Herzig, 1983, p. 90. 96 CIL XIV 36: Calpurnia / Chelido / typum Matris / Deum argenti // p(ondo) II Cannoforis / Ost(iensibus) d(onum) d(edit) / et dedicabit. 97 Cooley, 2015, p. 256.

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priesthood held by the woman.98 There is variation in the deities depicted in the statuettes: Calpurnia Chelido gave a statuette of Magna Mater, Iunia Zosime a Virtus, Domitia Civitas and her husband an Attis. These were individual choices. There is still one type of dedication for which there is evidence for women’s activity in the cult of Magna Mater in Ostia. Taurobolium sacrifices were also funded by women. Several inscriptions commemorated taurobolia or criobolia performed in the Campus Magnae Matris in Ostia. Most of them were performed for the safety and health of the emperor and his family and for the success of official institutions.99 There is also evidence of taurobolia given by private persons for their own sake. A woman called Aemilia Serapias had taurobolium performed and an altar erected in 199 ce. The inscription also gives the names of the priests who took care of the sacrifice.100 It is not clear how the sacrifices were practically carried out. The picture of a ‘blood baptism’ given by Christian authors in Late Antiquity has been proved wrong. Neither is it any more certain that the site once interpreted as the fossa sanguinis in the Campus Magnae Matris was actually used for this purpose.101 What is clear, however, is that a sacrifice of a bull required wealth. Aemilia Serapias was rich enough to fund such a sacrifice just for herself. This kind of religious act must have been related to religious emotion, too. The cult of Magna Mater and Attis seems to have flourished in Ostia until the early third century. There are a few inscriptions from the fourth century but none from later. No women connected with the cult after the third century appear in the surviving evidence.

Women and Egyptian deities in Ostia Egyptian deities were also hugely popular in Ostia in the second and third centuries ce. In addition to Isis and Serapis, Anubis and Bubastis were among the Egyptian deities venerated in Ostia.102 The cult of Isis has a reputation as a cult specifically favoured by women. Epigraphic studies, however, have 98 Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 135. 99 Meiggs, 1973, pp. 362-363. 100 CIL XIV 39: Aemilia / Serapias / taurobolium fecit / et aram taurobolatam // posuit / per sacerdotes / Valerio Pancarpo / idib(us) Mais Anullino II / et Frontone co(n)s(ulibus). 101 Rieger, 2004, pp. 110-112. 102 For an overview of Egyptian cults in Ostia, see Floriani Squarciapino, 1962, pp. 19-36 and Meiggs, 1973, pp. 367-370. See also Mols, 2007.


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shown that Isis was worshipped by both men and women. E. Hemelrijk states that the participation of women in the cult of Isis has been overestimated. This is partly due to the picture of the cult of Isis in ancient literature, where especially women of lower social status are emphasized as devotees of the Egyptian goddess. However, most priests of Isis known from epigraphic sources are male.103 This holds true for Ostia, too. No priestess of Isis is recorded in Ostian inscriptions. The majority of the epigraphic evidence for the worship of Egyptian deities in Ostia and Portus deals with the cult of Serapis and male priests and devotees.104 Women made dedications to Isis and Bubastis, but not to Serapis. The cult sites of the Egyptian deities are not easy to spot in Ostia, since no temple of Isis has been discovered so far. There is, however, epigraphic evidence for the existence of the sanctuary of Isis in both Ostia and Portus, and many finds connected with Egyptian deities have been excavated by the river. A Serapeum has been excavated on the northern side of the city.105 According to the Fasti Ostienses, the temple was dedicated by a Caltilius on Emperor Hadrian’s birthday in 127 ce. The temple is built in the same style as the neighbouring buildings, which include residential buildings, horrea, shops, and baths, Terme della Trinacria. There was also a Mithraeum close to the Serapeum.106 It looks like a very normal Ostian neighbourhood. There has been speculation as to whether the Caltilius who funded the temple was a rich freedman, but since his cognomen has not been preserved, it is hard to prove. A lady with the same nomen, Caltilia Diodora, who is identified as a Bubastiaca, donated a silver statuette of Venus and two golden wreaths to Isis Bubastis.107 These donations were made in accordance with her will. It would be tempting to conclude that the donor of these luxurious gifts was from the same family as the Caltilius who built the temple of Serapis, but we cannot be certain about that. Bubastis was an epithet of Isis referring to her role as a protector of fertility and pregnant women. Only female worshippers of Bubastis (Bubastiacae) are known from inscriptions.108 Unfortunately, Caltilia Diodora is the only Bubastiaca we know from Ostia. So, we cannot say whether there was some kind of ‘sisterhood’ devoted to the worship of Isis Bubastis specifically. 103 Hemelrijk, 2015, pp. 46-47. 104 The epigraphic evidence for the Egyptian cults in Ostia and Portus is collected in Vidman, 1969, pp. 244-260. 105 Meiggs, 1973, pp. 367-368. 106 Floriani Squarciapino, 1962, pp. 19-21; Meiggs, 1973, p. 367. 107 CIL XIV 21; Vermaseren, 1978, p. 248. 108 Heyob, 1975, pp. 70-72.

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The organization of the cult of the Egyptian deities in Ostia is not well known. So, it is not clear if there were cultic collegia similar to those in the cult of Magna Mater and Attis. However, the rooms and buildings by the Serapeum suggest there was a need for rooms for ritual banquets and gatherings.109 Worshippers of Isis were called Isiaci or Isiacae according to the gender of the worshipper. Isiaci and Isiacae certainly were devotees of the goddess Isis, perhaps persons initiated in mysteries or members of cultic communities.110 Several names of Ostian male and female worshippers of Isis are inscribed on graves, and there are also images referring to Egyptian cults, such as sistrum and an Apis bull, on Ostian gravestones.111 The grave of Cornelia Cocceia was erected by her parents, and her father Cornelius Victorinus is recorded as an Isiacus.112 He may have been the same man who donated a silver statuette of Mars to the temple of Isis.113 We do not know if his wife and daughter, too, were devotees of Isis. The daughter is, however, commemorated as a filia pudicissima et religiosissima. This might be a reference to her religious activity, perhaps in the same cult as her father. Furthermore, a woman called Arruntia Dynamis is recorded on her tomb to have been an Isiaca.114 The tomb was erected by her mother Arruntia Helpis. They were probably freedwomen, who in general were among the most typical devotees of the Egyptian deities. Egyptian symbols and motifs on some tombstones may refer to Egyptian cults. For example, symbols referring to the cult of Isis and Serapis can be seen on the tomb of Flavia Caecilia and Q. Maecius Iuvenalis. An early example is a painted female figure with a sistrum on a tomb of the Augustan era by Porta Laurentina, the so-called Tomba della Sacedotessa Isiaca.115 Some caution is, however, needed before interpreting too hastily every Egyptian motif as a proof of devotion to Egyptian deities. There was a sanctuary of Isis and Serapis in the Portus area, too. The majority of inscriptions concerning Egyptian deities in Portus are written in Greek.116 In Portus, a specific building, a megaron, was apparently dedicated to Isis. A megaron was a building usually connected with the worship of Demeter. In the context of Portus, this might refer to the grain 109 Steuernagel, 2004, p. 220. 110 Vidman, 1970, pp. 89-92. 111 Meiggs, 1973, pp. 369-370. 112 CIL XIV 343. 113 Vidman, 1969, p. 251; Steuernagel, 2004, p. 221. 114 CIL XIV 302. 115 Meiggs, 1973, pp. 369-370; Steuernagel, 2004, pp. 220-221. 116 Meiggs, 1973, p. 368.


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trade between Alexandria and Ostia.117 The building was extended by two women, Calventia Severina and her relative (nepos) Aurelia Severa, who fulfilled their vow by this donation.118 This kind of donation by two women for a sanctuary is unique in Ostia. All the cases I have discussed so far have dealt with goddesses venerated by women. In the ancient world, priestesses basically served only goddesses, but goddesses could also have male priests.119 Surprisingly, perhaps, we know only male priests of Isis from Ostia. As some deities could be considered as exclusively dealing with women, some deities were exclusively meant for the male population. The cult of Mithras is the best example of an allmale cult. Another all-male cult might be the cult of Silvanus, a deity that was supposedly even dangerous to women. Silvanus was quite popular in Ostia and associated with many deities, Magna Mater and Isis, too, and the Imperial cult. There was a small sanctuary or chapel of Silvanus in a large bakery close to the House of Diana. On the basis of the epigraphic evidence, the worshippers of Silvanus were of relatively low social status. Dedications were mainly made by slaves and freedmen.120 Among these dedications there is also one made by a couple. The slaves Anteros and Theodora had funded the restoration of the sanctuary of Silvanus.121 This contradicts assumptions about what kind of cults women could support. The inscriptions actually show that Silvanus had many female devotees. There is a disparity between the literary and epigraphic sources regarding the gender issue in a similar way as in the case of the cult of Bona Dea.122 The relationship between Anteros and Theodora is not specified in the inscription. Slaves could not be legally married, but male and female slaves were often allowed to live like couples in their owner’s household.

Conclusions Social hierarchies are very visible in the religious life of Ostia. Priesthoods of the cults dating back to the Republican era and of the deified members of the Imperial family were confined to men and women of the local elite. 117 Floriani Squarciapino, 1962, pp. 29-30; CIL XIV 18. 118 CIL XIV 19: Voto suscepto / Calventia Severina/ et Aurelia Severa/ nepos megarum // ampliaveriunt. 119 Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 50. 120 Meiggs, 1973, pp. 383-384; Dorcey, 1992, pp. 113-115. 121 CIL XIV 4327. 122 Dorcey, 1992, pp. 125-126.

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The heterogeneous mass of the non-elite population was active in different kinds of cults, individually chosen and originating especially from the southern and eastern parts of the Roman Empire. As for the traditional Roman cults of women, there is evidence only for the cult of Bona Dea. The cult of Bona Dea also seems to have been favoured by women of the Ostian elite. However, it does not seem to have been an exclusively elite cult in the Imperial era, since there is evidence for a donation by a freedwoman. There is not enough evidence to tell if women of the elite and non-elite celebrated Bona Dea together in Ostia. The kitchen, portico, and other rooms within the sanctuary of Bona Dea in Regio V suggest that gatherings and banquets could be organized there, even if for a rather reduced amount of people. The cult of Bona Dea seems to have been the only specif ically and exclusively or predominantly female cult in Ostia. Apparently it was fully recognized and respected by the local authorities: the temple of Bona Dea at the Porta Marina was built by the highest local magistrate of the time. No priestesses of Bona Dea are, however, known from Ostia. Instead, two priestesses in the service of the cult of the deified empresses are known. The evidence for women’s religious activity in Ostia is most abundant for the cults of Magna Mater and Attis as well as the cult of Isis. This means there are more traces of women of the non-elite acting in religion than of elite women. Women of the local elite could, however, gain visibility in several ways. They could be honoured with public statues if they had made a great benefaction to the community or because of their prominent family. For women of lower standing, participation in a religious cult was often their only public distinction, commemorated inside the cult community or on their tombs. Thus, activity in religious cults may have been a more visible part of the civic identity of an Ostian women of the sub-elite or lower classes. The cults of the Egyptian deities as well as Magna Mater, Attis, and Bellona were highly popular in Ostia. They were not gender-specific, even if Magna Mater and Isis supposedly had great appeal to women. People with very different backgrounds could find a religious home and feeling of community in these cults. Freedmen, in particular, seem to have been the most active members of these cult communities. Women were active in the same way as men: they made dedications and donations, they were members of the religious collegia, even in honorary positions, they held sacerdotal or other cultic offices. They do not seem, however, to have had leading positions inside the cults. In sum, persons who could not have positions of social distinction in the local society could be respected members of the community in these cultic contexts. One striking element in the cases I have been discussing in this article is the activity of married couples. Women’s family background and marriage


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must also be paid attention to. Elite families had their traditions in which women also had their roles. As for the non-elite, there is evidence for couples where the husband held high offices in trade guilds whereas the wife was active in some oriental cult. Religion could work as a marker of differentiation among the sub-elite, too. If the husband had a powerful position in the local administration or religion, his wife might have been visible and active in a local cult and generously supporting a sanctuary. Interestingly, this does not apply only to the local elite. There are examples of couples with a freedmen’s status or background acting in the same way. The husband might have been a member of one of the professional collegia of Ostia or a sevir Augustalis and the wife active in the cult of Magna Mater, for example. Sometimes both husband and wife had a priesthood or were members of the same religious collegium. Family mattered. As for the elite, the family had perhaps supported a certain cult for generations. Families of freedmen’s status may have been devoted to one cult together. If Anteros and Theodora, who made a donation to the sanctuary of Silvanus, were a couple, it can be said that even slave couples could follow the same pattern. Public munificence and priesthoods brought social distinction and respect to women of both the local elite and non-elite. The only difference lies in the scale of the benefactions. A woman of the elite could fund a whole building, while a woman of more humble status may have donated a small statuette. Basically women acted like men when making dedications and donations to deities, sanctuaries, and cult communities. There was no female way of acting in this sphere. Women, who generally had less wealth of their own, have just left fewer traces of their religious activity than men. Furthermore, there were fewer priesthoods available for women than men. Women’s religious agency in Ostia was practically as variable as that of men, even if priestesses were fewer than male priests. The evidence from the Late Republican period to the third century ce is rich enough to show how active women were and in how many different ways they participated in the religious life of Ostia.

Bibliography Anthony Barrett, Livia, First Lady of Imperial Rome (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002). Hendrik Brouwer, Bona Dea. The Sources and a Description of the Cult. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1989). Guido Calza, ‘Il santuario della Magna Mater a Ostia’, Atti della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, Serie III, Vol. VI (1943), 183-205.

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Mireille Cébeillac, ‘Octavia, épouse de Gamala, et la Bona Dea’, Mélanges de l’école francaise de Rome, 85:2 (1973), 517-553. Alison Cooley, ‘Women beyond Rome: Trend-Setters or Dedicated Followers of Fashion?’, in Women and the Roman City in the Latin West, ed. by Emily Hemelrijk and Greg Woolf (Leiden: Brill, 2013), pp. 23-46. Alison Cooley ‘Multiple Meanings in the Sanctuary of the Magna Mater at Ostia’, Religion in the Roman Empire, 1 (2015), 242-262. Meghan DiLuzio, A Place at the Altar. Priestesses in Republican Rome (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016). Peter Dorcey, The Cult of Silvanus. A Study in Roman Folk Religion (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992). Maria Floriani Squarciapino, I culti orientali ad Ostia (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1962). Anne Helttula, Tryggve Gestrin, Maijastina Kahlos, Reija Pentti-Tuomisto, Pekka Tuomisto, Raija Vainio and Risto Valjus, ed., Le iscrizioni sepolcrali latine nell’Isola Sacra (Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 2007). Emily Hemelrijk, ‘Patronesses and “Mothers” of Roman Collegia’, Classical Antiquity, 27:1 (2008), 115-162. Emily Hemelrijk, Hidden Lives, Public Personae. Women and Civic Life in the Roman West (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). Sharon Kelly Heyob, The Cult of Isis among Women in the Graeco-Roman World (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1975). Heinz Herzig, ‘Frauen in Ostia. Ein Beitrag zur Sozialgeshichte der Hafenstadt Roms’, Historia, 32 (1983), 77-92. Antonio Licordari, ‘In margine ai Fasti Ostienses’, Archeologia Classica, 36 (1984), 347-352. Attilio Mastrocinque, Bona Dea and the Cults of Roman Women (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2014). Maura Medri, Stella Falzone, Marina Lo Blundo, and Silvia Calvigioni, ‘Le fasi costruttive del Santuario di Bona Dea (V, X, 2). Relazione sulle indagini svolte negli anni 2012-2013’, The Journal of Fasti Online (2017). http://www.fastionline. org/docs/FOLDER-it-2017-375.pdf. Russell Meiggs, Roman Ostia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973). Stephan Mols, ‘The Urban Context of the Serapeum at Ostia’, Bulletin Antieke Beschaving, 82 (2007), 227-232. Henrik Mouritsen, The Freedman in the Roman World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). Sonia Mucznik, ‘Roman Priestesses. The Case of Metilia Acte’, Assaph, 4 (1999), 61-78. Anna-Katharina Rieger, Heiligtümer in Ostia (Munich: Verlag Dr Friedrich Pfeil, 2004).


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Celia Schultz, Women’s Religious Activity in the Roman Republic (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006). Beth Severy, Augustus and the Family at the Birth of the Roman Empire (New York and London: Routledge, 2003). Wolfgang Spickermann, ‘Women and the Cult of Magna Mater in the Western Provinces’, in Women and the Roman City in the Latin West, ed. by Emily Hemelrijk and Greg Woolf (Leiden: Brill, 2013), pp. 147-168. Dirk Steuernagel, Kult und Alltag in römischen Hafenstädten. Soziale Prozesse in archaeologischer Perspektive (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2004). Maarten Vermaseren, Corpus Cultus Cybelae Attidisque 4: Italia – aliae provinciae (Leiden: Brill, 1978). Ladislav Vidman, Sylloge inscriptionum religionis Isiacae et Sarapiacae (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter and Co, 1969). Ladislav Vidman, Isis und Sarapis bei den Griechen und Römern (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter and Co, 1970). Carlo Ludovico Visconti, ‘I monumenti del Metroon Ostiense e degli annessi collegi dei dendrofori e dei cannofori’, Annali dell’Istituto di corrispondenza archeologica, 40 (1868), 362-413. Fausto Zevi, ‘Culti “Claudii” a Ostia e a Roma: qualche osservazione’, Archaeologia Classica, 49 (1997), 435-471.

About the Author Dr Marja-Leena Hänninen is a Docent of Ancient History at the University of Tampere and teaches ancient history at the University of Helsinki.


The Invisible Women of Roman Agrarian Work and Economy Lena Larsson Lovén

Abstract This contribution discusses work hierarchies and gender structures in Roman agricultural economy and production. It is largely based on agricultural texts, starting with Cato the Elder, and the focus is on female work roles and identities. It will be argued that textile production was an essential part of the agrarian economy and that it was mainly the responsibility of women. The evidence of work identities of Roman women is more limited than those of men, especially for those outside urban contexts. This has made rural women largely invisible to a modern reader but more information can be added by using material evidence more firmly. This chapter is an attempt to discuss possibilities of identifying female work roles in agricultural contexts. Keywords: agrarian economy, memory, female invisibility, textile production, women’s work identity

Introduction Working people constituted the vast majority of the population in the Roman world and as such they have largely been neglected by ancient writers and modern scholarship alike until quite recently.1 The relative invisibility of working groups is one of several biases in ancient sources, another is the lesser grade of visibility for women compared to that of men. The relative invisibility of Roman women was pointed out by Moses Finley in a paper 1 For a recent overview of studies of Roman crafts and modern scholarship see Flohr and Wilson, 2016, pp. 23-54.

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch03

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already in 1965 (‘The Silent Women of Rome’).2 This is especially true for female workers where a gender discrepancy is clearly demonstrated in the documentation of male and female work. In spite of a rich body of evidence of Roman job titles, comprising thousands of epigraphic instances, relatively few female jobs occur there: the evidence more clearly documents male work and occupations.3 The sources, however, display some shades of female invisibility based on agents such as geography and social class. Information about Roman jobs comes mostly from the epigraphy of urban contexts4 which in turn has formed the basis for several studies in modern scholarship concerning Roman occupations, work organisation, and professional identities in primarily urban centres.5 In spite of agricultural production being the economic base throughout Antiquity, there has been less focus in ancient writings and modern studies on life in the countryside and in work related to agricultural production. Consequently, both men and women involved in farm work are less visible than workers in urban contexts but the marginalisation and invisibility of women in agricultural work is especially striking. Women working in rural contexts have by Walter Scheidel been labelled, ‘the most silent women in the ancient world’.6 It is true that the evidence concerning female farm workers is scant, but in this contribution an attempt will be made to discuss the work conditions and possible professional identities and economic roles of women in Roman agricultural production, with a focus on Roman Italy.

Structure and organisation of farm work in the view of agrarian texts A good deal of our knowledge of the organisation of Roman farm work is based on the agrarian texts of writers such as De Agricultura by Cato the Elder, De Re Rustica by Varro and De Re Rustica by Columella. Together these texts cover a period of more the 200 years and they offer an insight over time, from the early second century bce to the mid first century ce, 2 Finley, 1965, pp. 57-64. 3 See Joshel, 1992; Dixon, 2000/2001. 4 Cf. papers of Hänninen and Vuolanto in this volume, with emphasis on urban context. 5 Treggiari, 1975; 1976; 1979; Eichenauer, 1988; Joshel, 1992; Dixon, 2001; Dixon, 2000/2001; Larsson Lovén, 2016; Flohr, 2017; Laes and Verboven (eds.), 2017. For examples of female professional identities in iconography see also Kampen, 1981. For an overview of Roman work iconography in general see Zimmer, 1982. 6 Scheidel, 1995.

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of how farm work was organized and distributed among various kinds of rural labour. Different categories of men and women worked on country estates and they formed a mix of people, of slaves, freed, and free workers; some lived there permanently, and some belonged to the work force that was hired more temporarily.7 There is no detailed description in the agrarian texts of how work on country estates was organized but it seems clear that there was a hierarchical work structure on larger estates, with one or a few supervisors.8 The person who held the key position as supervisor in the work hierarchy was the vilicus, who lived on the farm and who was assigned various tasks: one of them was to supervise the work of the slaves.9 As a supervisor the vilicus was a privileged member of the household and he is often considered to have formed a couple with the female equivalent, the vilica, who will be further discussed below. Occasionally work specialisation among those who had a more subordinate position is also mentioned in the agrarian texts. Furthermore, it is mentioned how the work was to be organized according to the size of an estate and its specialisation, concerning animal husbandry, or the cultivation of various crops. For instance, according to Cato an estate of 240 iugera cultivating olives should have a couple of specialized men among the workers such as a donkey man, a swineherd, and a shepherd.10 Farms cultivating olives and vineyards would have other specialized workers appropriate for the specialisation of the farm.11 Some of the tasks mentioned in the text are very specific and are therefore likely to have implied experiences and special skills which were necessary to make the farm a profitable unit. However, all specialized tasks may not have been present throughout the year as some of them were of seasonal character. Other categories of workers, for instance those involved in food preparation, had to be present at the estate around the year since preparing and serving food was part of the daily routines. For such tasks and for those working in the kitchen region, a chef could 7 Varro, Rust. 1.17.2; Wikander, 2009, p. 515. The calculation of the number of female slaves in rural households is a subject of variations, for an example see Roth, 2007, chapter 2. For a discussion of the proportions of free and slave labour in rustic household see Launaro, 2011, pp. 170-177. 8 For an overview of specific work tasks see Bradley, 1994, pp. 58-61. 9 Varro, Rust. 1.2.11. For further discussions on the training and recruitment of a vilicus see Carlsen, 1994 and 2010. 10 Varro, Rust. 11.1. 11 Columella mentions oil producers; Rust. 12.52.13. and those responsible for the oil presses, 12.52.10; 12.54.2. For more specialized work tasks on vineyards, see 4.17.5-8.

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have acted as a supervisor.12 More or less permanent farm labour could be completed with workmen of special skills, as is mentioned by Varro, and according to him such temporary help could be hired from other farms in the neighbourhood or from local urban centres.13

The vilica and female farm work The agricultural texts thus give some general insight into how work and labour could be organized on a Roman farm, although not in great detail. The information is especially scarce for female workers who appear only rarely in the texts. The female role most regularly referred to is the vilica, who is mentioned especially in the texts by Cato and by Columella. They give information about what was expected from a vilica, and of her looks and manners. A vilica was a member of the household who clearly seems to have belonged to the permanent staff of the farm. She was a person with a variety of indoor responsibilities and within this realm she could act as a supervisor of the slaves’ work. It was also in her power to decide which slaves were to work in- or outdoors. If any of the slaves fell ill or were injured, that too was the responsibility of the vilica who should find proper medical assistance for a slave in need. Food storage and food preparation were some of the other areas of responsibility of a vilica who was also to organize the meals for the vilicus and other members of the staff. Furthermore, she was to control the quality of food brought into the farm and which parts of it were due for immediate consumption/use, or which were to be stored on the farm. According to Cato a vilica was also responsible for keeping the house clean and proper, and before, going to bed, she was to tidy up the area around the hearth.14 It is clear that, like a vilicus, a vilica had several different responsibilities and she is the most frequently mentioned female member among farm workers. In addition to what is listed above in terms of work capacity, both Cato and Columella also have commented on her looks and preferred behaviour as her manners were a reflection of her importance and position in the household. She was expected to have a decent appearance, to be careful with money, and not to socialize too much with other women in the neighbourhood. According to Columella a young vilica was preferred, 12 Varro, Rust. 1.16.5; Columella, Rust. 12.3.4. 13 Columella, Rust. 12.3.4. 14 Cato, Agr. 1.143.

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however not too young, and of good health. She was to be neither too good looking, nor ugly.15 The recurrent mentioning of the vilica in the agrarian texts, not only reflects her central position in the work hierarchy of an estate, but it is also a mirror of her status compared to other women of the household. She supervized other parts of the labour, and although some passages specify what she was supposed to do in terms of practical work, it is not easily identif ied how much the vilica actually did perform herself. Her main role may have been as supervisor and her position in the household may partly be compared to that of a domina in an urban household, with the over-arching control of the slaves working in the house and the kitchen, of food provisions, and the preparation of food. Her role as supervisor of the slaves working indoors is also a reflection of a general gender biased gap in the view of male and female work where women’s work primarily was assigned to inside the house, at least in the ideal world, and men’s work was to take place outdoors.16 A vilica had an elevated position in the farm household. Her work tasks partly interacted with those of the vilicus although her status was always inferior to his position, and both of them were, of course, subjects of the owner of the estate. According to Cato, a vilicus should live with a woman who may not always have been his own choice, but still, he ought to be content and live in harmony with his female partner.17 Based on this, it has been assumed that the partner of the vilicus was often a vilica and that they held their positions as a couple together which, in the absence of the owner, put them in control of the estate. The assumption of regular couples of vilicus and vilica has recently been questioned by Ulrike Roth who acknowledges such couples of partners, or husband and wife, but Roth has also argued that a woman could be a vilica in her own right, without being the partner of a vilicus.18 Both the vilicus and the vilica appear regularly to have been of slave status: as such they could not marry legally but they could still live together in a long marriage-like relationship as husband and wife in practice. Family relations were generally considered to have promoted a stable social situation within a household and slave owners appear to 15 Cato, Agr. 1.143; Columella, Rust. 1.1.2. 16 Roth 2007, 48. 17 Cato, Agr. 143.1. 18 Roth, 2004, pp. 103-110; Roth, 2007, p. 49. Columella also mentions that a vilicus should have a female partner (1.8.5) and it has been assumed that she was a vilica; Roth 2004, 111. See also Gardner, 1986, p. 203; Carlsen, 1993, pp. 197-198. for a discussion of relations between vilicus and vilica.

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have regularly encouraged their slaves to form families with other slaves of the familia in order to create stability in the household. Children of such unions were born into slavery and as such they belonged to the owner. Slave children could be sold at any time or they could be brought up on the estate and trained to form future workers but it was a decision entirely in the hands of the owner. Family life among slaves on rural estates may have developed over time and become more common in Imperial times than for instance in the time of Cato the Elder. If freed, a slave could enter into a legal marriage after manumission, and have children of legitimate status, which changed the legal conditions of such a child compared to one born as a slave.19

Women’s work and textile farm production A farm was a productive unit that needed to produce enough quantities of goods, in order to survive and develop. In addition to its alignment in husbandry or crop cultivations, more could be produced on an estate. One type of household products commonly produced on farms was textiles. Looms are mentioned in the agrarian texts and they appear to have been part of the standard equipment on farms of various sizes. For instance, in the passage where Cato writes about an estate of 240 iugera, for cultivating olives, he also mentions two looms as part of the equipment of the estate.20 In another passage, about having a villa built, one loom is mentioned and it seems normal to find looms on a farm, but the number of looms could vary according to the size of the estate, and consequently to its production capacity.21 Weaving is a crucial element in textile production, which would take place indoors as the loom needs to be put up in a fixed and sheltered place. As such this work was in the realm of the vilica and weaving was done primarily by women. Wool was the major textile f ibre in Roman times and it was one of the products from sheep breeding. Before weaving, the wool fibres had to go through some preparatory stages and one of them was spinning. This was considered a female task and was done by a hand spindle, a light-weight instrument that made the work flexible in terms of 19 For an extensive study of Roman marriage laws see Treggiari, 1991 (under the word ‘slaves’); Mouritsen, 2011. 20 Cato, Agr. 10.5. 21 Cato, Agr. 14.5.

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location. It could be done indoors but also outside the house. According to Pliny the Elder, it was a common sight in the countryside to see women spinning, both inside and outside a house. Spinning women may, however, not have been considered to be professional spinners as this could be a mere part of women’s ordinary, daily work routines in a household. 22 A partly preserved Roman third century ce mosaic from Tabarka, in Tunisia (today situated in Bardo museum, Tunis), can be seen as an iconographic parallel to the information given by Pliny. The scene represents what appears to be a large country estate and in the lower left corner of the picture, a woman is sitting outdoors and occupied with spinning. This is another indication of how spinning could take place almost anywhere, and appears to have been a common practice over the centuries. In many cases it is likely to have been one of several work tasks done by women on a farm but on larger estates in Imperial times some kind of work specialization is not unlikely. Wherever the spinning took place, it was the responsibility of the vilica and she was to have work prepared for days when outdoor work was difficult or not possible at all, such as on too cold or rainy days. A woman could more easily fulf il a day’s work at the loom, says Columella, if wool had already been prepared through spinning and carding.23 He also mentions weaving as a female task and Varro briefly mentions weavers and weaving workshops.24 Producing textiles could be done on many different scales in Imperial times. It could be anything from a limited production in individual households to large scale production generating surplus that could be sold off and that would render an income to the household. It was the duty and responsibility of the estate owner to provide clothes for the slaves.25 To some extent, such clothes could be produced locally on the estate, and thus most likely by the women on the farm. Sometimes it would be more prof itable to buy the clothes, as Cato says. His advice to estate owners was to buy slaves’ clothes in Rome as this was more prof itable than to produce them on the estate.26 This mirrors the need for economic surplus of an estate but also that there was a market in trading ready-made clothes and textiles in Rome as early as in the early second century bce. There was no particular slave clothing in Roman 22 Plin. HN 26.28. 23 Columella, Rust. 12.3.8. 24 Varro, Rust. 2.1.21. If one turns to funerary epigraphy where some job titles of weavers are found of both men, textores, CIL VI 6340-6342 and women, textrices; CIL VI 6360-6362. 25 Columella, Rust. 1.8.9. 26 Cato, Agr 135.1.

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society. The status of an individual would instead be visualized and recognized through the quality and look of the clothes, in combination with other visual signs of slave status. The primary purpose of clothes used by slaves was that they should be fit for different kinds of constant work; for heavy and dirty work, and outdoor work in the cold and rain. For work that was dirty and/or implied heavy tasks, the clothing could consist of only a smaller piece of fabric like a very short tunic, an exomis, or only a loin cloth. In work which implied a somewhat higher status, a longer, knee-length tunic was normally used. Some types of clothes had by necessity to be adapted for outdoor work in cold weather. One type of male garment suitable for such conditions was the paenula, a short, hooded woollen mantle that could protect against cold weather, wind, and rain. It is mentioned by Columella as suitable for this purpose. Other protective clothes for outdoor use were tunics made of leather and jackets with warm lining, also mentioned by Columella.27 Some types of clothes could have been made on the estate while others were, as Cato mentions, more prof itable to buy elsewhere. Textiles produced on the estate could be clothes for slaves and other household members of the familia rustica. A surplus of either raw wool, spun wool, cloth, or various textile products could be sold off and render an income to the estate. John-Peter Wild has argued that textile production was primarily a rural craft. In any case the economic importance of textile production and women’s role in the agrarian economy should not be underestimated.28 Even if the agrarian texts do not give any information in detail on women’s work, there is nothing that contradicts the picture of textile production as largely performed by the women of a farm. This idea is also supported by later texts, where slave girls, ancillae, and women, lanificae, worked with wool and made clothes for the slaves and workers of the estate.29 It is therefore not a brave assumption to think of textile work as primarily women’s work. Especially spinning appears as a constant occupation for women in agricultural economy, and one that went on throughout the year. Textile production was by tradition considered to be a female responsibility and women in agrarian work and economy apparently made no exception to this tradition, however, men may also have been involved at some stages.

27 Columella, Rust. 1.8.9. 28 Wild, 1999. 29 Morel 1993, pp. 23-24; Dixon, 2001, p. 119; Roth, 2007, p. 103.

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The anonymous women in Roman farm work and economy It is obvious that women were not in the focus of Roman agrarian writers and consequently we are not presented with any detailed information of how female work was pursued on a country estate. Rather, it is through occasional mentions we can get scattered glimpses of women’s work which, in spite of its scarcity, clearly reflects traditional Roman gender roles and engendered views of male and female work.30 One is for instance, the subordination of women to men, which is mirrored in the roles of the vilicus and the vilica with his superior position in relation to her, this fits into a broader picture of male and female Roman social roles. Furthermore, the view of male and female work as an engendered division of work taking place out- or indoors involved that women were expected to work inside the house. Men could work inside the house too, but it was more socially accepted for men to work outdoors.31 But, indirectly it appears that women too could work outdoors as we learn from the passage in Columella where he says that the vilica should have tasks prepared for indoor work when outdoor work was not possible, due to the weather conditions or for other reasons. Spinning and weaving, i.e. traditional female occupations, were suitable indoor jobs on these days.32 This indicates that women, or at least some women, also worked outdoors. A similar situation may be seen from urban contexts where there are examples of women occupied in various trades in shops and bars, as is demonstrated both in epigraphy and iconography.33 Women in the countryside, spinning and weaving on rainy days in combination with other outdoor tasks in better weather conditions may be just one of several examples of how slaves on an estate had various work tasks. This does not contradict a general gender division in work where women primarily were confined to indoor work and men worked outside. Domestic work was socially accepted for women of all social classes while work outside the private sphere was not considered suitable for women of higher status. As mentioned above, on country estates, the work indoors was the responsibility of the vilica who in this capacity can be compared to the Roman house wife. An adult married woman was not expected to live a life 30 Even if urban context provides more sources considering women, even then the evidence provides only glimpses of women’s everyday life, providing similar methodological problems; see Vuolanto in this volume. 31 See Treggari, 1976 for comparisons in urban contexts. 32 Columella, Rust. 12.3.5-6. 33 See Kampen, 1981; Zimmer, 1982, for examples in iconography. For iconographic examples of (urban) women engaged in selling products see Kampen, 1982.

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in idleness but to work diligently in a domestic setting with a responsibility of supervising and distributing work for the slaves in the house. One of the most important tasks for women was to produce textiles, and especially to work with wool, lana, the primary Roman textile fibre. To connect women’s work with textiles was a persistent tradition and on an ideological level as textile production, and especially the preparation of wool, was always seen as primarily female work. A woman who worked with wool became a long-lasting emblem for a virtuous woman of good moral standards, a view that is regularly underpinned in various sources and over time. The well-known episode in Livy, of the aristocratic and virtuous Lucretia who stayed at home and worked with wool late at night is an example of how an ideal woman could be envisaged.34 The same ideological views are expressed in the story of Augustus where the women of the Imperial household are said to have worked with wool and produced textiles, among them the clothes worn by the emperor himself.35 In funerary epigraphy the same ideal could be expressed by the standard phrase lanam fecit, and a visual parallel is found particularly in funerary iconography, where women are recurrently depicted with symbols of spinning, such as balls of yarn, spindles, and a wool basket, quasillum.36 According to Columella, the importance and influence of a vilica increased when the owner’s wife lost interest in the household and preferred a more interesting social life in the city. In the good old days, the women took responsibility for the household and spent time on the country estate. Instead of traditional house work, women in his day, Columella says, were more interested in an idle life and luxury.37 Women working with wool or occupied with textile work also appear in the agrarian texts, although not in any detail. This reflects partly what a larger estate could produce, and partly some female roles in farm work. The idea of a work specialisation at larger country estates of the Imperial period was mentioned above as a possibility. From urban households there are inscriptions of slaves who have documented themselves in various professional roles related to textile productions and other jobs, such as weavers, spinners, wool-weighers, and more.38 A similar specialized work 34 Livy, 1.57.4-5. 35 Suet. Aug. 14. 36 CIL 1.1527; for textile work in funerary iconography see Larsson Lovén, 1998. 37 Columella, Rust. 12, praef. 7-10. See also Dixon 2001, pp. 56-66, for a further discussion on the topic. 38 Spinners/quasillariae: Treggiari, 1976, p. 84; CIL VI 6339-6346; female weavers/textrices: VI 6360-6362; woolweighers/lanipendae: VI 9406-9498. For more details on women and textile work in epigraphy see Dixon, 2000/01; Larsson Lovén, 2013.

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structure may be plausible also for larger country households that produced textiles, but we do not have the same kind of evidence from rural contexts. As the epigraphic habit was mainly an urban tradition we cannot tell how farm slaves and manumitted men and women may have viewed themselves in terms of a work identity.39 Still, it is not unlikely that rural labour on larger estates, with an extensive number of slaves, may have had specialized work tasks, like in a large town household. In the local work hierarchy of the estate, they may have identified themselves through a primary work role but without commemorative documents. In general, information concerning work identities of single individuals comes primarily from funerary epigraphy which does not supply many details about a lived life, providing name, age, family relations, and work identity. As this kind of information is mostly missing for farm workers, this complicates the understanding of the organisation of agrarian work and hierarchies, and how farm labourers viewed themselves in terms of work identities. One may still consider if, for instance, the women who were spinning daily both inside and outside a house, who may have been trained since childhood and with a life-long training were less professional than a woman from an urban context who documented herself as quasillaria?40 Could women of the countryside not in reality have been as skilled spinners as urban quasillariae, but have not identified and commemorated themselves as such? This highlights the general problem of identifying women, their work roles in rural labour, and their possible work identities. With only scant evidence of women of the countryside, we can still see some unifying agents in the life conditions of Roman women in urban and rural contexts alike and across social categories. Women were subject to male authority and female lives have been documented and commemorated to a lesser degree than that of men and more rarely by themselves. Furthermore, the biological role was central in female lives, as were marriage, family, economy, and work but with very different prerequisites depending on social class and legal status. To have a family appears as very important for free members of the Roman citizen body, as well as for manumitted men and women, and slaves. Only free citizens and manumitted men and women could marry legally while slaves could not. They could live in marriage-like unions but were dependent on the permission of the owner to build a family. Advice is also given in the agrarian texts on how to build partnerships between men and women of different categories of farm labour, both among 39 For a recent discussion on work and identity see Flohr, 2017. 40 CIL VI 6339-6346, VI 9495, VI 9849a, 9850.

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those who were free and those who were slaves. According to Varro, for men living on the farm, they are advised to have some cattle and to take a female slave as a partner with whom they can procreate. A stable social situation, with a family, would make them more loyal to the farm. Free peasants with smaller units could farm the land themselves and with the help of their offspring. 41 This also shows how Roman children were put to work at a very early age: assumingly also the women of such a family took part in the work, and in various kinds of tasks that needed to be done. By necessity, all members of a family unit worked on the farm and for the family. Another category mentioned by Varro is the herdsmen and their partners. If they were herdsmen living on the estate they too could have a female slave as a partner to build a family. 42 The herdsmen who took the flocks to graze and did not have a permanent house, but lived in huts or in temporary shelters, were also advised to have a relation with a woman. However, nothing further is said about whether this could be a short or a long-term relationship with the purpose of having a family. 43 A woman who joined a moving herdsman, however, needed special qualifications. She had to be strong with a firm and consistent work capacity and she should not be ‘ugly’. Women with these qualifications, says Varro, were to be found especially in Illyria. There, Varro claims, women were ‘not ugly’, they could work, cook, drive animals to pasture, and they could also give birth to babies without any noticeable interruption from their work.44 Such women could obviously manage a lot, like easily giving birth to babies, breast feed them, and continue to work as if nothing had really interrupted them or happened to their bodies. In short, this Illyrian superwoman seems to have been multi-talented and omnipresent to serve a man in whatever was needed, and may one ask, with such a woman at hand, was the man himself really needed? No similar characteristics are said about Roman women but we may still assume that women living on a large country estate were assigned with several different work tasks, that they gave birth to babies, and that they worked most of the day and around the year. The time spent and the character of the work may, however, have varied in accordance with various individual agents such as age, personal skills and qualifications, position and status in the household hierarchy, and other circumstances. To gain some understanding of women’s life and work conditions, we need to read 41 Varro, Rust. 1.17.2-7. 42 Varro, Rust. 2.6.10. 43 Varro, Rust. 2.10.7-9. 44 Varro, Rust. 2.10.6.

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between the lines, as often when it comes to understand the life conditions of women in the ancient world. 45 To look for women’s occupational and economic roles in rural contexts obviously involves complications and limitations. For a pursuit of female professional roles in Roman economy, it is more rewarding to look at evidence from urban centres, and especially the epigraphic evidence but neither does the documentation and commemoration of women in urban contexts primarily focus on female work and women’s professional roles. Instead, Roman gender based ideals gave priority to traditional female roles, such as the married housewife and motherhood. These characteristics appear regularly in stories and commemorative documents of women. The sketchy picture of women’s work presented in the agrarian writings is, however, that women worked around the clock, their work was important for the economy of a country estate but they were only rarely, at least not in the eyes of a male writer, identified in an occupational role. Still, women were definitely there, but, to paraphrase Suzanne Dixon, how do you count them when firm evidence is missing?46 The use of material evidence and more developed methods of interpretation may take us steps forward to add more information about women’s economic roles both in urban and rural contexts. 47 However, so far no ancient female voices exist on these issues and, alas, Roman rural women still remain largely silent and invisible for us.

Bibliography Keith Bradley, Slavery and Society at Rome (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). Jesper Carlsen, ‘The vilica and Roman Estate Management’, in De Agricultura: In Memoriam Pieter Willem de Neeve (1945-1990), ed. by Heleen Sancisi-Weedenburg with Robartus van der Spek, Hans Teitler and Herman Wallinga (Amsterdam: Gieben, 1993), pp. 197-205. Jesper Carlsen, Vilici and Roman Estate Managers until ad 284 (Roma: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 1994). Jesper Carlsen, ‘Recruitment and Training of Roman Estate Managers in a Comparative Perspective’, in By the Sweat of Your Brow: Roman Slavery in its Socio-Economic Setting, ed. by Ulrike Roth (London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2010), pp. 75-90. 45 Dixon, 2000/2001; Richlin, 2014. 46 Dixon, 2000/2001. 47 See Roth, 2007, especially 53-88; Stig Sørensen, 2007.

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Suzanne Dixon, ‘How Do You Count Them if They’re Not There? New Perspectives on Roman Cloth Production’, Opuscula Romana, 25/26 (2000/2001), 7-17. Suzanne Dixon, Reading Roman Women: Sources, Genres, and Real Life (London: Duckworth, 2001). Monika Eichenauer, Untersuchungen zur Arbeitswelt der Frau in den römischen Antike (Lang: Frankfurt, 1988). Moses Finley, ‘The Silent Women of Ancient Rome’, Horizon, 7 (1965), 57-64. Miko Flohr and Andrew Wilson, ‘Introduction’, in Urban Craftsmen and Traders in the Roman World, ed. by Miko Flohr and Andrew Wilson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 23-54. Miko Flohr, ‘Constructing Occupational Identities in the Roman World’, in Work, Labour and Professions in the Roman World, ed. by Christian Laes and Koenraad Verboven (Leiden: Brill, 2017), pp. 147-172. Jane Gardner, Women in Roman Law and Society (London: Croom Helm, 1986). Sandra Joshel, Work, Identity and Legal Status at Rome: A Study of the Occupational Inscriptions (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992). Natalie Kampen, Image and Status: Working Women at Ostia Berlin: Mann, 1981). Natalie Kampen, ‘Social Status and Gender in Roman Art’, in Feminism and Art History, ed. by Norma Broude and Mary Garrard, (New York: Harper and Row, 1982), pp. 63-78. Christian Laes and Koenraad Verboven, ed., Work, Labour and Professions in the Roman World (Leiden: Brill, 2017). Lena Larsson Lovén, ‘Lanam fecit: Wool Working and Female Virtue’, in Aspects of Women in Antiquity: Proceedings of the First Nordic Symposium on Women’s Lives in Antiquity, Göteborg 12-15 June 1997, ed. by Lena Larsson Lovén and Agneta Strömberg (Jonsered: P. Åströms Förlag, 1998), pp. 85-95. Lena Larsson Lovén, ‘Female Work and Identity in Roman Textile Production and Trade: A Methodological Discussion’, in Making Textiles in Pre-Roman and Roman Times: People, Places, Identities, ed. by Margarita Gleba and Judit Pásztókai-Szeóke (Oxford: Oxbow Book, 2013), pp. 109-125. Lena Larsson Lovén, ‘Women, Trade, and Production in Urban Centres’, in Urban Craftsmen and Traders in the Roman World, ed. by Miko Flohr and Andrew Wilson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 200-221. Alessandro Launaro, Peasants and Slaves: The Rural Population of Roman Italy (200 bc to ad 100) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). Jean-Paul Morel, ‘The Craftsman’, in The Romans, ed. by Andrea Giardina (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), pp. 214-241. Henrik Mouritsen, ‘The Families of Roman Slaves and Freedmen’, in A Companion to Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds, ed. by Beryl Rawson (Oxford: WileyBlackwell, 2011), pp. 129-144.

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Amy Richlin, Arguments with Silence: Writing the History of Roman Women (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014). Ulrike Roth, ‘Inscribed Meaning: the Vilica and the Villa Economy’, Papers of the British School at Rome, 74 (2004), 101-124. Ulrike Roth, Thinking Tools: Agricultural Slavery between Evidence and Models (London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2007). Walter Scheidel, ‘The Most Silent Women of Greece and Rome: Rural Labour and Women’s Life in the Ancient World’, Greece and Rome, 42:2 (1995), 202-217. Marie Louise Stig Sørensen, ‘Gender, Things, and Material Culture’, in Women in Antiquity. Theoretical Approaches to gender and Archaeology, ed. by Sarah Millefoge Nelson (Walnut Creek: Alta Mira Press, 2007), pp. 75-105. Susan Treggiari, ‘Jobs in the Household of Livia’, Papers of the British School at Rome, 30 (1975), 48-72. Susan Treggiari, ‘Jobs for Women’, American Journal of Ancient History, 1 (1976), 76-104. Susan Treggiari, ‘Lower Class Women in the Roman Economy’, Florilegium, 1 (1979), 65-86. Susan Treggiari, Roman Marriage: Iusti Coniuges from the Time of Cicero to the Time of Ulpian (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991). Örjan Wikander, ’Agrarekonomiska och sociala förhållanden’, in Tolv böcker om lantbruk: en tvåtusenårig romersk lantbrukslära. Samt Liv, lantbruk och livsmedel i Columellas värld: tolv artiklar av nutida svenska forskare (Stockholm: Kungl. Skogs- och Lantbruksakademien, 2009), pp. 490-518. John Peter Wild, ‘Textile Manufacture: A Rural Craft?’, in Artisanat et productions artisanales en milieu rural dans les provinces du nord-ouest de ‘Empire romain, ed. by Michel Polfer and Michel Mangin (Montagnac: Mergoil, 1999), pp. 29-37. Gerhard Zimmer, Römische Berufsdarstellungen (Berlin: Mann, 1982).

About the Author Dr Lena Larsson Lovén is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Gothenburg.


‘Show them that You are Marcus’s Daughter’ The Public Role of Imperial Daughters in Second- and Third-Century ce Rome Sanna Joska

Abstract This article analyses the representational power of family relationships in the interplay of Roman Imperial ideology and its local use through the daughters of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It offers new insights into constructions of gender in the Roman world and seeks to elaborate on the public roles of elite women in Roman society. The evidence discussed consists of public monuments that were made to honour the daughters and of Roman and Greek literature. The study demonstrates that Imperial daughters held great dynastic potential from the start and were honoured as young girls and respectable matronae, both because of their personal power and because they represented the power of the Roman emperor, their father. Keywords: daughters, family relationships, honorific monuments, Roman emperor, social power

Introduction Family and family relationships were one of the central ways to construct social power relations in Roman society. The importance of family was also central for the topmost figure of the Empire, the emperor. The representation of family was something emperors could use to legitimize and strengthen their position in power. Emperors utilized the imagery of their family members – women and offspring – in their public politics to refer to virtues

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch04

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connected to the private sphere and family life and to the continuity of their rule.1 From Imperial politics the imagery of family and family members was transferred to the sphere of local power discourse in Italy and the provinces of the Empire. Members of the local elite and other people of wealth and status used the imagery of Imperial ideology for their own ends. Members of city councils set up honorific dedications to members of the Imperial family in the name of their community and private people used their own money for public dedications as well.2 This paper aims to study further the representational power of family relationships in this interplay of Imperial ideology and its local use through one specific family relationship: the daughters of the Roman emperor. It is a case study of the constructions of gender in the Roman world and seeks to discuss the intersection of family and power and elaborate on the public roles of women in Roman society. This is done by asking what roles Imperial daughters had in the public life of the Empire and how social power became represented through Imperial daughters in Imperial and local discourse. Answers to these questions are sought in epigraphic evidence and literature. Gender dictated the way a person was allowed and expected to act in public life.3 The Roman elite woman reflected the status of her male relatives and could extend his reputation and influence by her own actions.4 Here the role of an Imperial daughter serves as a case study of the roles allowed to and expected of Roman elite women. Much like the public role of any woman in the Imperial family, the role of daughters in Imperial politics was primarily connected to continuity and fertility. The roles of daughters, however, deserve to be analysed not only from the viewpoint of Imperial politics but also from that of the emperor’s subjects. The focus of this paper is especially on the daughters of Marcus Aurelius (emperor between ce 161 and 180) and Faustina the Younger: Lucilla, Faustina, Cornificia, Fadilla and Sabina. These daughters, Augusti filiae, outlived most of the sons born to the Imperial couple and became influential members of the

1 The public roles of empresses and other women of the Imperial house have been widely studied, see especially Alexandridis, 2004; Keltanen, 2002; Langford, 2013. On the role of family in Imperial politics see the studies of Flory, 1996; Horster, 2007 and Severy, 2003. 2 Noreña, 2011, pp. 270-276. See also Ando, 2000 on loyalty and reciprocity between the Roman emperor and his subjects. On the role of Imperial family members in local presentations see Boschung, 2002; Horster, 2013 and Rose, 1997. 3 This idea of a ’proper’ behaviour according to one’s gender appears in every period of Imperial Rome, but traces from even older times; see Harlow and Laurence in this volume. 4 Skinner, 2014, p. 9.

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second- and third-century Roman elite.5 Their lives have, however, rarely been researched.6 The study of Hans-Georg Pflaum on their husbands (1961), the sons-in-law of Marcus Aurelius, has shed light on the lives of the daughters, as have the works of Anthony R. Birley (1987) and Barbara Levick (2014), which discuss mainly the lives of their parents. Roberta Geremia Nucci (1999-2000) has touched upon the economic agency of one of the daughters in Ostia. Finally, the recent study of Rachel Meyers (2016) gives welcome attention to the roles of women and daughters in the Antonine age by discussing the filial roles of Faustina the Younger and Lucilla in the politics of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. The main source material in this study consists of few public monuments made in honour of the Augusti filiae. These monuments will be viewed from many perspectives. First, they are a form of public recognition, honour and visual memory towards the daughters of the Imperial household at different stages of their lives. Second, they represent the identity building process of the dedicators of these monuments, who were often members of the local aristocracy. Third, certain public monuments even offer a chance to study the identity of the Imperial daughters themselves as actors in the public sphere. In addition to epigraphic evidence, the study discusses a few accounts in Roman and Greek literature that mention these daughters. These come from third-century historians such as Cassius Dio and Herodian and from the collection of Imperial biographies known as the Historia Augusta. These works were written after the era in question and are not necessarily historically reliable.7 They also represent male-oriented narrative that was written by and mostly for men.8 The interplay of memory, identity and gender is present in both source types.9 Literature and monuments are used to construct the memory and identity of both individuals and communities. They preserve the stories 5 Marcus Aurelius and Faustina probably had six daughters: Domitia Faustina, Lucilla, Aurelia Faustina, Fadilla, Cornificia, and Sabina. See further Levick, 2014, pp. 116-118. 6 The many children of Marcus and Faustina have been discussed in several studies, above all Ameling, 1992; Fittschen, 1982, pp. 22-33; Fittschen, 1999, pp. 1-10 and Kienast, 1990, pp. 139-140. These studies have been interested in the birth order and birth dates of the children. The discussion has recently been continued by Levick, 2014, heretofore the main reference for the life events of the daughters. 7 Cassius Dio and Herodian wrote during the mid-third century but the Historia Augusta was written during the fourth or fifth century. On the reliability of Cassius Dio and the Historia Augusta concerning the Antonine reign see Birley, 2012, and on Herodian see De Blois, 2003. 8 Skinner, 2014, p. 5. 9 For comparison, see article by Karivieri in this volume, dealing with ‘memory layers’ or ‘networks of memories’, that can include many type of evidence – both written and material.

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that def ine families, communities and empires.10 Gender is one of the aspects of memory and identity building, alongside, for instance, ethnicity and social class, and a construct in itself. The female gender is constructed in relation to the male gender, and in a patriarchal society such as Rome, women’s identities and statuses were built through their male relatives.11 Judith P. Hallett has analysed the role of daughters in the strategies of social power and prestige in Fathers and Daughters in Roman Society (1984). She elucidates the different familial roles of the Roman elite woman as daughter and sister and argues that the role of women was central in upper class Roman culture. Any discussion of the role of the Roman daughter will inevitably be a discussion of the role and status of the Roman elite woman. The role of a woman as daughter was obviously crucial in her early life, but in fact remained throughout her life. By the end of the Republic the sine manu marriage had become norm, which meant that upon marrying a girl was still legally as part of her birth family, instead of that of her husband.12 The legal reality bound Roman elite daughters and sons tightly to their birth family, mainly as a means of controlling the family’s wealth. Daughters had the right to inherit property from their parents just as sons of the family did and this was used above all to ensure that one household maintained possession of its property.13 Both sons and daughters were valued as the offspring and successors of their parents. Evidence of this in the context of Imperial politics can be seen, for instance, in the coinage that Emperor Vitellius hurried to mint in ce 69, which portrayed both his daughter and son. He was attempting to use his biological children to legitimate his fragile position in power.14 In terms of dynastic politics, the role of Imperial daughters lay above all in their marriage potential, which could be essential for the continuity of their father’s rule. Augustus, for instance, adopted his grandsons Gaius and Lucius as his heirs. They were the sons of his daughter Julia and her husband Marcus Agrippa, Augustus’s loyal friend.15 Like Julia, Faustina the Younger, the daughter of Emperor Antoninus Pius, had a central dynastic role. Faustina became the tie that bound Antoninus Pius and his adopted

10 Dasen and Späth, 2010, pp. 5-8; Wiseman, 2014, p. 43. 11 Hope, 2000, p. 138; Huskinson, 2000a, pp. 10-11. 12 Dixon, 1992, p. 41. 13 Hallett, 1984, p. 4; Mustakallio, 2013, pp. 26-27. 14 RIC I 2 (Vitellius) 101, 103; also Rawson, 2003, pp. 38-39. The coinage did not help Vitellius and he was superseded by Vespasian by the end of ce 69. 15 Fantham, 2006, pp. 45-46, 59-60.

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heir Marcus together when she married Marcus in 145.16 Of the daughters of Marcus and Faustina, Lucilla was given this role some thirty years later when she married Lucius Verus, Marcus’s co-emperor.17 In the end Marcus ensured the continuity of rule by his family by designating Commodus, his and Faustina’s sole surviving son, as his successor. The dynastic situation where the continuity of the Antonine rule was mostly in the hands of Lucilla and Commodus left little role for the other daughters of the family. It is specifically these daughters and their public status that is of interest here, as their dynastic role was not central but they were still members of the highest family in the Empire. I will begin by analysing the roles of the daughters of Marcus Aurelius in detail and then proceed to an analysis of the honorific monuments and the representational role of daughterhood as a familial relationship.

Augusti filia: the status of Imperial daughters According to Cassius Dio, these are the last words uttered by Cornificia, daughter of Marcus Aurelius: Antoninus, when about to kill Cornificia, bade her choose the manner of her death, as if he were thereby showing her especial honour. She first uttered many laments, and then, inspired by the memory of her father, Marcus, her grandfather, Antoninus, and her brother, Commodus, she ended by saying: ‘Poor, unhappy soul of mine, imprisoned in a vile body, fare forth, be freed, show them that you are Marcus’s daughter, whether they will or no’. Then she laid aside all the adornments in which she was arrayed, having composed herself in seemly fashion, severed her veins and died.18

This passage from Dio’s Roman History tells of the final moments of Cornificia, who was ordered to take her own life by Caracalla in ce 212/213.19 Dio has Cornificia, in her early fifties at the time, invoking her honourable male descendance. The reader is reminded that she was the granddaughter of Emperor Antoninus Pius and, above all, the daughter of Marcus Aurelius. 16 17 18 19

Levick, 2014, pp. 61-64, 110-112 on Faustina’s dynastic role. Levick, 2014, pp. 70-71. Cass. Dio 78.16.6. Translation by E. Cary. Levick, 2014, pp. 150-151.

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The story dates to the first years of Caracalla’s reign and is meant to criticize the tyrannical nature of Caracalla, his cruel and violent character. Dio gave special attention to the sufferings of the senatorial order under Caracalla and the passage concerning the fate of Cornificia, a representative of the old senatorial families and Antonine Imperial family, must be read with this approach in mind.20 Cornificia was born in ce 160, one year before her father became the emperor and was, perhaps, the ninth child of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger.21 Cornificia’s role in the Imperial family was to be one of the daughters – no more, no less. Her first marriage occurred around ce 175, when she reached marriageable age. At about the same time her younger and only surviving brother Commodus had become the designated heir of Marcus Aurelius.22 Cornificia was married, as could be expected, to a man of distinguished family with relations to the emperors. The husband, M. Petronius Sura Mamertinus,23 was related to M. Cornelius Fronto, the well-loved teacher of Marcus Aurelius, and his father had been favoured by Antoninus Pius with a promotion to senatorial rank. There were, however, no specific dynastic expectations from the marriage of Cornificia and Mamertinus, except for the general continuity of the Imperial line. Mamertinus’s fate was execution by Commodus sometime between ce 190 and 192, leaving Cornificia widowed.24 She remarried, perhaps under the influence of Septimius Severus. Severus rose to power after a period of civil war that followed the assassination of Commodus in ce 192, and to legitimize his position Severus claimed to be the son of Marcus Aurelius. By his self-proclaimed adoption Septimius Severus established continuity between his family and the Antonine Imperial dynasty and justified his position as the successor of Commodus.25 By claiming to be the son of the respected Emperor Marcus, Severus acquired two new sisters: Cornificia and Sabina.26 H.-G. Pflaum has argued that in his role as their adoptive brother Septimius Severus himself influenced the second marriages of the Antonine sisters, choosing for them spouses from the lower 20 Hose, 2007, p. 463. Dio wrote his Roman History as a contemporary of Caracalla. As a senator, the historian was acquainted with emperors personally. 21 PIR2 C 1505; PFOS 294; Levick, 2014, p. 117. 22 On Commodus’s road to becoming his father’s heir, see Hekster, 2002, pp. 30-39. 23 PIR2 P 229. 24 Pflaum, 1961, pp. 36-37. 25 Lovotti, 1998, pp. 221-222. 26 Also, the daughter Fadilla may have been alive at the time. The date of her death is uncertain: Levick, 2014, p. 117.

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elite instead of the highest senatorial class. As Anthony Birley explains, this would effectively ‘neutralize’ them as potential political threats to Severus’s rule.27 This interpretation emphasizes the dynastic importance that the daughters carried. Cornificia’s second husband was L. Didius Marinus, a member of the Roman elite, though of the equestrian order.28 Whether her second marriage was influenced by Severus or not, Cornificia’s position as a member of the Imperial family was apparently stable during Severus’s reign and conflict surfaced only under Caracalla, when she was forced to commit suicide. The last words that Dio attributed to Cornificia describe her status and the relations through which her social position was defined. She was above all a daughter and granddaughter of emperors. Daughterhood was a significant relationship under the Antonines. This has been demonstrated by Rachel Meyers in her 2016 study, which discusses father-daughter links in Imperial politics. The coinage of the Empresses Faustina the Younger and Lucilla was used to display the links between the daughters and their fathers, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. According to Meyers the representation of daughterhood on Antonine Imperial coinage represents a significant change from the coinage of previous empresses.29 The Antonines gave daughterhood a great deal of political importance and visibility. As stated, being a daughter was one of the defining relationships of an elite Roman woman, but the relationship would often be overshadowed later in life by marital status or motherhood. For the Antonine daughters, however, the importance remained, as Meyers has suggested, and as this study further hopes to prove. We can find traces of this relationship and the importance of the family line of the Antonines even some years after Cornificia’s death. In ce 221, Annia Faustina30, the great-granddaughter of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger, married Emperor Elagabalus. According to Cassius Dio the emperor was enamoured by the beautiful and noble woman and had her husband Pomponius Bassus sentenced to death so he could have her: In the case of Bassus, the real motive lay in the fact that he had a wife both fair to look upon and of noble rank; for she was a descendant of Claudius Severus and of Marcus Antoninus.31 27 28 29 30 31

Birley, 1988, p. 177. PIR2 D 71; Pflaum, 1961, pp. 36-37. Meyers, 2016, pp. 497-498. PIR2 A 710. Cass. Dio 80.5.4. Translation by E. Cary.

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The marriage was, however, short as Elagabalus divorced Annia Faustina the same year. This suggests that perhaps the marriage had a political motivation and Elagabalus made it on advice to stabilize his image in the eyes of the elite. As a descendant of the Antonine Imperial family, Annia Faustina represented the power of a much-loved dynasty.32

Lucilla: Augusta and daughter The importance of the role of a daughter becomes tangible in the public roles imposed on Lucilla. She became, as stated above, the wife of Emperor Lucius Verus in 164 and gained the honorary title of Augusta. Verus, however, died in 169 and left Lucilla as a widow after only five years of marriage. She had perhaps given birth to three children during their marriage, but only one daughter survived.33 Lucilla was allowed to keep her position as Augusta and all her Imperial privileges.34 She was soon remarried to an important ally of Marcus, the general T. Claudius Pompeianus.35 Pompeianus apparently had no dynastic role and any children from this marriage would have not been treated as potential heirs.36 Instead, Marcus Aurelius had put hope on his young sons as his successors and gave them the title of Caesar.37 After her marriage to Pompeianus, Lucilla was still an Augusta, and coinage with her name and portrait was issued, but otherwise her status in the family now resembled that of her younger sisters.38 This change of role is reflected on the honorary dedications that were set up for Lucilla. As empress and the wife of Lucius Verus she was titled in honorary monuments as Augusta and uxor.39 After Verus’s death she is instead named the daughter of Marcus. For instance, in Ephesus, in a dedication made between 175 and 180, she was honoured as the daughter

32 On the marriage, see further Icks, 2011, pp. 38-39. 33 PIR2 A 707; PFOS 54; Levick, 2014, p. 142. 34 Hdn 1.8.3; Levick, 2014, p. 148. 35 PIR2 C 973; SHA Marc. 20.6-7; Levick, 2014, pp. 73-74. 36 It has been speculated that Pompeianus, a fully capable man with military experience, did not desire power: Pflaum, 1961, pp. 32-33. See also SHA Pert. 4.10 and Did. Iul. 8.3 where the writer of Historia Augusta has Pompeianus refuse the throne. 37 The young boys M. Annius Verus and Commodus were named as Caesars in ce 166. The plan was to make them co-emperors just as Marcus and Lucius were: Birley, 1987, p. 147. 38 The end date of Lucilla’s coinage is difficult to determine but it is probable they were issued still during her marriage to Pompeianus, see Meyers, 2016, pp. 496-497. 39 See e.g. AE 1978, 840; CIL VI 360; CIL VIII 27777.

‘Show them that You are Marcus’s Daughter’


of the emperor. 40 In Eleusis she was titled as theou Antoninou thygater, just like her sisters Sabina and Faustina. 41 Lucilla still held the honorary title Augusta, but it was no longer included in the dedications. Instead, her only honour was to be the daughter of Marcus Aurelius. Lucilla’s change of status may be compared to another Augusta who had experienced similar changes decades earlier. Domitia Longina, the wife of Emperor Domitian, left the Imperial palace and the public life of the capital after the assassination of her husband in ce 96. She was not forgotten, however, and continued to receive public honours. Domitia was a prominent figure and is thought to have been implicated in the murder of her tyrannical husband. In inscriptions, she was honoured as Domitiae Corbulonis filiae. 42 Domitia’s father was the famous general Cn. Domitius Corbulo, who was forced into suicide by Nero in ce 67. It was he who had provided Domitia with her public status after the death of her husband the emperor. The case of Domitia Longina resembles that of Lucilla in that they both returned to being their father’s daughters after the death of their Imperial husbands. Of course, in the case of Lucilla her father was also the emperor, and she clearly remained a member of the Imperial family even after the death of her Imperial husband. Lucilla’s position in the Imperial family after the death of Marcus continued to be high and she still held all the privileges connected to the position of Augusta. Nevertheless, the historian Herodian says that Lucilla could not stand the new empress, Crispina, the wife of Commodus. Crispina was now the first lady of the Empire and took the seat at the theatre as well as all the other honours assigned to the Augusta. 43 This portrayal of Lucilla as embittered because of the loss of her privileges and position clearly functions as a prequel to the events of ce 182, when Lucilla was involved in a plot to murder her brother Commodus. As result she was banished to Capri and later murdered there by Commodus’s order. 44 40 IK 12, 287.3: [[Λουκίλλαν]] / [[θυγατέρα]] / [[Μ(άρκου) Αὐρηλίου Ἀντω]] / [[νείνου Καίσαρος]] / [[Σεβαστοῦ]]. The honorific group IK 12, 287.1-9 dates between the death of Faustina the Younger and Marcus Aurelius and gave honours to the Imperial couple and their six children. 41 IG II2 3402: [[Λουκίλλα]] / θεοῦ / Ἀντωνίνου / [[θ[υ]γά[τη]ρ]]. This dedication, as well as that previously discussed, was erased after Lucilla’s murder by Commodus in ce 182. Dedications to Faustina and Sabina: IG II 2 3398, 3401. 42 CIL XIV 2795; on the life of Domitia Longina see Levick, 2002. 43 Hdn. 1.8.4. Herodian explains that ‘Commodus, like his father, allowed his sister to hold these privileges, that is, to take her place on the Imperial seat at the theatre and to have the ceremonial fire carried before her’. 44 Cass. Dio 73.4.5; SHA Comm. 4.1-4.

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Augusti neptis: public honours for Imperial daughters and granddaughters In Imperial politics, the only public roles of Imperial daughters were reserved for Augustas, the daughters who became empresses. Faustina the Younger and Lucilla were the only Imperial daughters whose portraits appear on Imperial and provincial coinage.45 Other daughters did not appear in public imagery, such as coinage or state art produced by their father the emperor, but they were chosen as objects of public honorific statues throughout the Empire. Private people and communities occasionally chose to set up public statues in honour of the Antonine sisters. What motivated them to honour these women? Setting up honorific statues for emperors and empresses was normative and communities were expected to show loyalty towards the ruler by honouring him with public statues. 46 There was, however, no prerequisite for honouring the emperor’s daughter. Epigraphic evidence indisputably shows that although the Augustae were the only daughters to gain a role in the policy of the emperor they were not the only daughters of the Imperial family who were chosen as the objects of public honours. Honorific statues were part of the network of benefaction and honouring. Statues were a form of public recognition of the status and deeds of the honoured person, and, indirectly, of the dedicating party. 47 In addition to being a tool in local power discourses, the honorific statue represents a form of public memory. Honorific monuments were part of the public space of cities and visually present in the everyday life of the citizens. They could stand in the central public areas of cities for generations. 48 For instance, the statue of a young son of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger was set up in Lilybaeum, Sicily, by a local officer sometime between ce 161 and 165. The statue base was reused only during fourth or fifth century by carving another honorific dedication to a local governor on its back. 49 This may mean that a statue of an Imperial boy (who died early at the age of only four) stood somewhere in the city space of Lilybaeum for over two hundred 45 Meyers 2016, pp. 494-497 offers an overview of the coin types of Faustina and Lucilla. On provincial coinage issued by cities in the Greek East as local currency, see the examples provided in Yarrow, 2011, pp. 434-437. 46 See e.g. Fejfer, 2008, pp. 45-51. 47 Fejfer, 2008, pp. 18-19. See Forbis, 1996 on the patterns of benefaction and honour in municipal settings. 48 Fejfer, 2008, pp. 63-65 on the upkeep and reuse of honorary statues. 49 AE 1906, 75; Wilson, 1990, p. 43 and on the dating of the other side p. 180 ill. 152.

‘Show them that You are Marcus’s Daughter’


years, keeping the memory of the boy and the Antonine Imperial house alive. Honorific statues were meaningful markers of memory and communal identity. When they used the imagery created by the Roman emperor the statues and monuments effectively signified that their dedicators belonged to the Roman Empire, building their identity as Romans.50 Generally, women became the objects of public statues for their benefactions towards their community. They took part in communal public life by acting as patronesses and priestesses.51 Benefactions might be the motivation for honouring women belonging to the Imperial house as well, but we will first search for different patterns for the honouring of Imperial women. The discussion begins with honours towards young daughters. Statues in honour of the Antonine daughters were set up as parts of family groups but they were also honoured alone, without the company of their parents or brothers.52 Two young girls, Faustina and Lucilla, were honoured by the polis of Hermione in the Peloponnese.53 As far as we can tell from the preserved evidence, the two daughters were the only honourees in this monument. The inscription underlines the importance of f iliation, since Faustina and Lucilla are called f irst the daughters of Verus Caesar and second the grandchildren (ἐγγόνους) of Emperor Antoninus. This dates the dedication to the reign of Antoninus Pius, more precisely between the birth of Lucilla around ce 150 and the death of Antoninus Pius in 161.54 An administrator, whose name has not been preserved, oversaw the execution of the dedication to the granddaughters of Antoninus Pius. Honouring two granddaughters of the emperor in a provincial city appears to have been an investment for the future. It may well be that these daughters Lucilla and Faustina were the only children alive in the Imperial family at the time when the statues were erected, but the choice of honouring two young girls enhances the message. These children were proofs of the fertility of their mother, Empress Faustina the Younger, and proofs of a continuing 50 On communal (elite) identity in the Empire and the use of Roman Imperial imagery see Huskinson, 2000b, pp. 107-111. On Roman identity built by public ritual see Mustakallio, 2005. 51 Fejfer, 2008, pp. 36-37. See above all Hemelrijk, 2015, for women as objects of honours as well as actors in the municipal sphere. 52 Honorary groups: e.g. IRT 25a-c, 26a-c set up in Sabratha and IK 12, 287.1-9 and 288.1-5 set up in Ephesus. 53 IG IV 703: [ἡ πόλις τῶν Ἑρμιονέων] / [ἐτίμησε Φαυστεῖ]ν[α]ν κ[αὶ Λο]υκίλλαν, Βήρου Κα[ί] / [σαρος θυγατέρας, Α]ὐτοκράτορος Ἀντωνείνου ἐγγόνους / [–––] ἐπιμεληθέντος [–––]. 54 For Lucilla’s birth date: Levick, 2014, p. 116. The Faustina in question might be Aurelia Faustina or Domitia Faustina: Levick, 2014, p. 116.

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dynasty. As it happened, the investment made by the citizens of Hermione proved to be profitable, when in ce 164 Lucilla became the next Antonine empress. At the time of the dedication in the 150s, this was only a possibility that was hoped for. In addition to the aspect of continuity and loyalty, certain local aspects of the city of Hermione may have inspired the polis to set up the dedication. The geographer Pausanias, who also lived during the second century ce, wrote about the cults of Hermione in his Description of Greece. He mentions the cults of Demeter and Kore and a cult of Aphrodite. Pausanias describes a custom in Hermione that every maiden or widow about to marry was obliged to sacrifice to Aphrodite.55 The description of Pausanias proves that the city celebrated an active fertility cult during the second century. This religious context of fertility cults and the worship of female deities may have directed attention towards the daughters. In the 150s the Imperial daughters were not yet of marriageable age, but they would be the future brides and mothers of the dynasty. Underage girls cannot have made any personal benefactions or other public actions that older women of the Imperial family might participate in, so motivations for honouring them with statues must be sought elsewhere, either among local factors or as celebrations of rites of passage in the daughters’ lives such as birthdays or betrothals. As well as honouring living people in this way, statues could also be dedicated in remembrance after death. Two fractured dedications from Asisium and Rome may provide a clue to their subjects. In Asisium (Umbria) the town’s senate made a dedication to one of the daughters of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger.56 The identity of the daughter in question is not known but she is titled as the granddaughter of Emperor Antoninus Pius, which dates the dedication between ce 147 and 161. The senate might have set the dedication up on the occasion of the birth of the daughter, her marriage or even her death.57 In Rome, a monument was set up for Aurelia, a daughter of the Antonine family.58 What we have left is a marble statue base, surviving in a very fractured state, but no information regarding the original place or the 55 Paus. 2.34.6, 2.34.12. On the cult of Demeter and its connection to women and girls as described by Pausanius see Johnston, 2012, pp. 214-218, 224-229. 56 AE 2007, 497 = Suppl It 23 A, 8a: –––] / [Imp(eratoris) An]tonini Aug(usti) / [Pii pa]tris patriae / nepti / ex s(enatus) c(onsulto) p(ublice). 57 Suppl It 23 A, p. 353. 58 CIL VI 36925: Aurel[iae Fadillae(?)] / Imp(eratoris) Ca[es(aris) T(iti) Ael(i) Hadriani(?)] / Anto[nini Aug(usti) Pii fil(iae)].

‘Show them that You are Marcus’s Daughter’


dedicator of the monument. The daughter in question may be the older daughter of Antoninus Pius, Aurelia Fadilla, or one of the daughters of Marcus and Faustina.59 If this inscription honours Aurelia Fadilla, either it has been erected after her death or the text has been altered to respond to her father’s new status as emperor. Fadilla was dead before Antoninus Pius became emperor.60 She did marry (perhaps just shortly before her death) a Lucius Lamia Silvanus, who later served as consul in 145.61 Perhaps the monument was originally set up to honour the memory of Fadilla. After becoming emperor, Antoninus Pius had the epitaphs of Fadilla and her two brothers set up in the Mausoleum of Hadrian.62 The emperor’s public act in remembrance of his dead children may have motivated his subjects to remember them as well. The births of children to the Antonine family were occasions celebrated especially by Antoninus Pius. He celebrated the birth of his first grandchild, who happened to be a daughter, in 147 by giving important privileges to the child’s parents on the day following the birth. Faustina the Younger gained the honorary title Augusta and Marcus Aurelius the tribunician power and Imperium, both steps on the way to legitimizing Marcus’s position as the designated heir of Antoninus Pius.63 Later Faustina’s fertility was chosen as a prominent motive on coinage. The prominence given to births and children in the Imperial ideology may well have inspired some subjects to celebrate the births as well. The commemoration of children who died young, however, is more diff icult to attest, as the epigraphic evidence does not carry any references to it. Klaus Fittschen has argued that this means subjects did not set up posthumous statues for the children.64 But the argument could also be reversed: because the evidence does not give reason to interpret it otherwise, the possibility of posthumous honours cannot be ruled out.

59 At least three daughters of Marcus and Faustina carried the name Aurelia; see Levick, 2014, pp. 116-117. 60 PIR2 A 1653; PFOS 137. She died before Antoninus Pius served as proconsul in Asia in the mid-130s: SHA Ant. Pius 3.6. 61 PIR2 A 206; Levick, 2014, p. 101. 62 CIL VI 988-990. 63 The child’s birth and the honours to her parents are recorded in the Fasti Ostienses: Vidman, FO 51: [ex A]nnia Faustina filia nata est. K. Decem. Aurelius Caesar [trib(uniciam)] pot(estatem) iniit et Faustina Aug(usta) cognominata est. See also SHA Marc. 6.6. 64 Fittschen, 1999, p. 137. Fittschen, however, notes that if a child died his/her statue was not removed and in this way the statue became a commemorative honour.

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Augusti nostri filia: personal connections, economic agency From births, deaths and other life events the discussion moves on to the personal influence of the Imperial daughters as a possible motivation behind honorific statues. A man called Heliodorus honoured the last daughter of Marcus and Faustina, Vibia Sabina, with a statue and dedication in Rome.65 The honorific monument dates to the late Antonine period or the following Severan era. Sabina was born around ce 170 and she was only ten years old when her father died in ce 180.66 She was thus an adult in the reigns of her brother Commodus and the Severans. The dedication of a statue to a member of the Imperial family in the capital is a major public act and a great privilege for the dedicator. Setting it up in public space required permission from the decuriones of Rome and the gaining of it would have been much valued.67 As Heliodorus set the statue up in Rome there was also a strong possibility that Sabina herself had the chance to view the monument. It is quite likely that a personal connection to Sabina led Heliodorus to make the dedication in the first place. Heliodorus’s dedication mentions his position as a freedman along with his profession, procurator portus utriusque. This profession dealt with the administration of the port of Ostia and the official was chosen from people of freedman rank.68 The name Heliodorus suggests a Greek origin. He might have been an Imperial freedman, perhaps freed by Sabina herself. Since G.W. Houston’s study of all known procuratores portus utriusque shows that almost every other man with this profession was an augusti libertus, the probability that Heliodorus was one such is high.69 For an Imperial freedman the act of honouring a member of the Imperial family was a way of displaying his personal relationship with the reigning family. Gratitude for one’s freedom could also have been the reason behind the inscription. The act of dedicating an honorific monument, in this case a statue in a public place, to a daughter of the emperor gave Heliodorus the opportunity to communicate his own relationships, social status and profession to a wide audience in the city of Rome. 65 CIL VI 1020: Vibiae Aureliae Sabinae d(ivi) Marci Aug(usti) f(iliae) / Heliodorus lib(ertus) et proc(urator) p(ortus) u(triusque). Heliodorus: PIR2 H 50. The statue has been restored to represent the goddess Ceres as a veiled lady holding a torch in her other hand while holding corn and poppy in another: Suppl It-Imagines. Roma 3, no 3482. It is now in Firenze, Palazzo Pitti. 66 PIR2 V 411; PFOS 800; on Sabina’s birth date: Levick, 2014, pp. 117-118. 67 Fejfer, 2008, pp. 384-390. 68 Houston, 1980, p. 159, 161. 69 Houston, 1980, p. 171.

‘Show them that You are Marcus’s Daughter’


We return to Cornificia for our second example. Her name has been recorded on inscriptions carved into lead pipes. Generally, lead pipe inscriptions recorded the name of the manufacturer responsible for the pipe’s installation or revealed where it was installed by mentioning the name of the house or proprietor.70 In the lead pipe inscription Cornificia is titled as Augusti nostri filiae, ‘the daughter of our Augustus’.71 After the death of Marcus Aurelius similar lead pipe inscriptions name Cornificia the ‘sister of our Augustus’, evidence that Cornificia’s business continued during the reign of her brother Commodus and perhaps the Severan era.72 The pipes carrying Cornificia’s name might originate from the public baths of Pharos in Ostia. It is likely that Cornificia was an investor in the baths. She was clearly a woman of considerable wealth, which she must have inherited from her parents as her mother and grandmother did. The women of the Antonine family had considerable personal property. The Elder and Younger Faustinas owned inherited land with the raw material used to produce brick.73 Both empresses are also connected to alimentary schemes that their husbands set up after their deaths, the puellae faustinianae, which might have been funded from the empresses’ personal funds.74 The Faustinas are, however, not known as financers of public buildings, whereas women of the first Imperial dynasty, above all the first empress Livia, are well known for such public sponsorship.75 It appears that by the time of the Antonines public benefactions made by the women of the Imperial family had decreased and were replaced by those of local benefactresses.76 The writer of Historia Augusta mentions twice that Antoninus Pius left his private fortune to his daughter Faustina.77 Barbara Levick suggests that on the death of Faustina the Younger her children inherited their mother’s wealth, and that some of the property of Marcus Aurelius might also have 70 Hodge, 2002, p. 311. 71 AE 1999, 411: Cornificiae Aug(usti) n(ostri) fil(iae). 72 AE 1954, 171a: XXXX Cornificiae Aug(usti) n(ostri) so[r(oris)]. An adjoining lead pipe inscription mentions Cornificia’s second husband Didius Marinus: 171b: Didi Marini e(gregii) v(iri) e[t. It should also be noted that Marcus Aurelius had a sister named Cornificia and that this second inscription could alternatively refer to her. The presence of Didius Marinus’s name, however, makes it more likely that the Cornificia in question was the daughter of Marcus. 73 Levick, 2014, p. 23 and further Setälä, 2002, pp. 192-193. 74 SHA Ant. Pius 8.1; Marc. 26.6. 75 Cooley, 2013, p. 31. 76 Cooley, 2013, pp. 23-24; Levick, 2014, p. 94. But see CIL X 473 = ILPaestum 40 speaking on behalf of a possible benefaction of Faustina the Younger in Paestum. 77 SHA Ant. Pius 7.9, 12.8. See also 12.5 where Faustina is assimilated with Rome, Antoninus Pius’s legacy to Marcus Aurelius.

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been issued to the daughters.78 Cornificia, among other adult daughters of Faustina and Marcus, gained considerable property that had been accruing in the family for a long time. An epitaph reveals that she had an arcarius, a treasurer, among her household staff,79 just as the very wealthy Livia had.80 Besides the name of Cornif icia, many other names belonging to the Roman senatorial class (not to local aristocracy) have been recorded on Ostian lead pipes, and many brick stamps reveal the involvement of the Roman elite in the building stock of Ostia. 81 The lead pipes are not as such a form of public honouring, but show that Cornif icia’s status as a daughter (later sister) of the emperor brought her prestige and spoke of her wealth and power. In Ostia, the fact that the daughter of the emperor had invested in their baths must have been well known and a matter of communal pride.82 Ostia as the port of Rome had a special relationship with the capital and Roman emperors and this served as a matter of civic pride for its citizens.83 The inscriptions discussed here serve as evidence of the patterns of public recognition towards the Imperial daughters, but they can also be discussed from the point of view of identity. In honorific inscriptions, the full Roman name of the recipient could be highlighted, including filiation between the nomen and cognomen. The filiation joined the honouree effectively to his or her family line.84 If the honouree had a say in the wording of the inscription, he or she could choose how to represent his or her name and what aspects of family relations to emphasize. Women might choose to be presented as daughters or wives, or perhaps both. 85 For instance, the wealthy and influential Plancia Magna of Perge wished to identify herself primarily as the daughter of her senator father. Dedications on the statue bases of portraits of the early second-century benefactress honour her as Plancia Marci filia Magna. The same formulation is also used on every statue she dedicated to the Imperial family on the grand arch she had built at Perge.86 78 Levick, 2014, 89. 79 CIL VI 8721. 80 Hänninen, 2016, p. 206. See Hänninen 2016 also more generally on Livia as a businesswoman. 81 DeLaine, 2002, pp. 58-60; Geremia Nucci, 1999-2000, pp. 389-396. Building activity in Ostia was intensive, especially during the second and third centuries. 82 For a possible honorific portrait of Cornificia from Ostia, see Valeri, 2002, 225. 83 On the civic identity of Ostia see Bruun, 2009. 84 On the importance of descent and the building of family identity through maiores, see Mustakallio, 2005, pp. 185-186. 85 Hemelrijk, 2012, pp. 483-485. 86 Boatwright, 1991, pp. 249-251 on the epigraphic evidence concerning Plancia Magna.

‘Show them that You are Marcus’s Daughter’


In public inscriptions, the words Augusti filia and Sebastou thygatera spoke of family relations and by that built an image of the power of the Antonine dynasty. The emperor’s daughters represented (potential) fertility and thus the power of the Antonine rule through biological continuity. At the same time the filiation was used to represent the personal status of Imperial daughters, bringing the woman prestige in her local sphere. When filiation was emphasized, it was the relationship of father and daughter that defined the daughter’s position in the Empire’s power structure. Being a daughter of the emperor was always considered an honourable position.

Divi Augusti filia: the daughter of a god The honour acquired from being the daughter of Marcus Aurelius was maintained after his death, into the reign of Commodus and the rule of the Severan dynasty, and even beyond the daughter’s death in the families of her descendants. The family line of the Antonines can be followed all the way to the fifth century, to Anicia Iuliana who died in ce 459. She was childless and buried by her parents at the age of 18.87 She was a descendant of Marcus and Faustina’s daughter Annia Faustina and her husband Gnaeus Claudius Severus.88 Other Imperial daughters did have children too, but these lines either ended soon after the Antonine era or we are not able to follow them. The rule of the Antonine family ended with Commodus.89 As mentioned, after a period of civil war Septimius Severus secured his position as the Roman emperor. It was not until ce 197 that Severus could claim to be the sole ruler of the Roman world after defeating the last of his rivals for power. An important part of the strategy of legitimating his rule was the fictive adoption of Severus into the Antonine Imperial house. Official Imperial coinage promoted his new lineage by calling Severus divi Marci Pii filius.90 By the act of joining the Antonine dynasty he could create for himself a more prominent background, his new adoptive Imperial lineage reaching all the way back to Emperor Nerva, and he could thus claim for himself some of the respect the Antonine emperors had enjoyed. Severus was the first among Roman emperors to come from Africa and was married to a Syrian woman, 87 PLRE2 p. 635; AE 1975, 412. 88 PIR2 A 714; PIR2 C 1024; PFOS 61; Levick, 2014, p. 116. 89 On Commodus’s reign: Hekster, 2002, pp. 40-86. 90 RIC IV (Septimius Severus) 65-66, 686, 700-702a, 712. Roman senators were not overly enthusiastic about Severus’s actions, especially his demand for the deification of his ‘brother’ Commodus; Cass. Dio 76.7-8; SHA Sev. 11.3-5; 12.7; Ando, 2000, pp. 184-185.

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Julia Domna.91 Severus’s self-proclaimed adoption shows the importance that was given to family line and filial relationship as a basis for social power. Here three honorific dedications to the youngest daughter of Marcus and Faustina, Sabina, will be discussed to further evaluate the public role of Imperial daughters. The dedications were set up in two neighbouring cities in an area now part of Algeria in North Africa, in the ancient towns of Calama and Thibilis. Although the towns were close neighbours they belonged to different provinces during the Severan period. Calama was in the province of Mauretania Caesariensis and Thibilis in the province of Africa. Sabina was connected to Thibilis through her first husband L. Antistius Burrus. He was born into an African Roman senatorial family and it seems the couple settled in his hometown, Thibilis. Antistius Burrus was involved in a conspiracy against Commodus and was sentenced to death after ce 188.92 Sabina was apparently not involved and remarried later, perhaps under the influence of Septimius Severus, like her older sister Cornificia. Sabina’s second husband was a Greek, L. Aurelius Agaclytus, whose father had been a freedman of Emperor Lucius Verus, the co-emperor of Marcus Aurelius.93 She remained a citizen of Thibilis even after remarrying and possibly continued to live there as well. One of the three dedications was set up in Thibilis. It names Sabina as the daughter of divus Marcus Aurelius and the sister of divus Septimius Severus. This dates the honour to the reign of Caracalla and the original mention of Geta in the dedication dates it more specifically between February and December 211.94 The inscription speaks of the great respect the citizens of Thibilis had towards Sabina. She is praised with many words, mentioned as honoured ob singularem eius in patriam adfectionem patronae Thibilitani, for her affection towards the city and because she had acted as the patrona of the citizens of Thibilis.95 The dedication proves Sabina was a prominent 91 Because of this, dynastic legitimation from previous Imperial dynasties became even more important role in the politics of Severus. For a century the emperors had Italian ancestry, but Trajan broke the pattern: see Birley, 1988, p. 38, 200. 92 PIR2 A 757; SHA Comm, 6.11; Pflaum, 1961, pp. 37-38. 93 PIR2 A 452; Birley, 1988, p. 177; Pflaum, 1961, pp. 38-39. 94 ILAlg. II.2 4661: [Vi]biae Aurelia[e] / [Sa]binae divi Ma[rci] / [An]tonini Pii fil(iae) et d[ivi] / [Se]veri Pii domin[orum] / [nn(ostrorum) I]mp(eratoris) Caes(aris) Anto[nini] / [Pii] [[[Getae]]] Aug(usti) patr(is) / [s]orori ob singu/[l]arem eius in patr[i]/[a]m adfectionem [pa]/ [tr]onae Thibil(itani) p(ublice) [p(osuerunt)]. The inscription has been altered, erasing the name of Geta, the younger son of Septimius Severus, after his murder by Caracalla. Septimius Severus died in February 211 while Geta was murdered in December 211. 95 The word adfectionem, according to Forbis, 1996, pp. 46-49, refers to the honouree having civic affection towards the city, caring for its stability and prestige. The word patria, according

‘Show them that You are Marcus’s Daughter’


figure in the African town, which in turn found a reason for civic pride in her actions. A daughter and sister of the emperor – or divine emperor – living in a municipality brought the town much prominence, which it wished to make known by setting up an honorary inscription to her. Two of the inscriptions were set up in Calama. One calls Sabina first a sister of the reigning Emperor Septimius Severus and second the daughter of divine Emperor Marcus Aurelius.96 This dates the inscription between the years ce 195-211, between the self-adoption and the death of Severus. The inscription has been set up by a local man, Gaius Annius Saturninus. The dedicator wished his whole Roman name to be recorded in the text, mentioning his filiation and tribe. By paying for the honour to Sabina, Gaius Annius Saturninus displayed to his fellow citizens his wealth and relationships. As with the previously discussed case of Heliodorus, the act of honouring Sabina may indicate some kind of personal relationship between her and Annius Saturninus. The last line of the dedication refers to Sabina as patrona. It is unclear whether this refers to a personal relationship of patronage between Sabina and Saturninus or simply to Sabina’s role as the city patroness of Calama.97 Sabina was, according to the other dedication from Calama, also a patroness of this city. This dedication was set up by the decuriones and dates after ce 211 and the death of Septimius Severus.98 This means that both Thibilis and Calama set up dedications to Sabina as their patroness at about the same time. An honorific inscription to a patronus or a patrona civitatis of a city was a public recognition of the honoured person’s influence and benefactions. In the local sphere the benefactions of wealthy women towards their cities could bring them honorary memberships on town councils or other public recognition.99 By setting up an honorific inscription to Sabina the citizens of Calama and Thibilis made their relationship to the Imperial to Salomies, 1997, p. 248 must refer to the Thibilitani, as the city cannot function as patria to an Imperial lady. See also Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 249 n. 51. 96 CIL VIII 5327 =ILAlg. I 242: Vibiae Aureli[ae] / Sabinae / Imp(eratoris) Severi Aug(usti) / n(ostri) sorori di/vi Pii Marci / filiae / C(aius) Annius C(ai) / filius Papir(ia) / Saturninus / patronae. 97 Imperial women regularly acted as personal patronesses, see Hemelrijk, 2015, p. 227; Saller, 1982, pp. 64-64. 98 CIL VIII 5328 = ILAlg. I 241: Vibiae Au/relliae(!) di/vi M(arci) f(iliae) divi / Severi sor(ori) / Sabinae / patronae / municipii / decurio [–––. Emperor Caracalla is not mentioned at all in the dedication but there was a dedication, set up after the death of Septimius Severus, to Caracalla in the city (CIL VIII 5329 = ILAlg. I 243). 99 Nicols, 1989, pp. 118-132. In Nicols’ study of all known patronae municipii in epigraphic evidence, Sabina is the only patrona of Imperial status, while the other women are of senatorial or equestrian status, see pp. 140-142.

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lady clear for everyone to see. The message of the public dedication was directed, of course, at Sabina herself as a sign of gratitude and honour, but it was also aimed at other, neighbouring cities. Having a patrona belonging to the Imperial family brought the city great honour and influence.100 Sabina was a member of the previous Imperial dynasty and a daughter of a divine emperor, a fact that alone would have given her great status in the city. Sabina lived in Thibilis, yet she also acted as the patron of the neighbouring city of Calama. Only about twenty kilometres separated the towns. Calama acquired the status of a colonia sometime between ce 211 and 283. This is in concordance with the dating of the other inscription from Calama, and also with the general rise of importance and prosperity the provinces of North Africa experienced from the second century onwards.101 The Emperor Septimius Severus was born in the city of Leptis Magna, which he later favoured with many public building projects and by giving it the ius Italicum.102 Leptis Magna is not in the same region as Calama and Thibilis but the general prosperity that North Africa experienced under Severan rule could only have encouraged cities to express their loyalties towards the Severan dynasty. The dedications towards Sabina in Calama and Thibilis show that she became a notable patroness and that she possessed personal power that exceeded the limits of one city. Sabina’s public activity in the two cities focused on the reign of Septimius Severus and the beginning of the reign of his son Caracalla. For the two cities, the presence of an Imperial lady and her patronage towards them was a matter of civic pride. Sabina’s fate in Caracalla’s reign is unknown, but it is likely that she avoided the fate of Cornificia because she lived in North Africa.

Conclusions The discussion has dealt with gendered roles in the public sphere and especially the roles given and taken by elite women in Roman Imperial society. The public roles of the daughters of the Antonine Imperial family have been studied from two points of view: as actors in the public sphere and as objects of Imperial policy and public honours. The aim has been to concentrate on those daughters who had no official public role as empress and Augusta. The daughters of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Empress 100 On the honour of cities see Lendon, 1997, pp. 73-77. 101 Lepelley, 2001, pp. 91-100. 102 Dig.

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Faustina the Younger provide us with the opportunity to study Roman women in this rare social position. The Antonine sisters, above all the two I have discussed most above, Cornificia and Sabina, were members of the Imperial house but had no official dynastic roles in the policy of their father. As the discussion has shown, these women became prestigious members of their communities with considerable personal wealth and this position in turn gained them public honours from their community. These Imperial daughters became parts of Roman cultural memory. They were integrated into the shared story of the Romans as representatives of their noble family, as women belonging to the highest elite, and as daughters of an emperor. The integration was achieved by those who set up public honours to them and by those who wrote about them in their histories or Imperial biographies, and partly by the actions of these women themselves. Their public statues in cities around the Empire also implanted them into the communal memory and the public landscape of the city or town in question. The foundation of the identity and social position of these women is the fact that they were daughters of Marcus Aurelius. Being the daughters of one of Rome’s most beloved emperors defined their position in society. The women themselves actively used their highest possible lineage as part of their public image. Other people used the daughters as well, because of all the prestige and honour attached to their position. The words Augusti filia or Sebastou thygatera that were written on the public monuments emphasized the position and the honour it gave. Filiation functioned as a way of making the relationship between Imperial parents and children evident. To conclude, daughters born to the Imperial family were the future wives and mothers whose marriages brought vital links between other elite families and whose children would continue the Imperial dynasty in the future. Imperial daughters held great dynastic potential from the start and were honoured even as young girls. As matronae they could become notable benefactresses and economic actors due to their inherited finances. For the local actors who chose to honour the daughters their monuments were a way of communicating a relationship that they had with a member of the Imperial family. They could also be a way of creating a link and a relationship to the emperor in hope of future benefaction from the Imperial dynasty. Honouring these daughters was in no way expected, unlike the honouring of the emperor and empress, which makes these honours stand out as conscious, motivated choices by the dedicators.

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About the Author Dr Sanna Joska is a Researcher at the University of Tampere.


Defining Manliness, Constructing Identities Alexander the Great mirroring an Exemplary Man in Late Antiquity* Jaakkojuhani Peltonen

Abstract This study looks at the conceptions of gender and public identities and how these conceptions are constructed by the reuse of the image of Alexander the Great (356-323 bce) as an exemplary man in Late Antiquity. My sources contain texts representing various literary genres composed especially during the fourth and fifth centuries ce. I first analyse constructions of manliness through the image of Alexander, from the perspective of martial virtue. Next, I explore how the patriarchal order and gender roles are defined by anecdotes about Alexander and about his dealings with women as well as with his mother, Olympias. Finally, I deal with the image of Alexander as an exemplary man in the construction of ethnic and socio-cultural identities. This article shows that for authors of Late Antiquity, writing about the past was about defining themselves in terms of gender, ethnic, and cultural identity. Keywords: Alexander the Great, Late Antiquity, masculinity, identity

* I would like to thank Ollimatti Peltonen and Jussi Rantala (the editor of this volume) for carefully reading the manuscript and giving me helpful comments.

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch05


Ja akkojuhani Peltonen

Introduction This study looks at the literary tradition surrounding Alexander III (356-323 bce), best known as Alexander the Great, in Late Antiquity. I examine conceptions of gender and public identities and how these conceptions are constructed by the reuse of the image of Alexander as an exemplary man in Late Antiquity. My sources contain texts representing various literary genres composed especially during the fourth and fifth centuries ce. In this volume of collected papers, this study sheds light on the continuity and change of constructions of manliness and public identities within the Roman Empire. Only a few historical figures – if any – have provoked as much interest and fascination as Alexander has. Richard Stoneman aptly writes that ‘Alexander’s name has continued to resound through the centuries’.1 Alexander’s figure as an exemplary man had an important legacy in both the Hellenistic world and in the Early Roman Empire where Latin Romans and Greek Romans wrote about his reign and personality. The cultural phenomenon of imitatio Alexandri was a common tool in Roman literature. Notable Roman statesmen and emperors identified themselves with Alexander.2 Negative and critical portrayals of his figure were however also written by Roman Stoic writers of the Early Empire and Late Antique Christian writers. Since the literary tradition about Alexander is rich, his figure offers a perfect starting point for studying re-definitions of masculinity and identity in the world of the Late Empire. In this paper, passages concerning Alexander are approached as portraits of masculinity and constructions of identity. It could be argued that Classical and Post-Classical authors were not so much interested in the historicity of separate anecdotes than they were in transmitting certain values and contemporary views on sex, gender, and cultural identity. Short passages by these writers provide moral and cultural codes on sex and gender, as well as define ethnic and cultural identities, such as those of the Romans and Christians. In Classical scholarship, the concepts of gender and identity have received a lot of attention.3 In recent years, the study of manliness and 1 Stoneman, 2008, p. 4. 2 See Isager, 1993, pp. 75-76. For the role of imitatio Alexandri in Imperial art, see Hannestad, 1993. 3 For the construction of cultural identities in the ancient world, see Gruen, 2011, and Huskinson, 2000. Cartledge, 2002, discusses the identity-making of the Greeks, and Dench, 2005,

Defining Manliness, Construc ting Identities


the male gender has also become a growing trend. 4 Helen Lovatt writes that: ‘Masculinity is not the undifferentiated norm from which women, slaves, and others diverge, but rather that it too is a social construct, open to renegotiation and redefinition’.5 Even if the topic of gender has been included in research on historical Alexander, literary sources concerning Alexander’s manliness have not been approached from the perspective of reception.6 Similarly, the question of identity and its making through the use of the figure of Alexander has not been studied in much detail.7 Following Diana Spencer’s Roman Alexander (2002), attention has mainly been given to analysing the reception of Alexander in the culture of the early Roman Empire and in Medieval and Eighteenth century Europe.8 However, Alexander’s memory in Late Antiquity has received less scholarly interest.9 This is surprising since the figure of the world conqueror did not disappear from the literary culture of the Late Empire. In my paper, I first analyse constructions of manliness through the image of Alexander, from the perspective of martial virtue. Next, I explore how the patriarchal order and gender roles are defined by anecdotes about Alexander and about his dealings with women as well as with his mother, Olympias. Finally, I deal with the image of Alexander as an exemplary man in the construction of ethnic and socio-cultural identities. In summary, my approach shows how the reception of Alexander’s image helped define masculinity and identity in Late Antiquity.

concentrates on Roman identity construction. For a discussion of sex and gender in Antiquity, see Nelson, 2007, Masterson, Sorkin and Robson, 2014, and Foxhall, 2013. 4 Foxhall and Salmon, 1998; Kuefler, 2001; Rosen and Sluiter, 2003. 5 See Lovatt, 2003. 6 Ogden, 2011, offers the most detailed study on the origin of the myths and the sexuality of historical Alexander. See also Ogden, 2009. For a discussion on women in the story of historical Alexander, see Carney, 2003 and 2006. As an exception, Müller, 2008, explores the Medieval reception of Alexander by examining the king’s relationship with women. 7 In scholarly treatments on Classical texts concerning Alexander, Diana Spencer has referred to the concept of identity – see Spencer, 2002, pp. 31-32. Instead of seeing several identities, Spencer refers to one Roman identity which had to be redefined after the Punic Wars and the Roman expansion to Greece. 8 For Alexander in the Medieval world, see Stock, 2016. Briant, 2017, shows how the images of Alexander gave inspiration and meaning to the European states during the age of enlightenment. 9 For a rare treatment of Alexander in the literature of Late Antiquity, see Döpp, 1999. However, this descriptive article is a short survey on the topic and does not contain all the relevant passages. See also Stoneman, 2004, who introduces some texts concerning Alexander (like the Itinerarium Alexandri) written in Late Antiquity. For a discussion on the reception of Alexander in the texts of the Church fathers, see Peltonen, 2018.


Ja akkojuhani Peltonen

Alexander as a symbol of heroic masculinity and presentations of a warrior-emperor In Classical Antiquity, a quality often associated with Alexander’s legacy is martial valour. Alexander was a paragon of military virtue for Roman army leaders and emperors, especially Scipio Africanus (236-183 bce), Pompey (106-48 bce), Julius Caesar (100-44 bce), Augustus (63 bce-14 ce), Germanicus (15/16 bce-19 ce), Caligula (12-41 ce), Trajan (53-117 ce), and Caracalla (186/188-217 ce).10 In the literary tradition, the latter are presented in relation to Alexander when their motives for new war operations and their public images are discussed. The authors of the Alexander Histories and military manuals composed in the Early Empire frequently praise Alexander for his alleged abilities as a master tactician, as an ideal general, and as a Homeric warrior fighting on the frontline.11 Arrian’s Anabasis, especially, composed in the second century ce, presents Alexander as a personification of the ideal general.12 This feature of Alexander’s legacy is also stressed in the Alexander Mosaic and the Alexander Sarcophagus, which both convey images of heroic masculinity.13 Indeed, in the ancient world, manliness was particularly related to the capacity of excelling in deeds of war. The words arete and virtus refer both to ethical and military concepts depending on the context.14 The Alexander Romance presents ideal masculinity through the image of Alexander as a heroic warrior. The earliest datable Greek version of the Romance was composed in the third century ce, and its Latin translation was composed during the fourth century ce, while its Armenian version comes from the fifth century ce.15 In these versions of the Alexander Romance, the historical, but idealized, 10 For overviews on the aemulatio and imitatio Alexandri of Roman generals and emperors, see Hannestad, 1993; Isager, 1993; Spencer, 2002, pp. 15-31; Spencer, 2009, pp. 253-267; den Hengst, 2009, pp. 68-84. For Julius Caesar and his relationship with Alexander see Green, 1978; Malloch, 2001, deals with Caligula’s imitation of Alexander, and Baharal, 1994, with Caracalla’s imitation of Alexander. For the myth of Alexander and its evolution in the policy of the Hellenistic kings especially, see Goukowsky, 1978. 11 Here only a few passages can be mentioned. Curt. 7.3.12-18: 7.5.2-16. 10.5.26-29. Plut. Alex. 32.2; 33.3-4. Plut. De Alex. Fort. 327a-e; 340e-341c. Polyn. Strat. 4.3.1. 12 Arr. Anab. 7.27. For a discussion on military virtues in Arrian’s Alexander, see Stadter, 1980, pp. 89-103 and 165. 13 See Mihalopoulos, 2009, pp. 287-289 ; Stewart, 1994, p. 147 ; Cohen, 2000, pp. 128-129. 14 McDonnell, 2006, p. 113. For the etymology of virtus and its connection with the word vir (meaning man), see Sarsila, 2006, pp. 25-30. 15 Nawotka, 2017, pp. 3-5, 30-33. For a discussion on the ancient versions of the Alexander Romance, see also Stoneman, 1991, pp. 28-32; Stoneman, 2008, pp. 231-245.

Defining Manliness, Construc ting Identities


world conqueror is little by little transformed into a superhuman being. In the earliest Greek version, Alexander sets an example for his men by fighting at the forefront of the army and appearing to fear no danger.16 Alexander passes the enemy lines disguised as a messenger encountering both the Persian king Darius (c. 380-330 bce) and the Indian monarch Porus and returns safely.17 Alexander teaches Darius the works of war by stating that a king who hesitates to go to battle looks weak in the eyes of his opponents.18 In the Romance, Alexander is a symbol of martial manhood. The close relationship between his arete and virtus strengthens his status as the prototype for a chivalrous warrior-monarch propagated by historians of the Early Empire. In Republican Rome, military service was an essential duty for both elite and non-elite citizens. During the Principate, full-time professional soldiers fought for the Roman Empire, and the public recognition of martial virtus became the responsibility of the emperor, his family, and of the trusted generals and Roman soldiers whom the emperor controlled.19 This monopoly over, and Imperial discourse on, manliness comes evident in the Imperial panegyrics of the Late Empire during which Alexander is often used to symbolize heroic masculinity and to create an ideal image of an emperor and Roman military virtues. Alexander’s Itinerary (Itinerarium Alexandri), which is a brief history of Alexander’s campaign against Persia, presents Alexander as a symbol of martial virtue and virility, but was really composed as a portrait of the reigning Emperor Constantius II (317-361 ce). The anonymous work, composed during the fourth century ce was directed to the emperor who was planning to attack, or was already fighting against, the Sassanid Empire.20 It was thought to offer educative material for Constantius. In the work, Alexander’s skills as a tactician and a Homeric warrior fighting on the frontline are praised.21

16 Alex. Rom. 3.1.6-8. Jul. Val. Res. Gest. Alex. 3.15-30. 17 For Alexander as a messenger in Darius’ camp, see Alex. Rom. 2.13.1-2.15.14. In the narrative, it is god Ammon who advices Alexander in a dream to be his own messenger. For Alexander in Porus’ camp, see Alex. Rom.3.3.2-4. 18 Jul. Val. Res. Gest. Alex. 2.695-700; Alex. Rom. 2.14.8-9. 19 McDonnell, 2006, p. 384 and p. 387. Augustus, who had commanded an army ‘at the age of nineteen’, as seen by older contemporary politicians, makes an interesting comparison; see Harlow and Laurence in this volume. 20 Stoneman, 2004, pp. 177-183; Lane Fox, 1997, p. 246. 21 Itin. Alex. 9.21; 23.58; 28.65; 37.83.


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Compared to the texts of the Early Empire, Alexander’s Itinerary contains a unique eulogizing description of Alexander’s appearance that combines his physical features with martial virtues. 22 In fact, texts concerning Alexander sometimes describe his appearance as lesser in comparison to his achievements and fame.23 The anonymous author of the work lists features of Alexander’s athletic ‘superman’ type appearance: his aquiline nose, his bare forehead, and his upwards curling hair. The king’s rippling muscles and the co-ordination of their sinews are also mentioned in this eulogizing portrait. The king is detailed as a tireless runner, a vehement attacker, a skilled spear thrower, bold in hand-to-hand fight, and unrelenting in combat.24 The idea seems to be that the countenance and appearance of the ruler are combined with his martial virtues. In the end of the passage, the author makes the following exhortation to Emperor Constantius: ‘Now that I have given you a portrait of Alexander, it is for you to look yourself, for flattery has not been my intention, and I refuse to seem pleasing to your ears when all your men may make judgement of you with their eyes’.25 Even though Alexander seems to be the symbol of manly abilities in war, with his physical appearance and countenance, in another passage of the work, the anonymous author wants to show how Constantius nevertheless surpasses Alexander in other ways. Contrary to Alexander, Constantius is not cruel to his friends and fights for the security of Rome.26 Alexander’s Itinerary presents the idea of an emperor participating in the works of war and setting an example for his men. In Classical culture, physical beauty was part of being a great man, and in the discourse on manhood a virtuous man was also physically beautiful.27 The construction of physical beauty and virtue with reference to Alexander becomes evident in the panegyric addressed to Emperor Constantine (c. 272-337 ce) which was probably delivered at Trier in 310 ce.28 After giving an idealistic presentation of Constantine’s countenance, calling him youthful (adulescens) thus inviting gaze of his audience, the author adds: 22 In his final assessment on Alexander, Curtius does not mention his physical beauty. Arrian briefly mentions it in the epilogue but does not describe the king’s appearance in detail (7.28.1). In Plutarch (4.1-2) the king’s appearance is described by the context of the Lysippan portraits. 23 See Curt. 6.5.29; 7.8.9; Alex. Rom. 2.15.1. 24 Itin. Alex. 6.13-15. 25 Itin. Alex. 6.15. 26 Itin. Alex. 4.9-11. 27 For a discussion on the connection between beauty and manliness in Classical Greece, see Robertson, 2003. 28 The speech was most likely delivered after Constantine proclaimed his father’s troops at York. Nixon and Rodgers 1994, p. 212.

Defining Manliness, Construc ting Identities


Such a man I conceive that great king to have been, such a man the Thessalian hero, whose combination of supreme courage and beauty is celebrated. Not without reason do learned men claim that Nature herself metes out bodily domiciles worthy of great minds, and that it can be gauged from a man’s countenance and the beauty of his limbs how great a heavenly spirit has entered them as a tenant. And so when your soldiers see you walking, they admire and love you; they follow you with their eyes.29

In Classical and Post-Classical literature, Alexander’s name is rarely mentioned but he is often made reference to anonymously.30 In the above passage he is presented simply as a ‘great king’ (talem Macetum illum regem). The Thessalian hero/man (Thessalum virum) serves as a reference to Achilleus whom Alexander famously imitated. Alexander’s idealized appearance in visual arts, especially those of Lysippus (390-300 bce) and Apelles, were known and eulogized in Classical literature, and it seems that these portraits were on the author’s mind when he composed this presentation of the emperor’s appearance.31 The virtues of the divine emperor are combined with the majesty of his appearance which is referred to as a fact verified by the intellectuals of the past. In addition, in the passage, the emperor’s relationship with his soldiers is praised because his army can admire both his manly body and heavenly spirit. At the time when the speech was delivered, Constantine was 38 years old, but had not yet started his war against Maxentius (278-312 ce).32 In a way, this martial presentation strengthens Constantine’s status as a divine warrior-emperor fit to rule and lead his army. In a panegyric addressed to Emperor Maximian (c. 250-310 ce), the author states: ‘Yet you see, Emperor, that I cannot find anything with which to compare you in all antiquity unless it be the example of the race of Heracles, 29 Pan. Lat. 6.17.1-3. Translated by C.V.E. Nixon. 30 For Alexander being called a ‘great king’, ‘great man’, or ‘The Pellean leader’, see Philo. Op. 4.17; Symm. Ep. 1.20; Ennod. Pan. Theod. 17.79; cf. Itin. Alex. 4.9. Lucan calls Alexander ‘the mad son of Macedonian Phillip’ (proles vesana) and a ‘fortunate freebooter’ ( felix praedo; Luc. 10.25). In some passages Alexander is called a ‘young man’ (adulescens, iuvenes): Sen. Ben. 1.13.3; Juv. 10.169-170; Arn. Nat. 1.5.5. 31 Apul. Flo.7. For a representation of Alexander as a beardless young hero in Classical sculpture, see Spivey, 2013, p. 258. 32 It has been debated whether the writer of the oration was aware of Constantine’s desire to become sole ruler or not. For the debate, see Nixon and Rodgers 1994, 1994, pp. 215-216. According to Nixon, the speech was not part of a propaganda campaign designed for wide circulation.


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for even Alexander the Great now seems insignificant to me’.33 For the author, comparison with Heracles/Alexander was the greatest possible compliment one could pay to an emperor. In Antiquity, Heracles/Hercules symbolized manliness and Alexander was his most famous descendant. In addition, Maximian used Hercules in his Imperial propaganda. The Alexander-type Herculean Maximian represented a heroic ideal for the Roman audience. Passages of Alexander’s Itinerary and the panegyrics dedicated to Constantine and Maximian show that Alexander’s appearance was regarded as first-class and that he embodied an exemplary portrayal of masculinity. These texts reflect a society in which male appreciation for youthful male beauty and martial manliness were essential. In addition, for the Romans, presentations of the past created exemplary discourses of manliness. Eulogizing the emperor’s childhood was also a standard literary theme in panegyrics. In the court rhetoric of the Late Empire, the reigning emperor’s childhood could be idealized by comparing his years as a young boy to those of illustrious men of the past. The childhood of a great commander was regarded as exceptional, as a period during which the young prince showed his manly abilities and enjoyed the benefit of the best possible military education. Symmachus’ (c. 345-402 ce) Oration (III) addressed to child-emperor Gratian (359-383 ce) in 369/370, and Claudian’s (c. 370-c. 404 ce) panegyric on the Fourth Consulship of the Emperor Honorius (384-423 ce) (VIII) in 398, portray the young emperor-candidate as showing similar features to the young Alexander impatiently waiting to achieve great accomplishments.34 Both panegyrics exploit the anecdote we know from Plutarch, and depict a picture of a father (the reigning emperor) and his future heir working together for the benefit of the Empire.35 In a panegyric dedicated to Theodosius (347-395 ce) by Pacatus, the emperor’s childhood and youth is compared with that of Alexander, Hannibal (247-183/181 bce) and Scipio Africanus.36 Pacatus mentions that Theodosius spent time in the camps, kept watch, and fought fierce battles at a very young age. We know that Theodosius spent his early life on campaigns with his father Flavius Theodosius who was military officer of the Western Roman Empire. At the age of nineteen, in 368, he fought alongside him in Britain 33 Pan. Lat. 10.10.2-6. 34 Symm. Or. 3.10; Claud. Cons. Hon. 374-377 (cf. Sid. Apoll. Carm. 5.202 where Sidonius Apollinaris in his panegyric to the Emperor Majorian mentions that Alexander was tormented by his father’s glory). 35 Plut. Alex. 5.1-3. 36 Pan. Lat. 2.8.3-5.

Defining Manliness, Construc ting Identities


when Hadrian’s Wall was retaken. According to the author, Theodosius nevertheless had greater talent and surer hope of valour than Alexander, Hannibal, and Scipio. In addition, his relationship with his father was closer than that between Scipio and Paulus or Alexander and Philip. The mythologizing portraits of a young emperor, a warrior since childhood destined to accomplish great deeds of valour and who enjoyed a warm relationship with his father served to legitimize power and continuity in the Imperial family. During the third and fourth centuries, almost all emperors took an active part in campaigns, while in the fifth and sixth centuries this role was delegated to their generals.37 Kuefler (2001) argues that in Late Antiquity there was a denial of military crisis by the Romans. According to him this was seen in their need to portray themselves as manly heroes.38 Military virtues were advertised on the coinage of the period and in Imperial panegyrics in which these virtues appear as a standard literary theme.39 Moreover, the portraits of Constantine and Constantius as statues and on coinage have been seen as imitations of the portraits of Alexander. 40 Literary images can be regarded as praises of military values in times of war, showing how the memory of Alexander – as the prototype for military masculinity – provided an example for the Empire, which was ruled by warrior-emperors who identified themselves with Alexander. In Classical Antiquity, there was a belief that the hour of one’s birth determined one’s future. 41 Unsurprisingly, the birth of illustrious men was thought to happen under extraordinary circumstances, filled with portents and signs. Several stories of miracles and omens also surround Alexander’s birth. 42 According to one famous tale, Alexander’s mother Olympias had sexual intercourse with a huge snake that was believed to be an incarnation of Ammon/Zeus, and therefore Alexander could claim to be the son of a god. 43 Similar miraculous stories, possibly motivated by tales on Alexander’s legendary birth, were told about Scipio and Augustus. 37 Lee, 2007, pp. 21-37. 38 Kuefler, 2001, pp. 41-43. 39 For discussions on emperors advertising their military virtues on coinage minted during the third century to the end of fifth century, see Hebblewhite, 2017, pp. 33-48. 40 Nicholson, 2001, p. 183; Pohlsander, 2004, p. 86; Wienand, 2014, pp. 433-434. 41 Rives, 2011, pp. 681-688 discusses astrology in the Roman world. He states that it was based on the belief that the positions of heavenly bodies at the hour of birth reveal a person’s future. 42 For a recent discussion on the different tales on Alexander’s birth and their origin, see Ogden, 2011, pp. 7-53 and pp. 79-108. 43 See Just. 11.11.3; Gell. 13.4.1-3; Plut. Alex. 2.1-3.5.


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However, Livy for example argued that Scipio himself did not promote such tales in the way that Alexander did, and that he therefore surpassed Alexander in this aspect. 44 In his work on epideictic speeches, Menander Rhetor advices panegyric authors to describe divine signs which occurred at the time of the birth of those to whom their speech pays homage. 45 Julian’s (331/332-361 ce) panegyric to Constantius II, Libanius’ (c. 314-392/393) panegyric to Constantius II and Constans (c. 323-350 ce), and Sidonius Apollinaris’ (430-489 ce) speech to Anthemius (420-472 ce) seem to follow Menander’s suggestion. 46 They compare the tales of the reigning emperors of their time to the tales surrounding the birth and parentage of Alexander, Cyrus the Elder (598/600530 bce) (in Julian and Libanius), and Octavian Augustus (in Sidonius). However, in these panegyrics, the tales of the emperors’ births surpass that of Alexander’s, the latter being labeled as fabricated. For example, Julian takes it for granted that circumstances were brilliant when the Emperor Constantius was born. Moreover, Libanius writes that emperors do not require miraculous stories but surpass these former tales with their dignity. According to Sidonius, Anthemius’ accession was confirmed by a truthful omen associated with his birth. The idealized presentation of the reigning emperor(s)’ hour of birth is not only a conventional topos appearing in Imperial panegyrics but reflects a contemporary belief system relating to the legitimization of power. Imperial usurpers in the Late Roman Empire seem to be more the norm than the exception, and thus, using stories of divine birth, emperors could claim that their authority was derived from heaven. Like the monarchs of the past, the emperors of the present were also proved to be fit for rule, by having divine birth and a faultless childhood. In the passages of Julian, Libanius, and Sidonius Apollinaris, the emperor’s masculinity does not require fabricated tales but truthful stories, which naturally surpass the stories told of Alexander, Cyrus the Elder, or Augustus. The authors of Late Antiquity were well acquainted with the literary tradition on Alexander and exploited the past to shape present realities. Their reception of Alexander reflects ideals of military masculinity which already existed in the Alexander Histories of the Early Empire. The masculine 44 Liv. 26.19.6-9. For the story of Augustus’ mother Atia getting pregnant after she was visited by a serpent during the night she spent in the temple of Apollo, see Suet. Aug. 94.4; Cass. Dio.45.1.2-3. 45 Men. Rhet. 371.3-14. Portents and signs surrounding the hour of birth in epideictic speech already appear in Isocrates’ Panegyric to Evagoras (21). 46 Julian. Or. 1.10B; Lib. Or. 59.24-25; Sid. Apoll. Carm. 2.120-135.

Defining Manliness, Construc ting Identities


man holding ultimate power was a great warrior. He was also a skilful tactician, with a perfect body and a faultless appearance. In addition, tales of his childhood and hour of birth magnified his power and status. The construction of manliness through the figure of Alexander was a rhetorical device used to re-create and mythologize the masculinity of the reigning emperor. It fitted well with contemporary social hierarchy in which the emperor was no longer first citizen, as in the ideal of the Principate, but instead a sacred figure, a deity, or a representative of the Christian God. In court rhetoric, the emperor in power was the greatest of all monarchs of the past and the present. Yet, Alexander’s manliness also had other dimensions related to gender order and presentations of the opposite sex. These points are discussed below.

Alexander’s women: restoring and maintaining patriarchal order The majority of surviving Classical and post-Classical texts was composed by upper-class male authors and was addressed to the male elite. The stories of the past portray constructions of manliness not only in the context of war but also in the context of the relationship between men and women. 47 Even though Alexander’s relationship with women/wives/his mother is sparsely mentioned in the tradition about him, the few existing passages illustrate perceptions of manliness and construct a certain gender order. They reflect a Roman world in which male dominance was the dominant idea for the authors making judgments on the present gender system by referring to the past. In Classical literature, we encounter an anecdote in which Alexander is praised for his honourable treatment of captive Persian women. According to the story, which also referred to Scipio Africanus, Alexander demonstrated self-control when extremely beautiful captive women were brought before him.48 The image of women as sources of dangerous lust for men was a topos in Classical literature, and the inclusion of this detail was designed to make

47 See article by Rantala in this volume, dealing with Aeneas and the signif icance of his relationships with women for his status as a Roman cultural hero. 48 Plut. Alex. 21.3-5. See also Plut. Mor.338.d-e., Arr. An. 2.12.7-8. For a similar anecdote referring to Scipio, see Livy 26.50.1-8; Polyb. 10.19.3. For Alexander and Scipio being compared because of the episode, see Gell. 7.8.1-5. In Xenophon, Cyrus is praised for his self-restraint towards women (Xen. Cyr. 6.4.7). Procopius praises Belisarius since this general avoided contact with women (Procop. Goth. 7.1.11-12).


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the king’s action look even more chivalrous. 49 In the Greek biographer and philosopher Plutarch’s (c. 46-120 ce) description reflecting the ideals of the Second Sophistic, the reason for the king’s conduct was his Greek education and his love for philosophy.50 Plutarch praises Alexander for refusing to even look at the women who could have tempted him. He instead maintained sexual self-control. Some fifty years later, Aulus Gellius (c. 125-after 180 ce) wrote that Scipio Africanus showed even greater restraint by being able to look a beautiful captive woman while still showing self-control, unlike Alexander who had to abstain from looking at the Persian women.51 Turning to the fourth century ce, we encounter the same anecdote related by both ‘pagan’ and Christian authors. The first passage comes from the Res Gestae composed by the non-Christian Ammianus Marcellinus (born c. 325-330, died c. 391-400 ce): But as to the maidens who were taken prisoners (and they were beautiful, as is usual in Persia, where the women excel in that respect) he [Julian] refused to touch a single one or even to look on her, following the example of Alexander and Africanus, who avoided such conduct, lest those who showed themselves unwearied by hardships should be unnerved by passion.52

Here, Ammianus provides an idealizing portrayal of Emperor Julian, who is presented as following Alexander’s and Scipio’s behaviour. In his work, Ammianus makes Julian a symbol of manliness and self-control.53 The passage follows the literary tradition of the Early Empire concerning ‘great’ men of the past. Ammianus shows his audience that he knows the Classical tradition. At the same time, the anecdote constructs an image of true masculinity: a virtuous man being able to control his sexual drive is exemplary. The ruler of the state, especially, ought to show a good example to his subjects and control his passions when exercising power. Even though sexual morals in the Classical period were not as strictly defined as in the official Christian culture, the ideal of self-control received praise among the works of ‘pagan’ philosophers and historians of Antiquity. Barnes (1998) notes 49 See Herod. 5.18; Procop. Goth. 8.10.6. 50 For a detailed discussion on Alexander’s relationship with women in Plutarch, see Beneker, 2012, pp. 127-133. 51 Gell. 7.8.1-5. 52 Amm. Marc. 24.4.27. Translated by J.C. Rolfe. 53 Kuefler, 2001, p. 79.

Defining Manliness, Construc ting Identities


that Ammianus accepted Christian values and vocabulary.54 However, since the authors of the Early Empire already used the anecdote, it could rather be regarded as a topos reflecting general ideas on manhood that existed among the intellectuals of Classical Antiquity and that were accepted and re-used by Christian authors. The story of Alexander and the beautiful captivate women receives a Christianized meaning in Basil’s (329/330-379 ce) Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature. According to Basil, a bishop of Caesarea, the Macedonian king followed and proved right the teachings of Christ. Basil wanted to show that even pagans applied Christ’s teachings in order to not commit adultery.55 The fact that Alexander did not even look at Darius’ daughters since he knew they possessed marvellous beauty shows that Christ’s view on adultery was right.56 In Basil’s rhetoric, Alexander, even being unaware of Christ’s advice, thought it would have been disgraceful for him to be vanquished by women after having conquered men. Like in the literary tradition of the Early Empire, Basil and Ammianus portray women as testers of male self-control. According to the authors, a powerful man can rise above his passions and control his lust. In both cases, Alexander’s self-restraint towards the captive Persian women symbolizes ideal manliness and an imitable example for the contemporary audience which consisted of male members of the upper-class. In this context, traditional philosophical thinking and Christian religion offered similar gender roles which both portrayed women as the object of the male gaze and as a possible threat to male autonomy. The literary tradition surrounding Alexander favours male autonomy over the demands of close relatives, such as wives and/or mothers. The Alexander Romance does not only offer spectacular and fantastic stories about Alexander’s adventures, but also offers a view on gender roles. At the beginning of the Romance, Philip demands that his wife Olympias birth him a son after he comes back from war. While Philip is not home, Olympias slightly slips out of his control as her servant suggests she turn to an Egyptian magician who can help her fulfil her hopes.57 In what follows, Olympias thinks she has succeeded in having a son because of the help of god Ammon. However, it was pharaoh Nectanebo II, who, disguised as a wandering magician seduced Olympias and fathered Alexander. Later, when 54 Barnes, 1998, pp. 83-84. 55 Bas. Ad adolesc. 7.9. 56 See Matthew. 5.28-30. 57 Alex. Rom. 1.4.1-1.7.4.


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Philip and his wife start to quarrel, Alexander encourages his mother to solve the dispute and says: ‘It is right that woman should be ruled by her husband’.58 Alexander is the mediator who teaches proper gender roles, and tries to restore patriarchal order. In a good family, a man should control his wife and the wife should submit to his orders.59 The image of Alexander as a promoter of patriarchal order also appears in Ammianus Marcellinus’ works. In one of his passages, he criticizes Constantius Gallus (c. 325/326-354 ce) for letting his wife Constantina control his decisions/policy. Ammianus presents Constantina (born after 307-354 ce, daughter of the Emperor Constantine and sister of Constantius II) negatively and as a cruel and violent woman who incited her husband to murder several people.60 He criticizes Gallus for being ignorant (ignorans) and not taking notice of the way in which Alexander treated his mother.61 According to the story, Alexander’s mother frequently urged her son to kill innocent men. In her opinion, since she had carried him for nine months, Alexander should obey her requests. But Alexander responded wisely (prudens) and told his mother he considered a man’s life too precious to consent to such a request. The passage reaffirms masculine order. Here, Alexander is presented as an ideal man who succeeds in rejecting his mother’s attempts at influencing his decisions. For Ammianus, Constantius Gallus acted wrongly when he let his wife control his deeds, and the result was catastrophic. Thus, Gallus was defined as unmanly and in contrast with the manly Alexander. From the perspective of gender, Ammianus seemed to support gender roles: a man had to be autonomous from his wife or mother, and could not allow women control his actions. Sometimes, Christianized constructions of gender roles can be observed when the tradition of Alexander is contested. This becomes evident in a remark by Orosius (born c. 375, died after 418 ce), pupil of Augustine (354-430 ce), as he portrayed the encounter between Thalestris, the Amazon queen, and Alexander. Among the authors of the Early Empire, Thalestris’ actions

58 Alex. Rom.1.22.5. The same sentence is included in the Latin version of the Romance, see Jul. Val. Res. Gest. Alex. 1.640. In the Armenian version of the Romance (Alex. Rom. 61), Alexander tells his mother that a wife should obey her husband. 59 Sometimes the Greek and Latin versions of the Romance differ radically. For example, in the Greek version Alexander tells his general Parmenio: ‘It is shameful and more than shameful that a man who has defeated men through his manliness should be defeated by women’ (Alex. Rom. 2.17.27). However, this sentence is omitted from the Latin version of the Romance. 60 Barnes, 1998, pp. 120-121. 61 Amm. Marc. 16.11.22.

Defining Manliness, Construc ting Identities


do not receive condemnation.62 Instead, she is simply seen as a barbarian queen coming to meet Alexander with the purpose of having a child with him.63 However, on the contrary, Orosius, in his World History, composed between the fourth and fifth centuries ce, calls Thalestris a procax. This term can be translated as shameless or impudent.64 In other words, her actions went against the values and gender roles Orosius wanted to promote to his contemporary audience. It is tempting to argue that Orosius’ choice of words was a criticism of open sexuality which was against the Christian ideals for women. In Fulgentius’ (late fifth-early sixth century ce) On the Ages of the World and Man which was the first text to refer directly to the Alexander Romance, we can also find a critique of ‘pagan’ gender roles. The work is a summary of world history, sacred and profane, in which the history of Alexander is dealt with in the tenth book. In the beginning of the passage, Fulgentius states that there exist several tales about Alexander’s birth,65 and, according to one of these tales, it was because of the magician Dictanabus (Nectanebo) that Olympias embraced a huge serpent whose scales made her pregnant. After this, Fulgentius adds a critical remark on the Classical tradition: ‘There is no need to dress up the adultery of his [Alexander] mother by inventing names, for she is said to have had a husband to whom few attributes of husbands applied’.66 The Alexander Romance offers a stormy portrait of the relationship between Philip and Olympias, but it does not by any means criticize Olympias’ decision to become pregnant this way, nor does it moralize Philip’s actions as Alexander’s father. In addition, it is stated that Alexander’s did not physically resemble his father and that this also irritated Philip.67 However, Fulgentius’ above passage seems to reflect Christian and Biblical ideals on the roles to be fulfilled by a wife and husband. The information provided by the Romance about Alexander not looking like his father allows Fulgentius to claim that this was a proof of adultery. Fulgentius makes a moral critique against both Olympias and Philip whose conducts do not meet Christian standards.

62 Curt. 6.5.24-32; Plut. Alex. 46; Diod. Sic. 17.77.1-3; Just. 12.3.5-7; Strabo 11.5.4. 63 Diodorus praises the courage, bodily strength, and beauty of Thalestris. In Curtius, sexual desire of Thalestris is stronger than Alexander’s, and Justin writes that she ‘was seeking sexual intercourse’; cf. Ogden, 2009, pp. 209-210. 64 Oros. 3.18.5. 65 For the tales surrounding the birth of Alexander, see footnote 41 of this study. 66 Fulg. De aet.10.37.19-20. 67 Alex. Rom. 1.13.3, 1.14.1.


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In the Christian culture of Late Antiquity, the mother had an important role in teaching her children Christian doctrines. The positive influence of a mother’s religiosity in a child’s spirituality is related in early Christian autobiographies.68 In Ennodius’ (473/474-521 ce) Panegyric to Theoderic (Panegyricus Theoderico) the role of Alexander’s mother in his education is compared to Theoderic’s (454-526 ce) maternal upbringing. After stating that Alexander was mighty but inferior to Theoderic since the latter was Christian while Alexander worshipped pagan gods, Ennodius refers to their mothers: ‘Him [Alexander], his mother unaware of his error kept ignorant of true religion, but vital instruction initiated you into worship of the highest God at the very threshold of your life’.69 We know that Theoderic followed the Arian faith while his mother, Ereleuva, was Catholic, but was presented as willing to teach her son. Thus, the story indicates that while Alexander was a famous and praised king even though he received a poor education from his mother, Theoderic was even greater since he received a good education from his Catholic mother. The passage portrays childhood as a phase during which the future character of an individual is modelled. Naturally, the necessity for a good early education was not a Christian idea but occurred in pre-Christian traditions. Here however, the importance of religion in early life is stressed more than in the Classical tradition where the main focus is on teaching good morals and avoiding bad habits.70 The role of the mother was therefore to ensure that her children would adopt the right religious beliefs and a Christian identity. The literary culture dominated by men seems to impact on the way women are portrayed in the tradition surrounding Alexander. Authors of the Late Empire promote the view that manliness means supremacy over women. The maintenance of patriarchal order seems to be behind every passage analysed in this section. The famous exemplary men of the past were portrayed as rulers of nations and of women. Neither the beauty of captive women nor the obligations made by wives or mothers should prevent male autonomy. Authors of the Late Empire write about the relationship between men and women of the remote past as an ideal to follow and consequently provide lessons to their contemporary readers. Sometimes the comments seem to reflect Christian morals from the viewpoint of ecclesiastical nobility. In the culture of Late Antiquity, the pagan past and its gender conceptions are contested and presented critically with 68 Vuolanto, 2012, pp. 61-62. 69 Ennod. Pan. Theod. 17.79. 70 For the tradition on Alexander’s early education, see Quint. Inst. 1.2.8-9; Hier. Ep. 107.4.

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the purpose of praising Christian values promoted in the present. In the literary tradition, pagan morals, and actions in relation to sex were portrayed as representations of loose morals inferior to Christian values. Yet Christian writers and thinkers did not craft a new masculine ideal, but on some level shared and further exploited the previous ‘pagan’ conceptions of manliness and unmanliness. In the Medieval reception of Alexander’s relationship with women, that can be read from Walter of Châtillon’s (twelfth century ce) Alexandreis and Johan’s Hartlieb’s (c. 1410-1468 ce) Alexander Romance translated into German, praises for the king’s self-restraint are also shown towards women in the Christian context.71 The stories retold in the Medieval period have the same ethos and message to those appearing in the Late Antique texts.

Cultural and ethnic identities and the reuse of Alexander’s image The use of the image of Alexander as a tool in the constructions of ethnic and cultural identities highlights ideologically the past was seen. The invocation of Alexander’s memory in the construction of an image of ‘us Romans’ appears in both the Greek and Latin literature of the Early Empire. The Graeco-Roman authors of the Second Sophistic portrayed Alexander as the ultimate hero and as a virile representation of Greek heritage.72 In the works of Latin historians, the Roman leaders Papirius Cursor (late fourth/ early third century bce), Julius Caesar, and Germanicus are presented as superior to Alexander since, although somewhat equal to Macedonian king in deeds of war, they did not present his negative qualities of anger and drunkenness.73 In the Late Empire, we encounter ideologically loaded rhetorical comparisons, especially in panegyrics (cf. passages above), in which Alexander is proved to be morally inferior to his Roman counterparts. These texts eulogize Roman emperors by calling them ‘our emperor’.74 These texts can therefore be considered as Imperial and patriotic eulogies, which aimed at creating feelings of collective identity. 71 Müller, 2008, pp. 270-275. 72 Asirvatham 2010a, pp. 112-114 recognizes the image of Alexander as a Greek cultural hero; Asirvatham 2010b compares the portraits of Alexander and Philip, and stresses that Alexander is repeatedly raised above his father in Dio, Chrysostom and Plutarch. 73 Liv. 9.16.13-19; cf. section where Livy lists Alexander’s vices and praises the Roman army and its commanders: 9.16.19-19.17; Vel. Pat. 2.41.1-2; Tac. Ann. 2.73. This tradition interestingly differs in the several passages where the Roman leaders are said to have imitated Alexander in their deeds and policy. 74 Euseb. Vit. Const. 8.1; Lib. Or. 59.25, 52.


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In the texts of Late Antiquity, images of Alexander frequently defended and promoted patriotic war ideologies. In warfare, Romans were superior to any other race and fought for better reasons. Comparisons between the wars of Alexander and those of the Romans are found in the Panegyric of Constantine Augustus, composed by an anonymous writer. It was delivered soon after Constantine’s victory over the armies of Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge and, therefore, it cannot be dated earlier than 313.75 The author of the panegyric seems to know Livy’s (59 bce-17 ce) famous comparatio Alexandri in which the Roman Empire’s military strength is compared with the supposed strength of Alexander’s army who could have attacked Italian soil.76 Livy portrayed Alexander’s eastern opponents as weaker than the Roman army had the Macedonian king dare to attack Rome. In the same panegyric, Alexander’s conquests are described as campaigns against the weak and effeminate Medians, Syrians, and Parthians.77 The writer describes Alexander’s famous achievements as the outcome of a single battle, and of a war waged against weak opponents, while Constantine fought against Maxentius’ troops which were composed of real soldiers armed with quality weapons. In addition, Maxentius’ soldiers were Romans and they were prepared not to surrender except in death.78 By portraying Alexander’s eastern opponents as weak, and by praising the bravery of Maxentius’ troops the author uses the recent civil war and its memory to highlight the idea of the Romans as a military nation par excellence. In the literary culture of Late Antiquity, we encounter Romans often describing their opponents as effeminate, which Kuefler (2001) sees as reflecting the turbulent times during which there was a need to portray enemies as weak.79 Roman manliness, demonstrated by martial prowess, is superior to Rome’s weak opponents in all continents. The reference to Alexander’s war with Persia served to boost Roman cultural pride and self-esteem. Libanius’ oration addressed to Emperors Constantius and Constans, and Alexander’s Itinerary, aim to construct strongly positive images of the 75 Nixon and Rodgers 1994, pp. 288-290. The speech was probably delivered at Trier. It is most likely that the writer had made a career as a public speaker in both a private capacity and in the Imperial court. He was in his mature years when he delivered the speech. 76 Liv. 9.17.5- 9.18.5. 77 Pan. Lat. 12.5.1-3. Kuefler, 2001, p. 47. It seems that this simplifying statement is misinformation, since it is known that Alexander fought three battles against the Persian Empire. Accordingly, Alexander led many other military operations. 78 Ibid. 79 Kuefler, 2001, p. 47.

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‘justified’ wars fought by the Romans. This is done by comparing Roman warfare to that of Alexander’s. In one passage, Libanius, in comparing the sons of Constantine to those of Alexander, gives reasons for Constantius and Constans being superior to past kings.80 Libanius reminds his readers that Alexander was not content with his wealth and splendour but greedily took possession of those of others. In contrast, Libanius argues that even if Constantius and Constans were the most powerful of all, they did not plunder. They could be seen as morally superior because they held the territories they received when ascending to the throne without a desire for extra lands.81 Interestingly, the passage implicitly suggests that emperors who did not wage wars of aggression were greater rulers than Alexander. In another context, the anonymous author of Alexander’s Itinerary presents Constantius’ aggressive campaign against the Sassanid Empire as more justified than those of the Macedonian world conqueror’s. The use of the image of Alexander followed the changes in political climate, whether the Romans were at war or not, the past was to strengthen the patriotic collective identity of the community. Moreover, in court rhetoric, the aim was to show that the current policy was related to the emperor’s perfect persona. The policy of making allies with former enemies is eulogized in other panegyrics. In one addressed to Emperor Maximian and another for Emperor Theodosius, Alexander’s treatment of Indian Porus is compared to Roman policy. In the literary tradition of the Early Empire, Alexander made Porus his ally and restored his kingdom after the battle at the Hydaspes river.82 In the panegyric of Maximian, the emperor is presented as having fulfilled a similar noble deed. The text was most likely composed by Mamertinus and delivered in 291 ce.83 Mamertinus was probably a Gaul from the city of Trier, who, in the speech refers to Diocletian’s and Maximian’s recent victory over the Frankish king, Gennoboudes. In the passage, Mamertinus reminds his audience of the many kings who are Maximian’s clients (clientes), and that one of these clients was the Frankish king who had recovered his kingdom and received it as a gift from Maximian. However, Mamertinus claims that Alexander’s restoring of the Indian king seems lesser in value when compared to the policy of Maximian.

80 Lib. Or. 59.52-55. 81 Lib. Or. 59.53-54. 82 Arr. An. 5.19.2-3; Curt. 8.14.41-45; Plut. Alex. 60.14-15. 83 The composer of the work was a Gaul, likely from Trier. Some manuscripts name Mamertinus as the author of the panegyric; cf. Nixon and Rodgers 1994, pp. 41-43.


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In another passage, composed some ninety years later, Themistius (c. 317-390 ce) praises Emperor Theodosius’ Gothic policy. When the speech was delivered, the Gothic wars were still raging, and there was no certainty of their result and end. In this context, Themistius refers to an incident in which the Getic chieftain, Athanaric, surrendered to Theodosius in Constantinople on 11 January 381 ce. According to the author, the chieftain approached the emperor unarmed and gave himself up, knowing that the emperor would not want to treat him as an enemy. Themistius refers to Alexander’s treatment of Porus the Indian and other similar episodes in the past. He mentions that the Persian king Artaxerxes took Athenian Themistocles (c. 524-459 bce) on his side and that the Romans made the Numidian king Masinissa (c. 238-148 bce) their ally. By making references to the remote past, the writer shows that there was nothing extraordinary or unmanly, in the diplomatic policy with the Getic chieftain.84 Like in the Panegyric of Constantine Augustus (cf. passage above), this episode turned out to be an illustrious indication of the greatness of Rome. Ethnic and cultural definitions of identity using the legacy of Alexander could also be constructed among ‘barbarian’ groups within the Roman Empire. Ennodius places the Ostrogothic king Theoderic on par with Alexander (cf. passage above). Jordanes does the same in his Getica composed at the end of sixth or early seventh century, where he compares Gothic king Ermanaric (died 370s) to Alexander. The work deals with the early history of the Goths and consisted of a summary of Cassiodorus’ previous work. Jordanes was from a Gothic background. He wrote that the Gothic king who subjugated several northern peoples was justly compared with Alexander. From Jordanes’ passage we see how the king ruling Germany and Scythia was portrayed as even greater through the reference to the Classical past.85 The Gothic past needed ancestors comparable to the great figures of Classical Antiquity. The manliness of Ermanaric was constructed through comparatio Alexandri and served as a patriotic display of identity as Jordanes offered a reconstruction of the ‘barbarian’ past. When speaking of group identities, it is noteworthy that Alexander served as a tool to construct and define even more restricted socio-cultural group identities. In the polemic discourse where supporters of the traditional polytheistic religion confronted defenders of Christianity, Alexander’s fame could have been used by both parties to defend their beliefs. Emperor Julian, perhaps the most famous ‘pagan’, nicknamed ‘apostate’, used the 84 Them. Or. 15. 190c-190d. 85 Jord. Get. 23.116.

Defining Manliness, Construc ting Identities


legacy of Alexander when defining the superiority of traditional religion and its supporters. In his letter to Alexandrians, Alexander is presented as a pious worshipper of the traditional gods.86 The concept of ‘god-fearing’ (θεοσεβής) refers to a religious person who serves and fears gods. In this context, the word is used with positive connotations. In the passage above, Julian reminds his audience that the founder of their city – Alexander – was a follower of polytheistic religion. In Against the Galileans Julian claims that Jews do not have a military commander as great as Alexander or Julius Caesar. Even the lesser Roman commanders were considered far greater than the Jewish generals.87 The aim of the comparison is to show that worshippers of the traditional gods were more capable than members of the Christian churches or than the Jews. They represented true manliness, as opposed to the unmanly Christians. Thus, Julian’s passages create a sense of identity for the ‘pagan’ habitants of Alexandria and the ‘pagan’ habitants of the whole Empire, by leaving out the Jews and Christians. However, Early Christians, whom Julian famously called ‘Galileans’, were also producing and exploiting images of the past in defining themselves.88 The Christian writers of Late Antiquity wrote about Alexander in the construction of a Christian identity and in promoting its superiority over traditional religion. John Chrysostom (c. 349-407 ce), in his famous oration, compared the legacy of Christ to that of Alexander. If Christians were presented as ‘those saying Crucified lives’, pagans claimed that ‘Alexander lives still’. According to John Chrysostom pagans saw Alexander as a god but laughed about the resurrection of Christ.89 Augustine, Orosius, and Fulgentius all write that Alexander’s conquest was a regrettable event that destroyed the inhabited world and caused vast suffering and destruction.90 Alexander’s praised legacy was therefore used to highlight the evil nature of pre-Christian ‘pagan history’. The image of Alexander as a pagan despot served to symbolize Christianity’s superiority and its concepts of past and present. In their works, ‘pagan’ martial virtue which was previously portrayed as a manly feature, is contested and seen as an irrational action driven by greed and by the desire to destroy the existing order of a world created by God. 86 Julian. Ep. 47.433C. Julian’s public letters were not all his unaided compositions, but every letter was sanctioned by him and went out with his signature (Trapp, 2012, p. 110). 87 Julian. Adv. Galil. 218B. 88 For a discussion on the reception of Alexander the Great by the church fathers, see Peltonen, 2018. 89 Joh. Chrys. In. 2; Cor. Hom. 61.581.50-53. 90 Peltonen, 2018, pp. 488-490.


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By the using the image of Alexander, authors constructed idealized images of their communities. The authors of the panegyrics created stories in which their constructions of Roman might were not only equal, but superior, to the legacy of Alexander’s accomplishments. Jordanes constructs an image of his Gothic past by placing Ermanaric on the same level as Alexander. Julian creates a positive image of a pagan monarch whom he presents as an imitable example and as proof for pagan superiority over early Christians. Conversely, Christian texts seem to deny the heroic masculinity of Alexander’s conquest. Their cherished hero was Christ whose self-sacrifice and death were praised above the achievements of previous heroes of the Classical culture. The concept of masculinity seems to have always contained the idea of comparison and victory over rivals. At the same time, the portrayal of the past is related to collective identity in which ‘our’ or ‘their’ Alexander (or any other historical figure) is part of the cultural definition made by the contemporaries. The past and the figure of Alexander (and other figures of history) served as a tool in the definition of identity be it male or female, Roman or Christian, barbarian or pagan.

Conclusions For authors of Late Antiquity, writing about the past was about defining themselves in terms of gender, ethnic, and cultural identity, as well as cultural memory. As was shown in this article, these key concepts are often intertwined, therefore making it difficult to separate these theoretical concepts from each other when reading the data; the same text may serve as an instrument in constructing several def initions. When an author writes about a certain figure of the past, he participates in creating cultural memory. In turn, the data which is preserved in cultural memory is used as a tool to construct different kinds of gender identities and connotations. However, under changing circumstances, this data has the potential to be interpreted in multiple ways. This article has shown that the figure of Alexander has enabled authors representing different groups and eras to build different gender and cultural identities. The reception of Alexander during the Late Empire reflects Roman gender expectations for members of the upper class. Men who take the lead in the society should be superior in deeds of war and show self-restraint. In addition, the ideal of manly beauty, already stressed in Classical Greek art, appears in the literary portraits of men in Late Antiquity. Manliness is often expressed through dominance over women. Men who controlled their

Defining Manliness, Construc ting Identities


wives demonstrated manliness, and this manliness was used to symbolize an entire group of people. This seems to be the case when Roman emperors are portrayed as representatives of the whole Roman population. In this context, Alexander was regarded as an alpha male whom the authors used in offering their own definitions of manliness. Classical cultural heritage offered a framework through which the people of the Late Roman Empire and of Medieval Europe understood their world. The figure of Alexander was imported to the societies which saw their roots in the Greco-Roman past. He is mentioned in relation to famous men such as Persian Cyrus, Roman Scipio, or Augustus. These previous leaders and monarchs were regarded as predecessors to the emperors and their life provided exemplary material for the contemporary world. Sometimes, Alexander represents the group to which the author belongs (cf. Emperor Julian) while sometimes the author does not connect directly with the king. Instead, a boost of cultural pride and self-esteem is created through praise for the emperor, the ‘barbarian’ king (Jordanes), or Christ through the use of the Macedonian king. Even though Alexander’s role as a representative for manliness (or unmanliness) was not invented in Late Antiquity, it surely formed an important part of his legacy when Western Rome collapsed and Christianity became the dominant religion of the ancient world. This legacy has not disappeared in modern Europe, and continues to flourish since his figure has been used as a national symbol in both Greece and the Republic of Macedonia.

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Jacob Isager, ‘Alexander the Great in Roman Literature from Pompey to Vespasian’, in Alexander the Great: Reality and Myth, ed. by Jesper Carlsen (Rome: Bretschneider, 1993), pp. 75-85. Mathew Kuefler, The Manly Eunuch: Masculinity, Gender Ambiguity, and Christian Ideology in Late Antiquity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001). Robin Lane Fox, ‘The Itinerary of Alexander: Constantius to Julian’, Classical Quarterly, 47.1 (1997), 239-252. Doug Lee, War in Late Antiquity: A Social History (New York: Blackwell, 2007). Helen Lovatt, ‘Ralph M. Rosen and Ineke Sluiter, Andreia: Studies in Manliness and Courage in Classical Antiquity’, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 12.19 (2003). Simon Malloch, ‘Gaius’ Bridge and Alexander-Imitatio’, Classical Quarterly, 51.1 (2001), 206-217. Mark Masterson, Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz and James Robson, eds., Sex in Antiquity: Exploring Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World (New York: Routledge, 2014). Myles McDonnell, Roman Manliness: ‘Virtus’ and the Roman Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). Catie Mihalopoulos, ‘The Construction of a New Ideal – The Official Portraiture of Alexander the Great’, in Alexander the Great. A New History, ed. by Waldemar Heckel and Lawrence Tritle (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), pp. 275-293. Sabine Müller, ‘Asceticism, Gallantry, or Polygamy? Alexander’s Relationship with Women as a Topos in Medieval Romance Traditions’, Medieval History Journal, 11.3 (2008), 259-287. Krzysztof Nawotka, The Alexander Romance by Ps.-Callisthenes – A Historical Commentary (Leiden: Brill, 2017). Sarah Nelson, Women in Antiquity: Theoretical Approaches to Gender and Archaeology (Rowman Altamira: Lanham, 2007). Oliver Nicholson, ‘Caelum potius intuemini: Lactantius and a Statue of Constantine’, Studia Patristica, 34 (2001), 177-197. Charles Nixon and Barbara Rodgers, ed., In Praise of Later Roman Emperors: The Panegyrici Latini. Introduction, Translation and Historical Commentary (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994). Daniel Ogden, ‘Alexander’s Sex Life’, in Alexander the Great. A New History, ed. by Waldemar Heckel W. and Lawrence Tritle (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), pp. 203-218. Daniel Ogden, Alexander the Great – Myth, Genesis and Sexuality (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2011). Jaakkojuhani Peltonen, ‘Church Fathers and the Reception of Alexander the Great’, in Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Alexander the Great, ed. by Kenneth Moore (Leiden: Brill, 2018), pp. 477-503. Hans Pohlsander, The Emperor Constantine (2nd edition). London: Routledge, 2004.


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About the Author Dr Jaakkojuhani Peltonen is a Reseacher at the University of Tampere.


‘At the Age of Nineteen’ (RG 1) Life, Longevity, and the Formation of an Augustan Past (43-38 bce)* Mary Harlow and Ray Laurence Abstract Augustus lived into his 70s but began his public career at just nineteen years of age. This is a well-known fact, but little consideration has been given to its significance. How did his age shape the representation of his actions? How did older men react to a nineteen-year-old with an army? What were their expectations, and how did their ideas influence Octavian and the development of the imagery of the later Augustan age? The paper will examine this problem with a view to identifying how age shaped the first princeps’ identity. Keywords: Augustus, identity, life stages, memory, representation, youth

Introduction The modern conception of Augustus has been shaped by the considerable work on imagery that so often reproduces the statue of the Apollo-esque young man.1 The interpretation of this material and its presence within modern scholarship creates a subconscious illusion that Augustus was * This paper has been written for this volume with grateful thanks to Katariina Mustakallio for her friendship and her never-ending generous support and encouragement for our work. This paper follows on from others presented at the Passages from Antiquity to the Middle Ages conferences in Tampere, including three that are published: Harlow and Laurence, 2010, 2011, and 2015. Here, we expand our original foray into the investigation of the youthful Octavian in Harlow and Laurence, 2002, pp. 111-116, and it should be read alongside our discussion of Augustus as a senex – Harlow and Laurence, 2017. 1 Zanker, 1988, pp. 33-53.

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch06


Mary Harlow and R ay L aurence

forever a young man – who ‘at the age of nineteen’ (Res Gestae 1) reshaped the nature of Roman history. Using sources from the High Empire, our paper sets out to locate a sense of memory of the Deified Augustus as a nineteenyear-old and those who might have influenced him in his youth, as well as suggesting that some of the most famous imagery of the Augustan Age has its origins in the late 40s and early 30s bce. It is the interaction between Octavian and older men that is the focus of our paper: how did they react to a nineteen-year-old with an army? What were their expectations, and how did their ideas influence Octavian and the development of the imagery of the later Augustan age? Octavian is one of the best documented youths from the ancient world. Here we examine the reactions to him at the age of nineteen to understand how ancient concepts of youth and maturity shaped the actions of men in 43 bce and the subsequent decade. In so doing, we challenge the notion (put forward, for example, by Parkin 2010) that the division of the human life span into stages was simply a literary topos. Certainly, we would agree that these schemas do not report actual social practice, but we will argue, with the example of Octavian before us, that they did inform the views held of Octavian, and the discourse about him, including underlying the insults directed at him as a mere boy (puer). The focus by older men on Octavian’s age can be seen to have been a causal factor in the creation of the triumvirate of Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian. We are less concerned with the politics or events leading to the formation of the triumvirate but wish to set out how the age of Octavian is represented and how Rome’s most famous nineteen-year-old can provide us with a better understanding of the expectations of younger men in ancient Rome.2 Theories of age in antiquity, we suggest, were much more than a topos or literary construct abstracted from a mentalité of ‘growing up and growing old’. The latter created expectations of both the young and the old that ran through ancient societies from the time of Solon to that of Isidore of Seville in Late Antiquity, and arguably well beyond.3 Effectively, these theories of age divided the life span (of men) into various stages from birth to old age and attributed expectations of behaviour to individuals at different stages: the young were perceived as rash, given to often changing their minds 2 For chronological accounts of politics and war, see Rawson, 1994; Galinsky, 1996, pp. 42-49; most recently Alston, 2015. 3 See Parkin, 2010, for discussion. There is now quite an extensive bibliography on Roman youth, see for example, Eyben, 1993; Fraschetti, 1997; Harlow and Laurence, 2002; Laes and Strubbe, 2014.



about courses of action or acting intemperately, whereas the elderly were conceived of as slow, anxious, and given to recalling the past. The example of Octavian and his interaction with others from 43 to 38 bce provides us with an opportunity to evaluate how this mentalité found in contemporary writers, such as Varro, and shaped attitudes of others towards Octavian at the ages of nineteen and early twenties. The recall of Octavian/Augustus found in later writers also allows us to view what might be described as part of a reservoir of collective memory that was focussed on the key feature of his youth. We will argue that this concentration on his youth created Octavian/Augustus as a new reference point sitting alongside others from the past, to whom comparisons might be made. This was not of itself a new phenomenon. Julius Caesar had lamented that he had done so little compared with Alexander the Great at the same age. 4 Octavian was seen to have the youthful strength of Alexander and used a seal for his correspondence with the image of Alexander.5 Today, we are missing many of the sources that historians had access to in antiquity: Octavian’s own Commentaries for instance, made a direct connection to the events of his youth.6 Cassius Dio, in a fictional address by Octavian to the senate in 27 bce points to his achievements at a young age in coming to the aid of the senate: ‘In spite of my youth […] I set my hand to every task with a spirit beyond my years’.7 We argue that the events of 43 bce and the subsequent years, through to a little after the shaving of his f irst beard in 39 bce, formed the image of the young Octavian which was recalled; an image that forever situated him in the events of his life between the age of nineteen and 25 years. We will also suggest that although the imagery of the Augustan age was created in this period, later events, such as the victory at Actium or the simple ageing of Augustus, caused some of the intentional imagery of his youth to be over-written. This is most obviously seen in the Forum of Augustus, which took forty years to build (42 to 2 bce) and is too often only discussed in the context of its dedication rather than its creation some forty years earlier by a much younger man.8

4 Suet. Iul. 7; App. B Civ. 2.149-54; Suet. Aug. 18. 5 Suet. Aug. 94; Suet. Aug. 50. See article by Jaakkojuhani Peltonen in this volume, for the significance of Alexander the Great in constructing ideal manhood in the Roman culture. 6 Plut. Brut. 41.4. 7 Cass. Dio 53.5. 8 See, for example: Yavetz, 1984, p. 7; Zanker, 1988, pp. 19-195 and pp. 201-215; Luce, 2009.


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Remembering Octavian’s childhood, early youth, and the making of an adult The memory of the childhood of Augustus is thin, precisely because it is overshadowed by his actions from the age of nineteen.9 Later authors provide us with a contrast to Nicolaus of Damascus’ biography written in c. 20 bce which provides an intriguing eulogy of Augustus that Karl Galinsky has shown has features in common with Luke’s treatment of the young Jesus.10 Mark Tober (2009) carefully points out the key issues of using Nicolaus of Damascus’ overblown superlatives that idealise Octavian’s mother and stepfather.11 Other stories include that of a divine conception reminiscent of the conception of Alexander the Great.12 Later authors used this text alongside the memoirs of Augustus 13 but tended to edit down Augustus’ childhood to a selection of particular incidents. For example, his father died when he was four, he gave a funeral oration to commemorate his grandmother, Julia, before an assembly, at the age of twelve.14 Yet, objects or relics from his early life seem to have resurfaced more than a century later. A small bronze bust of Augustus as a child came into the possession of Suetonius with an iron inscription that was almost worn away, due to its age, giving his cognomen as Thurinus.15 The biographer recalls that he made a gift of the bust to the emperor Hadrian, who worshipped it with the Lares in his private apartment. According to Dio, those who served Octavian as a child, were later honoured: in 40 bce his slave attendant, Sphaerus – who was later freed – was given a public funeral.16 The period following from when he f irst wore the toga virilis is at best sketchy but does include a story of the seams of his senatorial tunic splitting and the garment falling to his feet – an indication that the senatorial order would be brought to his feet.17 It is worth mentioning that Cicero is recalled as dreaming of a boy resembling Octavian descending from heaven to the temple of Jupiter and being handed a whip.18 Suetonius 9 Galinsky, 2012, pp. 1-19; Zanker, 1988, pp. 47-49. 10 Galinsky 2012, 12-14. 11 Tober, 2009. 12 Lorsch, 1997. 13 See Smith and Powell, 2009. 14 Suet. Aug. 8, 84. 15 Suet. Aug. 7. 16 Cass. Dio 48.33.1. 17 Suet. Aug. 94. 18 Suet. Aug. 98.



calibrates these events with reference to Julius Caesar’s African triumph (46 bce)19 which occurred four years after Octavian had undergone the rite of passage associated with the first wearing of the toga virilis.20 We also know that he was betrothed to marry an unnamed bride, an arrangement broken at the formation of the triumvirate and the marriage of Octavian to the daughter of Clodius and Fulvia (and stepdaughter of Mark Antony), Claudia.21 This period of early youth saw Octavian take no part in the campaigns in Africa, because he was too young – yet he received military gifts at the triumph. After this, Julius Caesar left for Spain, without Octavian. Even though he was recovering from a serious illness, Octavian followed the Dictator and, in spite of shipwreck, caught up with him and took part in the Spanish campaigns. Antony and his brother, Lucius, later claimed that in this period of early youth, older men had sex with him: Julius Caesar being one and Aulus Hirtius being another – paying him 300,000 sesterces.22 This places him, in terms of age, as youthfully sexually attractive to older men, and yet to be married. Thus, he fulfils expectations of age-related roles, or his age attracts accusations of homosexual relations that can be seen as an aspect of the lives young men at Rome prior to marriage. On the conclusion of Julius Caesar’s campaigns in Spain, Octavian was sent to Apollonia, in anticipation of Caesar’s campaign against the Parthians, and in anticipation of his ability to act as an adult. His entourage included the elderly Apollodorus of Pergamon as tutor, and he was studying when he heard the news of his great-uncle’s assassination.23 While in Apollonia he visited the astrologer, Theogenes, and his future greatness was predicted.

Age-ism: Antony and the Senate The events following the murder of Julius Caesar and the lead-in to the formation of the triumvirate of Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian, are probably the best documented in Roman history.24 However, our focus here is on the attempts to marginalise Octavian due to his age – the very feature that he 19 Suet. Aug. 8. 20 Suet. Aug. 94. See the paper of Berg in this volume, for the cultural significance of clothing in general. 21 Cass. Dio 46.56.3-4; Suet. Aug. 61. 22 Suet. Aug. 68. 23 Plut. Brut. 22; App. B Civ. 3.9; Suet. Aug. 89; Vell. Pat. 2.59. 24 Rawson, 1975, p. 260.


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later celebrates as an old man writing the Res Gestae.25 A factor shaping the events of 44-43 bce was the fundamental rejection of Octavian as a youth, alongside the propensity of Antony and many other senators to insult him by referring to him as a mere boy (puer) rather than as the heir of Julius Caesar. Travelling to Rome, he was met by crowds of people, but Antony neither went to meet him in person, nor sent anyone else to meet him. This created alarm amongst Octavian’s advisors – principally his mother and his stepfather, Philippus Marcius, but he calmed their concerns by stating that he would call on Antony in the role of a younger man or as a private citizen, visiting a consul.26 Interestingly, in Appian, his mother intervenes to advise him not to act rashly. The next day, with friends, he went to the forum and presented himself to the City Prefect (Antony’s brother, Gaius) to declare he accepted his adoption by Julius Caesar. From the forum, he went to call on Antony in the Gardens of Caesar. 27 The dialogue that takes place between Octavian and Antony is tarnished by the fact that the younger man speaks too boldly or in a manner beyond his years, and Antony addresses him as a ‘young man’.28 It is this meeting that triggers, in Appian, Octavian’s move to raise an army. The later tradition points to a narrative of events in which Octavian’s age and the reaction to his age by senators is a key factor in the development of the triumvirate and the shift from a republic to a monarchy. The contemporary evidence found in the Letters of Cicero provides a different viewpoint and allows us to look into the hostility to Octavian among senators, due to his age. Cicero, writing to Atticus from Astura on 11 April 44 bce, asked how Octavian’s arrival went and whether people rallied to him or a coup was suspected, but his tone is dismissive and suggests both would have been unlikely.29 The next day, after receiving a letter, Cicero continues to be dismissive of Octavian and focussed rather on Antony and the murderers of Caesar.30 On the 19 April, Cicero reports that Octavian had met Balbus in Naples, who passed on the news that the young man would be accepting his inheritance from Julius Caesar’s estate, but anticipated a fight for it with Antony.31 Two days later, Octavian was staying next-door at the house of his stepfather Philippus, and Cicero wryly comments, ‘he is 25 For events see discussion by Osgood, 2006, pp. 12-61; Levick, 2010, pp. 23-62. 26 App. B Civ. 3.13; c.f. Suet. Aug. 8. 27 App. B Civ. 3.14. 28 App. B Civ. 3.14-20. 29 Cic. Att. 14.5.3. 30 Cic. Att. 14.6.1. 31 Cic. Att. 14.10.3.



totally devoted to me’.32 The next letter, dated to 22 April 44 bce, is revealing: Cicero refers to Octavian as a puer (boy) and not a good citizen. He reports also that his stepfather, Philippus, continued to call him Octavius, while members of his entourage were now calling him Caesar.33 Cicero sides with Philippus to call him Octavius and points to the dangers of an entourage who threaten revenge on the ‘liberators’. There is a gap in the correspondence until 11 May, when Cicero notes that Quintus junior had sided with Antony and Atticus is asked about Octavian’s speech in Rome before a contio.34 A week later, 18 May, Cicero expresses his foreboding on the basis of the speech and the fact that Octavian was to hold games in honour of Caesar (from 20 to 30 July). Interestingly, in June 44 bce, Cicero reveals that Philippus, Octavian’s stepfather, whom he had seen at Astura, had little confidence in putting faith in someone so young (alongside someone with the name of Caesar, his inheritance, and his education).35 Cicero was of the view that Octavian needed to be supported and kept from allying with Antony, but welcomed the fact that C. Marcellus had recommended his own works to Octavian. At the same time, he noted Octavian’s distrust of the consuls Hirtius and Pansa. The correspondence between Cicero and Atticus later in 44 bce reveals a shift from reporting news of Octavian to interaction between Cicero and Octavian. On 2 or 3 November, Cicero reports on a letter in which Octavian had stated his plans, following the recruitment of soldiers at 500 denarii each, which Cicero interprets as impending war with Antony.36 The problem of Octavian’s age is raised by Cicero, using the word puerile to describe a plan for Cicero to meet him secretly. Cicero wonders that he and others will be following a commander so young and using the name Caesar. Subsequently, Octavian sent a friend, Caecina of Volterra, to see Cicero and request advice on whether he should march on Rome with 3,000 veterans or hold Capua against Antony. Cicero was clear that he should march on Rome for the political reason that the plebs urbana would support him and the boni (senators) might, if convinced of his sincerity. Interestingly, Cicero is clear that he could not have anticipated this new development. The next day, Cicero reports on two letters from Octavian and that he had played for time, commenting that he did not trust 32 Cic. Att. 14.11.2. 33 Cic. Att. 14.12.2; compare Vell. Pat. 2.60 on the name. 34 Cic. Att. 14.21.4, 14.22.4. 35 Cic. Att. 15.12.2. 36 Cic. Att. 16.8.


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Octavian’s age and that Varro did not think much of the puer’s plan.37 There is a clear limitation in Octavian’s experience of dealing with senatorial matters.38 Cicero knew on 4 November that the senate could not meet before the Kalends of January, but Octavian persisted in a plan for the senate to meet – which earns the comment sed est plane puer (but he is very much a boy). Cicero, though, admires his energy and the ‘boy’s popularity in the municipia’. Jon Hall reads these letters as demonstrating a ‘sometimes cagey, sometimes awkward courtesy between the pair’, but also the persuasiveness of Octavian’s request for the advice of Cicero to save the republic for a second time (iterum rem publicam sevarem).39 There is some convergence here between this conception of service to the state by Cicero and that recalled by Augustus, many years later, as an old man in the beginning of Res Gestae. Later, in November 44 bce Cicero was to ponder the nature of officium as it applied to him as a consul in the context of Octavian receiving poor advice from Philippus (his stepfather) and C. Marcellus (his brother-in-law). 40 Cicero also states again that he is too young and lacks auctoritas.41 The latter, of course, was to appear later in the Res Gestae (34.3) and raises the question of just how much of Augustus’ text recalling this period of his life was shaped by what others suggested about him. In the Res Gestae the absence of auctoritas was transformed into a situation where his auctoritas was greater than anyone else’s and he could restore the res publica. 42 There is a sense in which a iuvenis cannot by definition have auctoritas, 43 and that the events from 44 to 27 bce saw a transformation from Octavian’s assumed irrelevance to his centrality and the dependence of the res publica upon him. Back in November 44 bce, Cicero continued to see Octavian as a puer taking on Antony, and a cause for concern: his speech at a contio, a copy of which Cicero quotes, in which he is hoping to rise to his father’s honours and clearly stretching his hand out to the statue of Caesar. 44 Cicero saw a resolution to the problem of Octavian’s lack of auctoritas in the following year through the senate conferring a consulship upon the young man. 45 No further letters to Atticus 37 Cic. Att. 16.9. 38 Cic. Att. 16.9 and 16.11. 39 Cic. Att. 11.6; Hall, 2009, p. 18. 40 Cic. Att. 16.14.1. 41 Cic. Att. 16.14.2-3. 42 For discussion of auctoritas, see Galinsky, 1996, pp. 10-20. 43 Compare Cic. Sen. 60 on old men. 44 Cic. Att. 16.15.2-3. 45 Cic. Phil. 3.5, 3.39, 11.20; Galinsky, 1996, p. 17.



survive after December 44 bce, and we miss this insight into developments of the relationship between Cicero and Octavian. Cicero’s Letters to Friends focus on the age of Octavian, but allow us to see a contrast between his use of puer and the more positive adulescens to refer to a more advanced stage of life.46 In writing to Cicero, Matius describes Octavian as an adulescens, when explaining why he curated the games of Caesar’s Victory given by Octavian. 47 His reasons were that he was requested to do so by Octavian – something that Matius regarded as a private matter – and he performed the duty out of his respect for Julius Caesar. Decimus Brutus saw Octavian as an adulescens but undercut this by calling him a puer in a letter to Cicero. 48 Cicero, writing to Trebonius in January 43 bce, uses the same language – egregius puer Caesar (the admirable boy, Caesar) to refer to Octavian, noting that ‘I for one have good hopes for him in the future’. 49 The terminology is again used by Cicero in correspondence with Cornificius: ‘This extraordinary boy (puer enim egregius) has raised a force to defend himself and us in the first place and the supreme interests of the res publica in the second’.50 There is a sense in which until Decimus and others had met Octavian, they were willing to guide their expectations through the prism of his age – something that Cicero was careful to counter by reflecting their prejudices by using the word puer and adding the adjective egregius. Decimus Brutus’ view of Octavian changes in May 43 bce: ‘I did not trust Caesar until I had met and talked with him,’51 and is also demonstrated by a shift in his terminology from puer to adulescens in correspondence. He refers to Octavian as an adulescens in reporting to Cicero that Labeo Segulius had told him of a conversation in which the phrase landandum adulescentem, ornandum, tollendum was mentioned.52 Language picked up on by Cicero and reflected in a letter to Decimus Brutus in June 43 bce: de ornando adulescentias to refer to Octavian’s honours.53 Even an adulescens was subject to assumptions about his actions and motivations and, to some extent, this is reflected in how people saw and understood Octavian. Cicero comments that ‘He will do anything, it is thought, for honour and glory’.54 46 Bellen, 1985, for the relationship between Octavian and Cicero. 47 Cic. Fam. 11.28.6. 48 Cic. Fam. 9.7, December 44 bce. 49 Cic. Fam. 10.28.3. 50 Cic. Fam. 12.28.4, March 43 bce. 51 Cic. Fam. 11.13.1. 52 Praises honour and the push; Cic. Fam. 11.20. 53 Cic. Fam. 11.14. 54 Cic. Fam. 12.23, October 43 bce.


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Whereas Decimus Brutus was frustrated that Octavian did not take his advice: ‘If Caesar (Octavian) had listened to me and crossed the Apennines, I would have put Antony in a tight corner […] but there is no giving orders to Caesar, nor by Caesar to his army – both very bad things’. This suggests Octavian lacked respect among his soldiers, perhaps also due to his age and relative inexperience.55 The expectation that young men might easily change their minds or be persuaded to do so is reflected in a letter from Plancus to Cicero in 43 bce. Plancus reports that he continually wrote to urge Octavian to come to him and replies from Octavian said that he would, but as Plancus noted: His mind has been diverted from that intention to other projects […] What can he be thinking of or whose advice has turned him away from so glorious a course […] and diverted him to this notion of a six-month consulship, which to the general consternation he is pushing with such tasteless persistence.56

Through these letters, we can see that there was an exasperation with Octavian, when he did not do as another (older) person thought sensible, and that his reluctance was generated by his young age – a point in life where the mind could change or be changed by the advice of others. Later authors picked up on this theme. Octavian was seen to have been insulted on a daily basis, and legal cases to contest his possession of Julius Caesar’s legacy were brought to court which resulted in the young man becoming enraged.57 And, as Appian makes clear, Octavian was slighted by the senate and referred to as a young man – thus unsuitable for any political or military role.58 Antony portrays Octavian to his less than enthusiastic soldiers as a ‘rash boy’,59 but bizarrely, their alliance was brokered by the senators’ very use of this same language. One of the explanations, given by Cassius Dio for the triumvirate, was that the senate, or as Suetonius puts it the optimates, saw a way to manipulate Octavian, offering him a praetorship instead of a consulship, because he was a youth – a word they used to refer to him.60 The combination of manipulation and the insult of calling him a puer (boy), is, for Suetonius, Appian, and Dio, the explanation 55 Cic. Fam. 11.11.4. 56 Cic. Fam. 10.24.4 Translated by David Shackleton Bailey. 57 App. B Civ. 3.39. 58 App. B Civ. 3.64. 59 App. B Civ. 3.43. 60 Cass. Dio 46.41.3-4; App. B Civ. 3.64.



for Octavian making a truce with Antony and marshalling his army against the senate, whilst negotiating a consulship to be held with Cicero as his colleague.61 This was a clear case of deliberate age-mixing to ensure that Octavian had advice from an older man, but the idea was rejected by the senate as ridiculous.62 The proposal failed and Octavian sent 400 soldiers to the senate as envoys, and viewed it as a slight when they were requested to lay down their arms before entering the curia. Subsequently, the city was surrendered to Octavian and he became a consul.63 An alternative theory put forward by Plutarch, that Cicero’s hatred of Antony led him to side with Octavian, created the image of a young man with a very large army, who could demand the consulship illegally.64 Moreover, in Plutarch’s biography of Cicero, Octavian later reflected that the idea that the senate would disband his army and leave him vulnerable, drove him into the arms of Cicero, who had immense power in Rome.65 Plutarch’s Octavian is seen here as a youth craving a name and fame for himself, leading Cicero – an old man – on and then cheating him once he had gained the consulship.66 The pride of being consul at the earliest age in history was combined with the claim by Octavian that, on taking up office, he saw the portent of six vultures and later twelve in the manner of Romulus,67 an omen identified by Dio as a premonition of kingship.68 Rome’s youngest consul always entered the senate with a bodyguard of soldiers and was protected by them until the defeat of Antony, when they were disbanded.69 Later, in 27 bce, Octavian would ask the senate to vote him a bodyguard of soldiers70 – Germans – prior to settling the affairs of state.71 The bodyguard was maintained until his death in 14 ce.72 This first consulship, though, was for Augustus a defining moment. There may also have been a demand for the month of his birth, September, to be named after him, but he chose the previous month, Sextilius, to take his name in 8 bce.73 61 Suet. Aug. 12; App. B Civ. 3.81-82; Cass. Dio 46.42-43. 62 App. B Civ. 3.82. 63 Cass. Dio 46.45-46. 64 Plut. Brut. 22-23, 27. 65 Plut. Cic. 45.3-5; Moles, 1988, p. 52. 66 Plut. Cic. 46. 67 Suet. Aug. 95. 68 Cass. Dio 46.46. 69 Suet. Aug. 49. 70 Cass. Dio 53.11.5. 71 ‘Res publica restituit’, RG 34. 72 Suet. Aug. 49. 73 Cass. Dio 55.8.6-7.


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Plutarch expressed a view of the triumvirate as a loathsome institution within which Antony, as the older man, was more to blame for its actions than Octavian; Lepidus, on the other hand was seen simply as weak.74 The reality or otherwise of the statement is less important than the explanation that depended on an expectation that the older Antony was more responsible than the younger Octavian.75 Cassius Dio also follows this logic pointing to Octavian’s age as an explanation for his lack of enemies. Indeed, Dio even suggests that he was not ‘naturally cruel’, but wished to be loved and drew on the example of his adopted father, Julius Caesar, giving examples of how Octavian saved people in contrast to Antony’s lust for killing.76 Plutarch reveals the attempt, over three days, made by Octavian to save Cicero from proscription.77 The incident is linked by Plutarch to Octavian’s approval later in life of his grandsons (Gaius or Lucius) reading Cicero and the fact that he held the consulship in 30 bce with Cicero’s son, the year in which the senate took down Antony’s statues and removed other honours, and also added that none of the Antonini should ever take the name Marcus.78 These views contrast with those of Suetonius, who states that Octavian was reluctant to agree to the proscriptions, but once the list was made, it was Octavian who pursued the deaths of those on the list and was implacable to entreaties for mercy, even placing his own guardian on the list of those to die.79 Suetonius also adds an incident of Octavian personally gouging out a man’s eyes under torture, accused of plotting against him. We can make the comparison here, found in Seneca, of Catiline’s assault on Marcus Marius on the orders of Sulla.80 The drawn-out siege of Perusia ended in 40 bce and shows us another element of Octavian as a young man, one that we tend to associate more with Caligula. Large numbers were captured and many begged for mercy but were met with Octavian’s words: ‘You must die’ and Suetonius even suggests that three hundred senators and equites were chosen to be slaughtered like sacrificial victims on the Ides of March at the altar dedicated to the Divine Julius.81

74 Plut. Ant. 21. 75 Pelling, 1988, pp. 168-169. 76 Cass. Dio 47.7. 77 Plut. Cic. 46. 78 Plut. Cic. 49.3; Cass. Dio 51.19.3-4. 79 Suet. Aug. 27. 80 Sen. De Ira 3.18. 81 Suet. Aug.15.



Sisters and wives – as points of continuity The relationship between Octavian and his half-sister Octavia allows us to understand the influence of sisters over brothers.82 The relationship between Octavian and Octavia lasted until her death when he was 54 and, perhaps, became more important after the death of his mother during his first consulship (43 bce), when he was just twenty years old.83 Octavia had been married to Gaius Marcellus and had borne a son, Marcellus, who was later married to Julia.84 There are instances at which Octavia ensures that access to the power of the triumvirs is gained through her brother.85 Her marriage to Antony was demanded by the people in 40 bce, when her husband died – even though she was pregnant.86 She reduced the hostility between Antony and Octavian in 37 bce to ensure that they were reconciled. Interestingly, Antony sends her back to Italy from Corcyra and, thus, we may assume that she had more contact with her brother after 37 bce.87 She left Italy again in 35 bce to be with Antony, expressly against his orders that she should remain in Italy, and had previously intervened with her brother to release some of his soldiers to reinforce Antony’s campaign against the Parthians.88 Plutarch creates a western Octavia to take on an eastern Cleopatra, but in so doing reveals the loyalty of Octavia to Antony through her continued residence in his house and in bringing up his children by Fulvia.89 In 37 bce, Octavia, along with Livia, was granted the right to administer her own affairs without a guardian and a statue was set up to both of them.90 The linking of his sister to his wife by Dio also occurs in Suetonius, where it is noted that Augustus created porticoes named after both Livia and Octavia.91 On the subject of which, Dio provides more detail: the booty from Octavian’s Dalmatian campaign provided the money for the erection of a Porticus in Rome named after his sister in 33 bce.92 The linkage between wife and sister was also present at the Actium triumph with both of their sons, Tiberius and Marcellus, riding 82 Suet. Aug. 4; Plut. Ant. 31. 83 Suet. Aug. 25, 61. 84 Suet. Iul. 27; Aug. 63. 85 Cass. Dio 47.7. 86 Cass. Dio 48.31.3. 87 Cass. Dio 48.54.3-4. 88 Cass. Dio 49.33.3-4. 89 Plut. Ant. 53-54. 90 Cass. Dio 49.38.1. 91 Suet. Aug. 29. 92 Cass. Dio 49.43.8.


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beside his triumphal chariot.93 In 32 bce, Antony divorced Octavia, which coincided with Octavian discovering Antony’s recognition of his children by Cleopatra, which was a cause for rage.94 The abandonment of Octavia and her children later appears in a speech constructed by Dio, in which the insult to Octavia(n) is highlighted, but rhetorically marginalised in contrast to Antony’s damage to Rome’s citizens by his devotion to Cleopatra as the casus belli that led to his defeat at Actium.95 After Antony’s death, Octavian makes provision for Octavia’s children from his inheritance from Julius Caesar.96 Her death in 11 bce was marked with a public funeral with her body lying in rest in the Temple of Julius Caesar and it was from this temple that Augustus gave the funeral eulogy with all the senators dressed in mourning and Octavia’s sons-in-law carrying the body from the forum to the cremation. Octavian’s marriage to Livia is couched in terms of age with an impetuous youthful adoration for his future wife. The shaving of Octavian’s beard in 39 bce (at the age of 22/23) was marked with private entertainment and a festival for the people. This was seen by Dio as an innovation in expenditure, and unprecedented.97 Dio attributes the shaving of his beard to his initial attraction to Livia, which resulted in the divorce of Scribonia – on the day she gave birth to his daughter, Julia.98 In the following year, 38 bce, Livia married Octavian.99 She was pregnant by her first husband, and the pontifices were consulted on the matter, and approved. It is an event horizon for stories with the former husband giving the bride away, a child confused by who is Livia’s husband and concluded with the recognition by Octavian of the paternity of the child born to Livia. Suetonius recalls an allegation of Antony’s that before the marriage, Octavian had led Livia away at dinner, in front of her husband, to return with her dishevelled after sex.100 This type of behaviour elsewhere in Suetonius is attributed to despotic emperors.101 In the case of Octavian, he can be seen as a young man lacking any control over his own physical attraction for Livia. She, however, was to become a key figure who would mature and age alongside the future Augustus. 93 Suet. Tib. 6. 94 Cass. Dio 50.3.2. 95 Cass. Dio 50.26.1-2. 96 Cass. Dio 51.15.5. 97 Cass. Dio 48.34. 98 Scribonia appears to have maintained a relationship with her daughter, accompanying her into exile in 2 bce; see Cass. Dio 55.10.14. 99 Cass. Dio 48.44; Suet. Aug. 61, 69. 100 Suet. Aug. 69. 101 Suet. Calig. 25.



Augustus and his younger self – explaining the Forum of Augustus and age There are many ways of interpreting the actions of the nineteen-year-old who sought power at an unacceptably early age. Some have suggested that the connection between Cicero and Octavian was formative, and that there is a convergence between the statues that formed exempla of great men from the republic in Augustus’ forum and those found in Cicero’s works.102 Velleius Paterculus suggests that the consulship of Cicero was enhanced by the birth of Augustus in that year and sees the following 92 years as being full of great men and writers.103 Suetonius adds to this by pointing out that Octavian’s birth took place during the senate’s debate on the Catilinarian conspiracy, Augustus’ father arriving late and on entering the senate was met with a cry from an astrologer: ‘The ruler of the world is now born’.104 Velleius absolves Octavian of blame in the death of Cicero, placing its cause firmly with Antony and suggesting that the fame of Cicero was enhanced through a death that cut short his life by just a few years.105 There is much of Cicero in Velleius Paterculus, after all, Cicero’s letters were in the public domain. We can see the issue of Octavian’s use of the name Caesar, disapproved of by his mother and stepfather,106 and the creation of the concept that he was following the advice not of humans but of his divine father, who identified him as a boy (puer) of just eighteen years as his heir; and, for Velleius, Augustus is the second founder and preserver of the Roman name with Antony portrayed as the tyrant to be overthrown by a nineteen-year-old who raised an army and showed a courage on behalf of the res publica greater than that of the senate.107 The latter honoured him with an equestrian statue, that almost a hundred years later was still in place on the rostra, and ‘testifies to his years by its inscription’; Velleius refers to him specifically as an iuvenis.108 This was a statue that was placed on the coinage of 43 bce by Octavian’s supporters. Its pose, mid-gallop, shows an energy that is somewhat lacking in the neighbouring statue on the rostra of Sulla.109 This first statue created a reference point for all other developments in the ‘image of Augustus’ 102 Van der Blom, 2010, pp. 337-338. 103 Vell. Pat. 2.36. 104 Suet. Aug. 94. 105 Vell. Pat. 2.66. 106 Vell. Pat. 2.60. 107 Vell. Pat. 2.61. 108 Vell. Pat. 2.61. 109 Zanker, 1988, pp. 37-39, p. 81.


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and was the image that made sense of all subsequent images. Equally, we might view all later images as seeking to make sense of this first image of the emperor prominently displayed on the rostra. The actions of the young man at the age of nineteen always needed explaining, as Augustus sought to do both in the Res Gestae and in his lost memoirs.110 Cicero’s letters would appear to have come into the public domain and provided a means for the recovery of Octavian – Augustus’ younger self.111 Indeed, Cicero and the letters written between the Ides of March and his death can be seen to be part of the shaping of the image of Octavian as an exceptional young man. The place of Cicero’s Letters to Atticus in the later tradition of Augustus acting at such a tender age is more difficult to place. Shackleton Bailey plausibly argues that the collection of letters to Atticus were not published by the mid-30s bce, when Cornelius Nepos wrote his Life of Atticus.112 However, he also suggests that the letters would have been bequeathed to Caecilia Attica, the wife of Agrippa, and down through their daughter Vipsania, wife of Tiberius, to her son Drusus. They were published by the mid-first century ce, because Seneca quotes from them.113 Frustratingly, we cannot say one way or the other though whether the Letters to Atticus were accessed by Octavian/Augustus and his followers. Reading a letter to Atticus mentioning that Octavian lacked auctoritas114 raises the issue of how far this affected the statement by Augustus in ce 14 that, by 27 bce, he exceeded all in auctoritas. The marriage between Agrippa and the daughter of Cicero’s long-time correspondent took place some years after the formation of the triumvirate, but the betrothal took place as early as 43 bce115 with the marriage taking place in 37 bce.116 This date is supported by the fact that in 43 bce Cicero was inquiring about possible husbands for Attica,117 although Cornelius Nepos suggests that Mark Anthony brought about the marriage, which we may consider a ‘truth’ in the context of the time of writing, under the triumvirate.118 Relating the thinking found in the correspondence between Cicero, Octavian’s self-appointed advisor, and Atticus, Agrippa’s father-in-law, and 110 For discussion, see papers in Smith and Powell, 2009. 111 Shackleton Bailey, 1977, pp. 23-24. 112 Shackleton Bailey, 1965, pp. 60-61. 113 Sen. Ep. 97.5. 114 Cic. Att. 16.14.2-3. 115 Nep. Att. 12.1-2. 116 Horsfall, 1989, p. 84; Syme, 1986, pp. 143-144. 117 Cic. Ad Brut. 25.7; Reinhold, 1972, p. 121. 118 Nep. Att. 12.2.



the ideology of the Augustan age may not be so far-fetched. For example, is it a coincidence that the Forum of Augustus contained statues of famous men of the republic (summi viri) and Atticus wrote accounts of the Junian family from its origin, recording genealogy, magistracies held and so on – something he did for other families including Claudius Marcellus (Octavian’s brother-in-law)? Cornelius Nepos comments: ‘nothing can be more delightful than these books dedicated to those who have some desire for knowledge of famous men’,119 and in addition recorded their deeds beneath statues of them. The summi viri of Augustus’ Forum were selected on the basis of those who brought Rome to a position of greatness and the texts were even attributed to Augustus.120 Atticus had written the prototype for these summi viri. The fact that the monument took forty years to complete causes modern writers to locate its summi viri within the frame of Augustus as Pater Patriae in 2 bce, rather than at the beginning of the project in the forties or thirties bce and in the mind of a much younger Octavian. The ideas of others, for example portraits with text, were brought together with other imagery to form ‘an extensive fully integrated set of images’ within the Forum of Augustus.121 The influence of Atticus should not be underplayed. It is clear that Atticus and Octavian regularly corresponded and that the former’s granddaughter was married to Octavian’s stepson, Tiberius.122 Cornelius Nepos suggests Atticus urged Octavian to restore the roof of the temple of Jupiter Feretrius; compare the Res Gestae 12 in which this temple is listed first.123 Atticus died aged 77 years, and clearly in his old age acted as an advisor to Octavian. Thus, we have evidence of Cicero’s life-time correspondent becoming Octavian’s advisor and taking on a role that Cicero saw for himself in 44-43 bce – an elderly man shaping the thoughts and deeds of a youth, who would develop some of the ideas discussed in those letters over the course of his long life. It cannot be proven that there is a direct link, but the idea of image and text celebrating the deeds of the summi viri was present amongst the elite in this period.124 These ideas derived from Atticus can be traced to the Forum of Augustus as it was reframed in 2 bce around the role of Augustus, aged 60, 119 Nep. Att. 18.4. 120 Suet. Aug. 31; Plin. HN 22.6.13; Zanker, 1988, pp. 210-215; Lamp, 2013, pp. 58-79. 121 Zanker, 1988, pp. 112-113. 122 Nep. Att. 19-20. 123 Nep. Att. 20.3. Horsfall, 1989, p. 106; see also Liv. 4.20.7 for Augustus’ memory of the ruined temple. 124 For alternative sources for the idea, see Luce, 2009, pp. 411-412 including the later annales maximi or Varro’s De Imaginibus or hebdomades – Gell 3.10.1; Flower, 1996, pp. 182-183; Geiger, 1998.


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as Pater Patriae125 which effectively over-wrote a monument designed and conceived by the youth, Octavian, drawing inspiration from the writings of an old man, Atticus. Surviving from that original idea of the Forum were the summi viri, whose inclusion in the conception of the Forum drew on a republican concept of achievement and genealogy. Other features of the Forum of Augustus can be traced back to the period after the murder of Julius Caesar including that of Pater Patriae. Cicero, in Philippics book 13, makes a speech to the senate responding to a letter to Octavian from Antony. That letter had referred to Octavian as a puer,126 a slight that Cicero rebuffs, stating that, in spite of his chronological age (aetatis) he was a vir and a very brave man, who he refers to as an adulescens.127 Cicero also creates the image of Antony waging war on the penates of the patria, and suggests that Octavian, as the son of the Pater Patriae, Julius Caesar, was the parens who would rescue the patria from the danger of Antony.128 Thus, the oratory created an inversion of age in which a person younger than all the senators present, by his actions had become a man and, as the son of Julius Caesar, inherited the mantle of parent of the country. The latter is a feature that was to make more sense in 2 bce, but age did not rule out the offer of such an honour and we see later younger emperors turning down this title. Like much else, even the opening statement in Res Gestae129 that we find in the more mature Augustan Rome, we can trace the ideas and statements of that period back to the time in which Octavian was just nineteen years old and ideas about his actions were articulated by others around him.130 One of the ideas that was floating around in the period of Octavian’s youthful assertion of power, was the conception of the life course divided up into stages. Varro developed a new conception of the traditional schema or topos, in which there were a series of fifteen-year stages: puerita to fifteen; adulescentia from fifteen to 30; iuventus from 30 to 45; seniores from 45 to 60; and senectus from the age of 60.131 This schema, if applied to the life of Augustus (63 bce to ce 14), might make some sense of the long life of the emperor.132 The first thing to note is that Octavian was still called a puer after 125 Zanker, 1988, p. 129, pp. 194-196, pp. 201-205. 126 Cic. Phil. 13.24. 127 Cic. Phil. 13.8, 16, 46, 47. 128 Cic. Phil. 13.16, 25. 129 Traced by Galinsky, 1996, p. 45 to Cic. Phil. 3.3-5. 130 Galinsky, 1996, pp. 49-54. 131 In Cens. 14. 132 Scheidel, 1999, for the statistical improbability of Augustus and Livia surviving to ce 13.



he was fifteen years of age and we need to recognise that Varro’s schema may have been responding to the historical fact of Octavian rejecting the term puer as a nineteen-year-old.133 Hence, perhaps, the calibration to fifteen may be explained by the need to incorporate Octavian at nineteen or even younger as an adulescens. It is in this latter stage that he shaves for the first time and gets married, as well as raising his army, avenging his father’s death and a whole series of other achievements. The next stage, from the age of 30 to 45, coincided with the beginning of his war on Antony, the latter’s defeat at Actium, and the restoration of the republic. This stage ends, just before the Ludi Saeculares opens up a new age, and we then see that stage of Augustus’ life ending with his sixtieth birthday marked by the award of the title Pater Patriae. To an extent, the life of the princeps calibrated the life of his new Rome. Perhaps, not surprisingly given that his birth, its associated horoscope, and other features can be seen to inaugurate a new age.134

Conclusion – identity, memory, and time The discussion here has sought to show the phenomenon of attributing character traits or behaviours to people of different ages and in this case how Octavian, through his actions at a young age, re-calibrated those expectations. At the same time, this paper has allowed us to see the recall of these actions by Augustus in old age, and to begin to contemplate how his thinking and the preoccupations of the Augustan age were shaped by his experience as a nineteen-year-old interacting with considerably older Roman aristocrats. The features of the Forum of Augustus, that we can locate in the private world of Atticus or in his biographies and genealogies of exceptional Romans from history, allow us to view the Forum not in context of its dedication in 2 bce in association with Augustus as Pater Patriae at the age of 60 but, instead, at its point of creation some 40 years earlier following the battle of Philippi. In so doing, we inadvertently connect the ‘new age with its new imagery’ with the culture of the Republic and men who shaped the thinking of the young Octavian/Augustus and his associates, including Agrippa. This viewpoint is dependent on seeing the longevity of life and the connection between younger and older adults rather than annalistic event horizons. The very old minority, be it Atticus, Varro, or Augustus, interacted with the young, who in time would become old and advise other young men, who in turn 133 Butterfield, 2015, for account of life of Varro in 40s and 30s bce. 134 Barton, 1996; Galinsky, 1996, pp. 91-93.


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absorbed ideas from them to be transformed later in life. Augustus in his old age was also, in all probability by 13 ce, one of the very few surviving individuals, who had conversed with Cicero in person. Others accessed the orator through his speeches and letters and perhaps noted how Octavian was perceived as just a boy – a feature that could only reinforce the image of Augustus’ much younger self seen in statues across the Empire (that is, as he looked at the time that he spoke to Cicero or held his first consulship) with their associated inscriptions. The temporal distance between the old Augustus to the young Octavian was the living link between the present of, say, 13 ce, and those who could recall at least some of the summi viri in the Forum of Augustus or read about them in the works of Atticus135 or Varro136 with its illustrations and, of course, Livy’s Ab urbe condita written in the 20s bce.137 Interestingly, Augustus’ memories were a source for Livy’s account of the past.138 The very condition of old age created a mode of recall that was to be passed onto the young, who in turn might recall in their own old age, the words of Augustus on his own youth and his memories of men long since dead.139 Hence it is really not surprising that Augustus in his seventies opens the Res Gestae at the age of nineteen, almost stating that he was too young, and closes the Res Gestae just over fifteen years later, when he entered a consulship knowing that he excelled all in auctoritas. These are the memories of an old man, recalling his youth and retelling it for the young men of the present and of the future. How the old man’s story of his youthful objection to being called a puer went down with that audience is something we may well imagine but never actually know.

Bibliography Richard Alston, Rome’s Revolution: Death of the Republic and Birth of the Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). Tamsyn Barton, ‘Augustus and Capricorn: Astrological Polyvalency and Imperial Rhetoric’, Journal of Roman Studies 86 (1996), 33-51. David Butterfield, Varro Varius: The Polymath of the Roman World (Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 2015). 135 Nep. Att. 18. 136 Hebdomades vel de imaginibus. 137 Liv. 1.19 uses the name Augustus, but before closure of temple of Janus in 25 bce. 138 For example, Liv. 4.20.7 on the Temple of Jupiter Feretrius. 139 Harlow and Laurence, 2011.



Heinz Bellen, ‘Cicero und der Aufstieg Octavians’, Gymnasium 92 (1985), 161-189. Jérôme Carcopino, Cicero: The Secrets of His Correspondence (Yale: Yale University Press, 1951). Emil Eyben, Restless Youth in Ancient Rome (London: Routledge, 1993). Harriet Flower, Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996). Augusto Fraschetti, ‘Roman Youth’, in A History of Young People in the West 1: Ancient and Medieval Rites of Passage, ed. by Giovanni. Levi, and Jean-Claude Schmitt (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1997), pp. 51-82. Karl Galinsky, Augustan Culture. An Interpretive Introduction (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1996). Karl Galinsky, Augustus: Introduction to the Life of an Emperor London: (Routledge, 2012). Joseph Geiger, ‘Hebdomades (Binae)’, Classical Quarterly 48 (1998), 305-309. Jon Hall, Politeness and Politics in Cicero’s Letters (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). Mary Harlow and Ray Laurence, Growing Up and Growing Old in Ancient Rome: A Life Course Approach (London: Routledge, 2002). Mary Harlow and Ray Laurence, ‘De Amicitia: The Role of Age’, in De Amicitia. Friendship and Social Networks in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. by Katariina Mustakallio and Christian Krötzl (Roma: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 2010), pp. 21-32. Mary Harlow and Ray Laurence, ‘Viewing the Old: Recording and Respecting the Elderly at Rome and in the Empire’, in On Old Age: Approaching Death in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. by Christian Krötzl and Katariina Mustakallio (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), pp. 3-24. Mary Harlow and Ray Laurence, ‘Age, Agency and Disability: Suetonius and the Emperors of the First Century C.E’., in Infirmity in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Social and Cultural Approaches to Health, Weakness and Care, ed. by Christian Krötzl, Katariina Mustakallio and Jenni Kuuliala (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 15-28. Mary Harlow and Ray Laurence, ‘Augustus Senex: Old Age and the Remaking of the Principate’, Greece and Rome 64.2 (2017), 115-131. Nicholas Horsfall, Cornelius Nepos: A Selection, Including the Lives of Cato and Atticus (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989). Christian Laes and Johan Strubbe, Youth in the Roman Empire: The Young and the Restless Years? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). Kathleen Lamp, A City of Marble: The Rhetoric of Augustan Rome (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2013). Barbara Levick, Augustus: Image and Substance (Harlow: Pearson, 2010).


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Robin Lorsch, ‘Augustus’ Conception and the Heroic Tradition’, Latomus 56 (1997), 790-799. James Luce, ‘Livy, Augustus, and the Forum Augustum’, in Augustus, ed. by Jonathan Edmondson (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009), pp. 399-415. John Moles, Plutarch: The Life of Cicero (Warminster: Aris and Phillips, 1988). Josiah Osgood, Caesar’s Legacy: Civil War and the Emergence of the Roman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). Tim Parkin, ‘Life Cycle’, in A Cultural History of Childhood and the Family in Antiquity, ed. by Mary Harlow and Ray Laurence (Oxford: Berg, 2010), pp. 97-114. Christopher Pelling, Plutarch: Life of Antony (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). Elizabeth Rawson, Cicero: A Portrait (London: Allen Lane, 1975). Elizabeth Rawson, ‘The Aftermath of the Ides’, in The Cambridge Ancient History, vol. 9: The Last Age of the Roman Republic, 146-43 B.C. ed. by John Crook, Andrew Lintott, and Elizabeth Rawson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 468-490. Meyer Reinhold, ‘Marcus Agrippa’s Son-in-Law P. Quinctius Varus’, Classical Philology 67 (1972), 119-121. Walter Scheidel, ‘Emperors, Aristocrats, and the Grim-Reaper: Towards a Demographic Profile of the Roman Élite’, Classical Quarterly 49 (1999), 254-281. David Shackleton Bailey, Cicero: Letters to Atticus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965). David Shackleton Bailey, Cicero: Epistulae Ad Familiares (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). Christopher Smith and Anton Powell, ed., The Lost Memoirs of Augustus and the Development of Roman Autobiography (Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2009). Ronald Syme, The Augustan Aristocracy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986). Mark Tober, ‘Divining the Lost Text: Augustus’ Autobiography and the Bios Kaisaros of Nicolaus of Damascus’, in The Lost Memoirs of Augustus and the Development of Roman Autobiography, ed. by Christopher Smith and Anton Powell (Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2009), pp. 125-144. Henriette Van der Blom, Cicero’s Role Models: The Political Strategy of a Newcomer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). Zvi Yavetz, ‘The Res Gestae and Augustus’ Public Image’, in Caesar Augustus: Seven Aspects, ed. by Fergus Millar and Erich Segal (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), pp. 1-36. Paul Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1988).



About the Authors Dr Mary Harlow is an Associate Professor of Ancient History at the University of Leicester. Dr Ray Laurence is a Professor of Ancient History at Macquarie University.


Conflict and Community Anna of Carthage and Roman Identity in Augustan Poetry* Jussi Rantala Abstract This article deals with the question of constructing cultural identity by evoking memories of the past. By evaluating the poetry of Ovid and Virgil, the article discusses the role of Anna, sister of Queen Dido of Carthage in Augustan cultural context. The paper traces Anna’s significance as an ‘other’, a member of people considered as traditional archenemy of Rome, the Carthaginians. Moreover, the paper also evaluates Anna’s role related to Aeneas, a true Roman hero, and focuses particularly on gender both as a part of their relationship, and how it appears as a part of Roman identity during Augustan era. Keywords: identity, marriage, memory, Ovid, Roman poetry, Virgil

Introduction Identity can be understood as an abstract concept associated with the loyalty of an individual to a larger group based on, for example, nationality, politics, culture, profession, or gender.1 However, especially in the case of so-called ‘imagined communities’, such as national cultures, this kind of communal cohesion needs common stories and symbols to which members can identify with.2 These stories often point out to past deeds, creating common * I wish to thank Ville Vuolanto for some excellent remarks on my text and, of course, Katariina Mustakallio for all the general support and encouragement she has provided to me over the years. 1 Huskinson, 2000, pp. 5-17. 2 See Anderson, 1983. As already stressed in the introduction of this volume, the fact that national cultures are ‘imagined’ does not mean for Anderson that they are not real; even if

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch07


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memories among people who observe them. In this sense, cultural identity can be understood as a discourse, a process of constructing significances to which one can identify. Accordingly, these significances can be found in the stories, memories, and images concerning, for example, a culture or a nation. Naturally, cultural identities can be traced to the ancient world as well, and one of these identities indeed was that of Romanness: Greg Woolf, for example, defines Romanness as membership to a political and religious community holding common values and mores (customs, morality, and way of life).3 In Roman context, gender was often an important part of this cultural discourse, particularly because of the highly patriarchal nature of Roman society. Women’s juridical position and their role in public life was limited; public monuments celebrated very masculine values (particularly military deeds); and so on. On the other hand, we can also find many legendary women in the stories of Roman past, defining Roman identity from their own part. This article examines one female figure who had an important role in Roman foundation stories, but who nevertheless lacks the position of a Roman heroine: Anna of Carthage, sister of Queen Dido who appears in Augustan poems about Aeneas, the first true hero of Rome. My intention is to take a closer look at the memory of Anna as a part of the Roman identity as it was understood in the Augustan cultural framework, and to ask, what is the significance of Anna’s role in the accounts of Augustan poets within this framework. In the Augustan era, the contemporary writers provided stories creating communal identity. Their works can indeed be understood as a contemporary discourse, as they dealt with questions considering Romanness during a period when Roman identity was a significant issue indeed. After all, Roman society had just experienced a major crisis and change in the form of civil war, the collapse of the Republic, and subsequent birth of the Augustan regime; it is precisely during times of major change, such as rapid transformations from old social patterns, when societies often evaluate and re-evaluate their identities. 4 Augustus certainly wanted to push forth values of his preference during his reign to establish and legitimize his rule, and writers played a significant role in doing so during this crucial era. As a result, we must briefly ponder the role of the authors who wrote about Anna before national cultures are perhaps sometimes based on a historical or traditional myth, they are nevertheless a social reality. 3 Woolf 1994, p. 120. 4 Hobsbawm, 1983, pp. 4-6.

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taking a closer look at stories of her as a part of the contemporary discourse on Roman identity. The most detailed account on Anna can be found in Ovid’s Fasti, yet she also makes appearances in Virgil’s Aeneid. Thus, this article evaluates Ovid’s story against the observations we can trace from Virgil’s major work. In particular, emphasis is given to Ovid and also the relationship of authors with the Augustan cultural program. Only after this can a proper examination of the stories themselves lead to an answer on the question of their significance.

Ovid the Augustan? What was the so-called ‘Augustan ideology’ or ‘Augustan culture’ all about, and what was the role of poets, in particular Ovid, within them? To answer these questions, the first step is to realize that ‘official’ Imperial ideology was based on a collection of ideas and values promoted through Roman history by the rulers and their inner circles. In the case of Augustus, these values are well attested: the arrival of peace after success in war, the myth of the Trojan origins of Romans, the renovation and reconstruction of ancient religious practice, and emphasizing the ‘proper’ moral values of ancestors.5 Accordingly, these were the primary values on which the so-called Augustan culture was very much based on. Among the poets of the Augustan era, Ovid appears to be the most problematic case regarding one’s role as part of the contemporary culture. The poet has sometimes been described as ‘counter Classical’ or ‘un-Augustan’. This view, particularly prevalent in the nineteenth century,6 was based especially on the fact that the relationship between Ovid and the emperor ended up on a bad note, as the poet was exiled to Tomis, on the coast of the Black Sea, in 8 ce.7 However, most scholars nowadays accept that there is no real basis to place Ovid outside the field of ‘Augustan’ poetry, or even apply 5 Davis, 2006, p. 23. 6 The history of scholarly interpretations of Augustan literature is provided, for example, by Davis 1999, pp. 429-433 and Phillips 1983, pp. 780-818. 7 The exact reason for Ovid’s fate is a discussed subject, without any certain answers. He mentions himself (Tr. 2.207) that the exile took place because of ‘a poem and a mistake’, and sometimes his light-hearted work Ars Amatoria has been claimed to be the poem. However, this seems unlikely, as the poem was published already in 1 bce, while his punishment took place only in 8 ce. One possibility is that he was involved in a scandal that involved Julia, Augustus’s granddaughter. If so, this would perhaps have made the Ars more topical and had worsened Ovid’s situation even more. However, nothing can be said for sure about the reasons behind Ovid’s fate. For details, see White, 2002, pp. 16-20.


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such strong labels to poets of that era. Even if the term ‘Augustan poetry’ itself has sometimes been interpreted as a poetry that followed the wishes and ideas of the emperor himself, this is not the whole story. Of course, poets were influenced and sometimes even patronized by Augustus and his inner circle, and this probably had some effect. However, what essentially makes Augustan poets ‘Augustan’ is the simple fact that they lived during his reign and wrote poems which can be seen as responses to the spirit of the times.8 The writers did have perspectives of their own to the period they were living in. Moreover, these perspectives were often different among the various authors. At most, we may perhaps claim that the poets participated and contributed in the ‘process of historical evaluation by means of which the Augustan age […] was made to seem inevitable – the necessary successor to the Republican past, and the indispensable precursor to an Imperial future’.9 All in all, labelling poetry or individual poets simply as ‘pro-Augustan’ or ‘anti-Augustan’ is ambivalent, to say the least. Ovid most certainly was a part of this ‘process of historical evaluation’.10 His motives and opinions considering Augustan policies, such as moral laws, are naturally something we cannot be quite sure of, and it is of course possible that his praise of Augustus and his moral policy was made out of political necessity; at least a good deal of irony seems to be present in Ovid’s views.11 For our purposes this is not a question of major relevance, however. Ovid’s work and the subjects he chose indicate that he understood himself to be a ‘player’ in a certain cultural and political framework set up by Augustus, of which moral laws were an important part of. In other words, the poet was part of the contemporary discourse considering questions such as marriage, adultery, and morality. Thus, we can analyse his writings from this point of view as well, whatever his style, motives, and personal preferences might have been. The story of Anna is, in fact, a good example of this. Previous studies on Anna in Ovid’s Fasti have noticed, particularly, the somewhat comical tone of the story.12 However, while I agree that Ovid’s ‘artistic’ motive might have been to add a humorous twist to the story of a Carthaginian woman already familiar to Roman audiences because of Virgil’s Aeneid (we will return to this question shortly), the whole question of the comical aspect and its 8 Galinsky, 1996, pp. 244-246. 9 Farrell and Nelis, 2013, p. 18. 10 Galinsky, 1996, pp. 244-245, 360. For different views of scholars about the relationship with Ovid and Augustus, see Nugent, 1990, pp. 239-257. 11 For Fasti as a critical statement against Augustan policy, see for example Newlands, 1995. 12 See e.g. Hardie, 2014, p. 180.

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significance is, from my point of view, rather irrelevant. Whatever his style and attitude was, Ovid operated inside the same cultural framework as other poets. Ovid surely had a unique approach to the same stories; he often used humour, parody, and irony while dealing with them, yet pondered the same questions and problems of his own time, just as poets such as Virgil and Horace did. As put by Elaine Fantham, ‘In the age of Augustus the poets, loyal or sceptical, could not avoid being Augustan in their conceptions and presentation of the world of Rome’.13 If we evaluate the Augustan period further, we can also notice that it was not actually literature that most powerfully brought forward the so-called Augustan culture. After all, the audience of literature was restricted to a rather small number of readers, even if they were the most influential part of the society. Instead, the values embraced by Augustus were propagated especially through means of visual monuments.14 In fact, the Augustan era can be considered as a turning point for the art, architecture, and whole visual communication of the history of Rome. From that point on, the emperor and the state were the centre of this communication, which created an Imperial ‘mythology’, highlighting ideas important to the ruler.15 Buildings, sculptures, and coinage, but also events such as public festivals organized by the emperor, were the tangible displays most clearly reflecting new Imperial ideology.16 This is, in fact, an interesting observation if we analyse the role of Ovid’s Fasti in the wider framework of Augustan culture. His work was, essentially, a poem based on the Roman public calendar and various editions of it, such as the calendar of grammarian Verrius Flaccus. Flaccus had close links to Augustus and his court, and his publication of a Roman calendar can be seen as an act promoting Augustan policy; it presented, visually, the ancient tradition of religious festivals, which were very important from the Imperial point of view because of Augustus’s promotion of ancient religious practices. It also incorporated many festivals and celebrations in the calendar that were initiated by Augustus himself, thus connecting the emperor to the Roman tradition. As the calendar of Flaccus was displayed publicly, demonstrated by stone fragments of the calendar in the Forum at Praeneste, we can claim that Ovid’s Fasti was a written version of this Augustan monument, and as such highlighted Augustan ideology by popularizing, and elaborating on it, to the reading 13 14 15 16

Fantham, 2002, p. 231. For significance of visual monuments in building identities, see also Joska in this volume. Zanker, 1988, pp. 335-336. Davis, 2006, pp. 23-24.


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public in its own, sometimes ironical, way.17 As expressed by Peter White, ‘Of the major Ovidian works, the Fasti most openly invites a reading in terms of Augustan ideology, whether with or against the grain’.18

Anna and the poets When we evaluate the story of Anna as a part of Ovid’s Fasti, we notice immediately that the story is of considerable length; it is one of the longest stories provided by the poet in his work. The reason behind this is not entirely clear, but some suggestions can be made. Ovid’s motive, as he claims, is to describe the festival dedicated to the goddess Anna Perenna, held on 15 March, and the origin of the occasion. According to him, it was a joyous celebration where men and women were sitting together in a field of grass, some in tents or makeshift huts of their own, singing joyous songs they had heard in theatres, drinking lots of wine, and dancing.19 The poet Martial, when describing the gardens of Julius Martialis, mentions the grove of Anna Perenna ‘which delights in virgins’ blood’.20 This rather cryptic line might refer to the sexual theme of the celebration.21 Later authors Macrobius and Lydus mention that during the occasion, offerings were made to ensure a successful year.22 All in all, it appears that the festival was very popular among the Romans. For Ovid, this perhaps meant his readers would have been very interested in the subject and as a result he provided lots of information about stories related to the celebration. 17 Wallace-Hadrill, 2008, pp. 242-243. This does not necessary mean, of course, that Ovid wanted by his Fasti to strengthen Augustan ideology as such, but simply that his work was a response to it. Whether this response was a positive or negative one is a different question altogether; opinions vary among scholars; see, for example, Herbert-Brown, 1994, and Newlands, 1995. 18 White, 2002, p. 20. Ovid’s Fasti as an expression of Augustan culture and ideology: see White, 2002, pp. 20-25. A comprehensive analysis on ‘Augustan’ and ‘anti-Augustan’ is provided by Kennedy, 1997. 19 Ov. Fast. 3.523-542. 20 Mart. 4.64.16. 21 See Scullard, 1981, p. 90. 22 Macrob. Sat. 1.12.6; Lydus, Mens. 4.49. In the earliest times (until perhaps mid-second century bce) March had been the first month of the Roman year, and therefore the day in which the festival of Anna Perenna was held (the Ides of March) was the first full moon of the year. Thus, it is likely that the festival indeed had its origins in Roman New Year and its celebration (see Scullard, 1981, p. 42 and 90). In addition, a calendar from Late Antiquity (so called Calendar of Philocalus, composed in 354 ce) mentions words Annae sacrum on 18 June. However, nothing else is known about this ‘rite of Anna’; they might or might not refer to Anna Perenna. See Hannah, 2005, pp. 139-140, 145.

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When Ovid writes about the festival of Anna Perenna, he provides many alternative explanations as to who the goddess Anna ‘really’ was. First, Ovid mentions Queen Dido’s sister Anna. Then he proceeds the list with other possible figures: moon-goddess Luna, Greek goddess Themis or Io, an Arcadian nymph who had fed the infant Jupiter, or an old woman from Bovillae once honoured by plebs with a statue because she fed them during the plebeian secession to Mons Sacer.23 As Ovid’s aim is to clarify the ‘real’ origins of the Roman festival, he considers the last story as the ‘true one’ in this aspect – perhaps with some sense of irony, again. However, before he goes on to other stories, he does give a very long description of Carthaginian Anna and her relationship with Aeneas and Lavinia, highlighting from his own part the role of Anna in one of Roman foundation mythologies. 24 Thus, Ovid does not argue that the story of Anna is false or ‘meaningless’ as such. Instead, he simply claims that Anna Perenna, the goddess celebrated in March, is not Anna of Carthage, but a different figure. Anna also had a role in one of the most remarkable pieces of Augustan literature – Virgil’s story of Aeneas and his travels from the burning city of Troy to Italy. The significance of Aeneid to Roman self-understanding and identity is indeed significant. Virgil’s earlier works were taught in Roman schools already during the poet’s own lifetime, and the poets who came after Virgil openly declared they were in debt to Aeneid.25 Seneca the Elder mentioned the great impact of Virgil among Roman rhetorical circles only about a generation after the death of the poet, and quotes of Virgil have even been found in wall graffiti throughout various parts of the Roman Empire. For some scholars, Virgilian graffiti indicates that schools have been situated around those areas. In addition, Aeneid did not spread just to the western, Latin-speaking part of the Empire; there are traces of its popularity in the east, as well as evidence from papyri, that indicates the work was part of Latin language teaching in Egypt. Moreover, Aeneid was spread outside literary and educational circles: in Roman epitaphs Virgil was the most quoted author, and the stories of Aeneid were popular subjects both in theatre and in visual art.26 23 Ov. Fast. 3.545-656 (Dido’s sister); 657 (Luna); 658 (Themis or Io); 659-660 (Arcadian nymph); 661-674 (old woman). For discussion, see Wiseman, 1998, pp. 64-74. Plebeian seceding is reported by Livy (2.32). 24 Besides the story of Aeneas, another main myth connected to the birth of Rome and its people was, of course, the story about Romulus and Remus. 25 Ovid himself declares Aeneid as one of the most important works in Roman literature in Am. 11, 15, 25 and Tr. 2.533-536. 26 Syed, 2005, pp. 13-14. We may claim that story of Virgil was used in ‘networks of memories’ among Romans; cf. article by Karivieri in this volume.


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All of this indicates that Aeneid truly was a ‘national’ epic of Rome, known by a rather large part of the population of the Empire. Because of this, Anna must also have been a somewhat familiar figure, and as such an interesting topic for the readers of Augustan poetry and people who knew Virgil’s work. Thus, it is perhaps no surprise Ovid wanted to provide a detailed account of her to readers.27 Anna appears on several occasions in the fourth book of Aeneid, which describes the love affairs of Aeneas and Anna’s sister, Queen Dido of Carthage, as well as the dramatic events that took place when Aeneas and his Trojans left Carthage in order to fulfil their destiny in Italy. In the very beginning of the fourth book, Dido reveals to Anna her passionate love towards Aeneas, and Anna strongly encourages Dido in her feelings.28 Later, when Aeneas was making arrangements to leave Carthage, the Queen asked Anna to try and convince Aeneas to stay.29 Later still, Anna was present when Dido killed herself. Virgil describes how Anna held her sister in her arms when the queen gasped her last breath at the pyre she had erected.30 Hence, Anna had a small but, as we shall see, significant role in one of the most important myths dealing with the foundation of Rome and its people.

The two refugees Ovid’s account of Anna starts from the death of Queen Dido. He writes that, right after the Queen killed herself, Numidians invaded Carthage and took control of the capital. Anna had to flee and, after paying honours to her dead sister and finding a ship, she sailed away from her homeland with other fellow fugitives.31 She headed towards Malta, where she was granted asylum by king Battus. However, the king was afraid of Pygmalion, Anna’s brother and enemy, who demanded that she should surrender herself to him. Thus, after two years, Anna had to flee again. During the journey, her ship was caught by a storm, which pushed the fugitives towards Italy. Eventually, they ended up on the Laurentine shore, where Anna met Aeneas, who was walking there with his friend Achates.32 In Fasti, it is Achates who actually 27 One should remember that Ovid’s Fasti was published in 8 ce, while Virgil’s Aeneid came out already in 19 bce. Thus, there was a gap of almost thirty years; plenty of time for Aeneid to receive its fame and popularity by the time Fasti appeared. 28 Verg. Aen. 4. 1-54. 29 Verg. Aen. 4.416-439. 30 Verg. Aen. 4.672-687. 31 Ov. Fast. 3.559-567. 32 Ov. Fast. 3.567-608.

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first recognizes Anna. Indeed, in Achates we can find another silent but quite significant character in Augustan poetry; he does not appear in any other part of Ovid’s work but is, in fact, a rather important figure in Virgil’s Aeneid. He appears as a very close friend of Aeneas, and is called fidus Achates, or ‘faithful Achates’. In Virgil’s work, Achates followed Aeneas throughout his journey, and it was he who scouted the area with Aeneas when they had reached Carthage. He also led Aeneas to the Sibyl of Cumae in Italy. Indeed, Achates seems to represent in Aeneid an ideal type of fidelity, even if he seldom speaks at all in the book.33 Moreover, Ovid shares another myth with Virgil when he describes Aeneas telling Anna how he met Dido in the Underworld; in the Aeneid we can find a long passage depicting the encounter of Aeneas and the ghost of the Carthaginian Queen.34 Overall, Anna’s encounter with Aeneas was eventually a happy one. The Roman hero wept as seeing Anna brought him memories of Dido, and he made a promise that she would be safe in his land.35 When we evaluate the stories covering Anna and Aeneas, we can notice a clear connection between the two of them, and on many levels. The first case is rather clear; Aeneas had lost his homeland with the destruction of Troy, depicted vividly by Virgil in the second book of the Aeneid, and likewise, Anna had to flee from the Numidians sacking of Carthage. As a result, both Aeneas and Anna were refugees who had experienced a dangerous journey across the sea and eventually had ended up in Italy. Indeed, Ovid explicitly mentions that Anna’s ship crashed at the Laurentine shore – the place where Aeneas, according to Virgil, had also arrived when coming to Italy.36 One can perhaps also sense some similarity when reading stories about, on the one hand, Anna and her sister Dido, and on the other, about Aeneas and his father Anchises. The dramatic description of the burning Troy is followed in Virgil’s poem by a description of how Aeneas, after all hope for the city was gone, ran to his house and gathered his family to escape. When Anchises tried to convince Aeneas to leave him behind – he was an old man and would be a burden for the others – Aeneas angrily declined, threatening to return to the battle and to certain death.37 Eventually, they all escaped from the dying city; Aeneas carried his father and asked Anchises to take 33 Achates in Aeneid: 1.188; 1.312; 1.459; 3.523; 4.34; 4.158; 8.610. 34 Ov. Fast. 3.619-620; Verg. Aen. 6.426-476. 35 Ov. Fast. 3.606-626. 36 Ov. Fast. 3.599; Verg. Aen. 5.797. In Roman poetry Laurentum was thought to be the governing town of king Latinus of the Latins. It was situated in Ostia, being the most important town of the area (among Lavinium) during the fourth century bce. Meiggs, 1960, p. 48. 37 Verg. Aen. 2.622-671.


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the statues of the home gods with him, as Aeneas had spilled blood and was thus not pure enough to touch them.38 As for Anna, she also had to deal with a close relative during the sacking of her home city. Ovid writes in his Fasti about the death of Dido and conquest of Carthage by the Nubians, just before Anna had to leave her home city: Straightway (after the death of Dido) the Numidians invaded the defenceless realm, and Iarbas the Moor captured and took possession of the palace; and remembering how she had declined his suit, he said: ‘Look now, I enjoy Elissa’s39 bridal bower, I whom she so often repelled’. The Tyrians fled everywhere, as each one chanced to stray, even as bees often wander doubtingly when they have lost their king. Anna was driven from home, and weeping left her sister’s walls; but first she paid honours due to her dead sister. The soft ashes drank unguents mixed with tears, and they received an offering of hair clipped from her head. And thrice she said farewell, thrice she took the ashes up and pressed them to her lips, and under them she thought she saw her sister. 40

The situation and behaviour of Aeneas and Anna have obvious similarities. Both must flee from a burning city, and cope with a difficult situation involving their close family members; Aeneas had his father alive but in a bad condition, and Anna had just lost her sister. As the stories reveal, both behave in a very respectful manner. Aeneas saves his father by carrying him away from the oncoming destruction. Anna does not have a similar chance, as her sister is already dead, but she nevertheless does everything that is possible for her in that situation – she pays the last honours to Dido and gives a proper offering to the gods. As we can see, both act at the moment of ultimate crisis very piously, they give respect to their relatives and also gods – Anna by giving offerings and Aeneas by refusing to touch home-gods with impure hands. However, we should not only pay attention to the similarities in the actions and situations of Anna and Aeneas. In Virgil’s account, Anna is very clearly a unifying figure between Aeneas and Dido. This becomes evident when the poet writes about a discussion between Anna and her sister. This takes place when Dido confesses to having feelings of love towards Aeneas, 38 Verg. Aen. 2.701-720. 39 Referring to Queen Dido. 40 Ov. Fast. 3.551-566 (confer to Ov. Her. 7.191-192 where Dido asks (absent) Anna to pay the last honours to her remains). Translated by James Frazer.

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but claims to be determined to remain chaste, and thus faithful to her dead husband Sychaeus. 41 However, Anna strongly encouraged Dido to form a relationship with Aeneas: Oh you who are dearer to your sister than the light, are you, lonely and sad, going to pine away all your youth long, and know not sweet children or love’s rewards? Do you think that dust or buried shades give heed to that? […] I certainly believe that it was with the gods’ favour and Juno’s aid that the Ilian ships held their course hither with the wind. What a city you will see rise here, my sister, what a realm, because of such a marriage! With Teucrian arms beside us, to what heights will Punic glory soar?42

As the passage indicates, Anna does not encourage her sister to marry Aeneas just to be happy herself; she also has a vision of the unification of Romans and Carthaginians. In fact, Anna appears as a bonding figure between Aeneas and Dido again later in Virgil’s work; when Aeneas is about to leave Dido and her realm, the desperate Queen asks Anna to go to see Aeneas and ask him to stay by her side at least little longer. Anna does this but with no results – Aeneas had made up his mind and was leaving. 43 From the viewpoint of Romanness, Anna’s vision of an alliance between Romans and Carthaginians is, of course, quite remarkable. While portraying the self against other people was always important for Romans as they created their own identity,44 in Roman thinking it was Carthage that was particularly considered a nation representing everything un-Roman. Already in the second century bce, Cato the Elder had famously underlined the complete otherness of Carthaginians compared to Romans. According to him, fides (‘reliability’) was the virtue that described Romans, whereas Carthaginians were ruled by the vice of perfidia (‘treachery’). Accordingly, Romans used a phrase fides Punica, ‘Punic reliability’, when they described something very untrustworthy and treacherous. 45 As Cato’s famous passage declares: Who are the ones that frequently broke treaties? The Carthaginians. Who are the ones that waged war most cruelly? The Carthaginians. Who are the ones that ravaged Italy? The Carthaginians. Who are the ones that 41 Verg. Aen. 4.20-29. 42 Verg. Aen. 4.31-53 Translated by H.R. Fairclough. 43 Verg. Aen. 4.416-449. 44 Habinek, 1998, p. 157. 45 Mutschler, 2000, pp. 107-108.


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demand to be forgiven? The Carthaginians. You see therefore how fitting is to conquer them. 46

This passage, with all its skilful rhetoric, is of course just one example of Roman attitudes towards Carthaginians during the Republican era. Other Roman thinkers also highlighted the ‘specialty’ of Carthaginians in relation to Romans, but from a different point of view. Sallust, the first truly remarkable Roman historian that we know of, famously argued in the first century bce that the downfall of Rome started in bce 146, when Carthage was sacked and destroyed. As noted by the historian, this was a point in history when Romans did not have to fear anybody or anything, anymore. As a result, the lack of an archenemy led to internal struggles and political, as well as moral, decay in the Roman state.47 Even if Sallust did not provide an analysis of the nature of Carthaginians, he clearly emphasizes the significance of the rivalry between the two powers for Rome and its development. While it should be noted that during the Republican period not all Roman literature covering Carthaginians was entirely hostile, 48 a general hostility was apparently present during the Augustan period. 49 The fact that an ‘anti-Carthaginian’ attitude seems to have become even more powerful over a hundred years after the final Punic War and the destruction of the city of Carthage, underlines the major importance of the memory of Carthage to the Roman identity. Thus, the stories covering the Punic Wars described Carthaginians as a cruel and merciless people who lacked a similar respect towards the gods that Romans had, and who were a treacherous race not to be trusted.50 Accordingly, amidst this perception, Ovid and Virgil wrote their stories for an audience who generally must have shared these common ideas about Carthage and the Punic Wars.51 Taking all of this in to consideration, it becomes obvious that Anna’s hope of an alliance between Romans and Carthaginians is an extremely alien idea within the Augustan cultural context; Carthage was the enemy 46 Rhet. Her. 4.20. Translation adopted from Isaac, 2004, p. 327. 47 Sall. Hist. 1.9-13. 48 See Polyb. 9.22.7; 24-6 and Nep. Hannib. 1.1. 49 The basis for the negative image of Carthaginians in Augustan and other Early Imperial literature can be found in Livy’s history (see, for example, 21.4.9). For discussion, see Isaac, 2004, pp. 328-332. 50 Isaac, 2004, pp. 327-329. 51 Relationship between Rome and Carthage is recently dealt in Feeney, 2017 (see particularly pp. 308-310 for Carthage in Roman literature).

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Romans needed to define their identity against, and it was the destiny of both peoples that they shall be enemies. This becomes obvious in Virgil’s work as well, when Dido curses Aeneas and the future generations of his people, also declaring an eternal hatred between Carthaginians and Romans – an obvious reference to the Punic Wars to come, of course.52

Marriage and homeland The story of Anna in Ovid’s Fasti takes a new twist when she meets Lavinia, the wife of Aeneas. As soon as Aeneas introduces Anna, he asks Lavinia to be kind to her: My wife Lavinia, I have a dutiful reason for entrusting this lady to your care; when I was shipwrecked I enjoyed her hospitality. She is of Tyrian descent; she owns a kingdom on the Libyan coast; I pray you, love her as a dear sister.53

Even if Lavinia promises to do this, she immediately feels threatened and, in due time, her hate grows to the point of fury. As the text states, she, ‘saw many presents carried before her eyes, still she thought that many were also sent secretly’.54 This short passage creates an antagonism between two women closely connected to Aeneas. On one side is his wife, and on the other a woman associated to his former lover. In other words, two women that represent his present and his past. To understand the significance of this detail, we should take a closer look at Lavinia and the things she symbolizes in Roman historical tradition. According to legend, Lavinia was the daughter of Latinus, king of the Latins, who had provided Aeneas and his people a chance to find a new home in Latium. Lavinia was originally promised to Turnus, ruler of the Rutuli, but eventually she was married to Aeneas. In Roman literature, Lavinia makes most of her appearances in Virgil’s Aeneid. She is briefly mentioned already in the second book, when Aeneas returns to Troy to find his wife, Creusa, who had disappeared when they initially fled from the city. It turns out that Creusa had died, as she appears as a ghost to Aeneas, 52 Verg. Aen. 4.621-629. For the relationship of Aeneas and Dido as a symbol of antagonism between Rome and Carthage, see e.g. Adler, 2003, pp. 130-133. 53 Ov. Fast. 3.629-632. Translated by James Frazer. 54 Ov. Fast. 3.627-638.


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urging him to leave and predicting that Aeneas will become a king in Italy by marrying a royal wife, referring to Lavinia.55 Lavinia appears again in another prophecy given to Aeneas, this time by his late father Anchises; after arriving in Italy, Aeneas travels to the Underworld in order to deliver a gift to the goddess Proserpina. During this journey, he meets his father who reveals the great future of Aeneas’s descendants, describing the many heroic figures of Roman history all the way to Augustus. His foretelling includes a promise that Lavinia will deliver a boy for Aeneas, who will be the next in the chain of great men.56 Even if Lavinia does not have a very active role in Virgil’s work, the stories of her seem to indicate that she is a woman symbolizing the destiny of Aeneas – and, in general, Romans – which will be fulf illed when they have found a place to stay. In other words, their destiny will come to fruition when they have finished their journey and established a permanent homeland for their people.57 The connection between Lavinia and a Roman homeland is further strengthened by Livy. The historian writes, in the very first book of his history, how Latinus gave his daughter to Aeneas as a wife in order to conf irm the treaty of alliance between Latins and Trojans, and that for the Trojans this was a sign their travels were over, having finally found a permanent home. Indeed, when a new settlement was founded by Aeneas, he even named it Lavinia, after his wife.58

55 Verg. Aen. 2.775-789. The boy in question is Silvius. 56 Verg. Aen. 6. 752-892. 57 In Ovid’s Fasti Lavinia is mentioned, apart from the story of Anna, on just one other occasion. This takes place when Ovid tells the story of Evander (1.461-586), a hero from Greek city of Arcadia who had arrived Italy already before Aeneas and founded at the site of Rome a city called Pallantium. His mother Carmenta gave a prophecy that there, too, ‘A woman shall be the source of a new war’ (Fast. 1.520), referring to Lavinia who was promised to King Turnus but eventually given to Aeneas, leading to war. Evander does have a significant role in books 8-12 of Virgil’s Aeneid; as he shared a common ancestry with Aeneas he supported him in the struggle against Turnus (see also Liv. 1.5 and Dion. Hal. 1.31). Ovid’s lengthy story of Evander can be perhaps to be read as another indication of the influence he took from Virgil’s work. 58 Liv. 1.1. See also Dion. Hal. 1.60.1-2. The idea of the city as sacred homeland is a recurring theme in Livy’s history of the early Rome; see, for example, Liv. 5.29-30 (rejection of mass migration from Rome to recently conquered Veii) and Liv. 5.51-55 (rejection of abandonment of the capital after the sack of Rome by Gauls). Interestingly Lavinium, a town which had not been particularly flourishing settlement during Republican era, experienced a heyday of some kind during Early Imperial era, becoming a ‘historical open-air museum’; this would further indicate the importance of Trojan past for Roman identity during the days of Augustus and his successors. See Hartmann, 2017, p. 20.

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It is no coincidence that Livy combines the Roman feelings of a new homeland with the marriage of Aeneas and Lavinia. One of the ideological cornerstones of the Augustan era, during which Livy wrote, was the idea of marriage as a part of moral regeneration for Roman society. By reviving temples, ancient religious customs, and promoting family values, the emperor pushed for this moral ‘rebirth’. With stories of the past, Augustus legitimized his moral reform and, as a part of that, legislation promoting marriage and procreation. At the heart of Augustan policy was a claim that this represented the ways of the ancestors and, as such, represented a revival of old Roman virtues.59 Indeed, it was in particular Roman wives or, to be precise, mothers, who had a central role in the Augustan ideology of moral revival. According to this view, the civil war which had recently devastated Rome – and had brought Augustus to power – was the result of neglecting the gods in general, but also of the immorality of married Roman women. The logic behind the idea was, that because Roman women had behaved in immoral manner, their sons were not properly educated. Thus, when growing up, they became bad soldiers and bad citizens; this problem becoming more and more serious with every generation. Eventually, the only possible way to stop this evil process was to both return to the proper ways of worshipping the gods and create a moral reform.60 Traces of this ideology can be found particularly in the works of Horace, especially in the poem where he states, for example, how: Generations prolific in sin first defiled marriage, the family, and the home. From this source is derived the disaster which has engulfed our fatherland and its folk. The girl who have just reached puberty enjoys taking lessons in Ionian dancing, and is trained in the arts that go with it […] In due course, when her husband is in his cups, she looks for younger lovers; but she does not select some man to whom she may hurriedly give forbidden pleasures when the lamp has been removed; on the contrary, when sent for quite openly, she gets up, with her husband’s full connivance, whether the caller is some salesman or a captain of some Spanish ship who pays a high price for such degradation.61 59 Dixon, 1992, pp. 22-23. Augustus himself refers to his laws which brought back the customs and practices of the ancestors in RG 8.5. For the Augustan moral laws in general, see Dixon, 1988, pp. 84-97. 60 Liebeschuetz, 1979, pp. 90-94. 61 Hor. Carm. 3.6.17-32. Translated by Niall Rudd.


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Later in the same poem, Horace points out that men who came from parents such as these were not those who, generations earlier, ‘stained the sea with Punic blood’.62 The sentence not only summarizes the whole ideology perfectly, but also provides another reference to the role of Carthage and the Punic Wars in Roman self-understanding in Augustan culture.63 In fact, also Ovid does acknowledge (although in ironical matter, it seems) Augustan marriage laws in his Fasti, when the poet compares the two ‘founders’ of Rome, Romulus and Augustus, with each other, and points out how successful were the actions of the latter: Your power (Romulus) was felt by Tatius, the little Cures, and Caenina; under Caesar’s leadership whatever the sun beholds on either side is Roman. You owned a little stretch of conquered land; all that exists beneath the canopy of Jove is Caesar’s own. You raped wives; Caesar bade them under his rule be chaste.64

If we return to the relationship between Anna and Lavinia, it becomes clear that Anna does not have many good options in her situation. As we have seen, she was a woman closely associated with Aeneas, and as such a potential rival to Lavinia. Considering this, the main problem for Anna seems to be that after Aeneas’s journey, he had already established a new home for his people; he was not a refugee anymore, and his marriage with Lavinia sealed this change of status. Marriage in the Augustan cultural context had become, as we have seen, a central part of the ideology of a homeland, and thus of proper Romanness. Accordingly, Lavinia brings this important element to Virgil’s story.65 Indeed, if we go back and compare the situation to the poor Queen Dido of Carthage, we notice that in Virgil’s account she makes a crucial mistake regarding marriage, even before the arrival of Aeneas. As the poet tells us, Dido was also a refugee, originally from Phoenician city of Tyre. When her husband was murdered by her brother Pygmalion, she had to flee her native city and eventually ended up in North 62 Hor. Carm. 3.6.34. 63 See also Hor. Carm. saec., which was performed at the Augustan Secular Games (ludi saeculares). The function of these festivals was to celebrate new Golden Age, declared by Augustus, with renewed morality and greatness. The poem celebrates the power of Rome, the rule of Augustus, but also marriage laws, birth-giving, and future generations. For Augustan Secular Games, see Galinsky, 1996, pp. 100-106; Rantala, 2011, pp. 235-251; Zanker, 1988, pp. 167-172. 64 Ov. Fast. 2.135-139. Translated by James Frazer. 65 Importance of marriage as a symbol of a new homeland in Virgil’s work: see Fletcher, 2014, p. 31; pp. 74-75; p. 96.

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Africa.66 However, after founding Carthage and becoming its first ruler, she refused to marry anybody from her new homeland, and instead tried to marry another colonist, Aeneas. This was a grave error, which contributed to the ultimate downfall of herself and eventually her Empire as well.67 Moreover, we should not underestimate the general signif icance of influential women in Roman tradition, both mythological and historical, during the Augustan era. In particular, Livy provides many examples of women who contributed in a significant manner to the critical phases of Roman history. These include, for example, the Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia who was the mother of Romulus and Remus, Egeria the wife of king Numa Pompilius, and the virtuous Lucretia, whose suicide after being raped eventually led to the birth of the Republic. These stories about women from the Roman past emphasized the fact that Rome was secure and became more powerful when the relationship between men and women, husbands and wives, were arranged in a proper manner.68 As a balance between spouses was essential for Rome to grow and prosper, Lavinia was a ‘mandatory’ counterpart, needed by Aeneas in order to fulfil his great destiny as the first true Roman hero. Compared to Lavinia, Anna was a refugee, a reminiscent from the earlier life of Aeneas; she symbolized all that Lavinia was not. The contradiction between the two women is presented by Ovid already when Anna’s ship crashes to the shores of Italy. As the poet mentions, the shore where Anna ended up and where Aeneas found her was a dower to Aeneas from Lavinia.69 The symbolism seems clear; Lavinia had presented land to her husband, something firm and concrete to build a future on, while Anna was just a refugee with no land, no home, and thus no future. This is in fact an interesting detail, as being a refugee had an important part in Roman mythology and self-understanding – not only in the story of Aeneas and his journey, but also in the founding story of the city of Rome. After all, the well-known myth about Romulus described how he, in need of inhabitants for his recently founded city, established an asylum on the Capitoline hill and granted citizenship to anyone who arrived there.70 However, it remains unknown how much Romans valued this tradition as such. Livy appears rather cynical in his account, describing how Romulus simply used 66 Verg. Aen. 1.340-368. 67 Fletcher, 2014, p. 144. 68 Mustakallio, 1999, pp. 63-64. 69 Ov. Fast. 3.603. 70 Liv. 1.8; Vell Pat. 1.8; Dion. Hal. 2.15. For the overall foundation story, Wiseman, 2004, pp. 138-148.


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an old trick of city-founders, who gathered all types of suspicious people around them,71 and Cicero famously described the contemporary people of Romulus as ‘Romulus’s crap’.72 Dionysius of Halicarnassus provides a more sympathetic view on Romulus’s policy, but we also should remember the motives of his history. Dionysius, as a Greek historian, wanted to underline the similarity of Roman and Greek customs and values in a world where Rome had become a dominant power, making Roman rule more acceptable for Greeks.73 As Greek city-states had a tradition of temples, sacred groves, and such, which offered protection to those who came seeking them, the myth of Romulus was a convenient tool for Dionysius to use to prove his point. As such, his account does not tell a lot about Roman attitudes towards refugees or immigration during the Augustan era.

Conclusions Ovid is the only author who describes the end of Anna. According to him, Lavinia’s hate towards Anna grew, eventually to the point of making plots to get rid of her. One night, the ghost of her sister Dido appeared to Anna and told her to flee. She obeyed, jumped out of the window, and ran through the nearby fields. Eventually, while crossing a river during her run, she was swept away.74 The story is a fitting finale for Anna as her body disappears completely – no grave, no shrine, no epitaph, no memorial for a Carthaginian who had no place in the Roman realm. Moreover, even if her memory did remain, it became a subject of confusion and much false information, as Ovid’s account indicates. Was Ovid taking a humorous view on Virgil’s narrative when he compared Anna and Aeneas in his Fasti? Was he making fun of Anna when describing her life and its end, as is claimed? Perhaps he was. However, regarding collective memory and identity, this is not a crucial aspect. As stated, Ovid’s story reflects from its own part the cultural framework in which Augustan writers operated. Whether it was written in an ironical or serious manner, it shows the significance of gender, in this case related to marriage especially, and memory in Augustan cultural atmosphere. Ovid reacted 71 Liv. 1.8. 72 Cic. Att. It should be noticed, of course, that Cicero’s words were part of the contemporary political discussion about questions such as kingship and tyranny and must be analysed as such. See Dench, 2005, pp. 15-16. 73 Gabba, 1991, pp. 1-4. 74 Ov. Fast. 3.633-648.

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to this atmosphere in his writings, and also to the significance of stories that built Roman identity. On the other hand, we can perhaps even claim that story of Anna provided Ovid a chance to participate in contemporary discussion on Roman identity ‘without Dido’: Anna gave for Ovid what Dido represented for Virgil. In other words, Ovid was able to present a similar story dealing with Roman identity without ‘competing’ with Virgil, one of the most praised contemporary poets. From this point of view, Anna holds an interesting place in Augustan poetry. Even if she shared many similarities with Aeneas, a truly remarkable Roman hero, she also represented everything that was non-Roman. Anna was a potentially unifying figure between Rome and Carthage – two powers with a mutual antagonism and hostility, on which Roman self-understanding was significantly based on. Moreover, she represented a threat to Lavinia, whose marriage to Aeneas was one of the cornerstones of a new homeland for Romans – especially in the Augustan cultural framework, of which marriage and a proper relationship between a husband and a wife was so essential to. Ultimately, there were plenty of reasons why Anna had to perish.

Bibliography Eve Adler, Vergil’s Empire. Political Thought in the Aeneid (Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2003). Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983). Peter Davis, ‘Ovid’s Amores: A Political Reading’, Classical Philology, 94 (1999), 431-449. Peter Davis, Ovid and Augustus. A political reading of Ovid’s erotic poems (London: Duckworth, 2006). Emma Dench, Romulus’ Asylum. Roman Identities from the Age of Alexander to the Age of Hadrian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Suzanne Dixon, The Roman Mother (Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988). Suzanne Dixon, The Roman Family (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992). Elaine Fantham, ‘Ovid’s Fasti: Politics, History, and Religion’, in Brill’s Companion to Ovid, ed. by Barbara Weiden Boyd (Leiden: Brill, 2002), pp. 197-234. Joseph Farrell and Damien P. Nelis, ed., Augustan Poetry and the Roman Republic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).


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Denis Feeney, ‘Carthage and Rome: Introduction’, Classical Philology, 112 (2017), 301-311. Kristopher Fletcher, Finding Italy. Travel, Colonization and Nation in Vergil’s Aeneid (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2014). Emilio Gabba, Dionysius and the History of Archaic Rome (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991). Karl Galinsky, Augustan Culture. An Interpretive Introduction (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996). Thomas Habinek, The Politics of Latin Literature. Writing, Identity and Empire in Ancient Rome (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998). Robert Hannah, Greek and Roman Calendars. Constructions of Time in the Classical World (London: Duckworth, 2005). Philip Hardie, The Last Trojan Hero. A Cultural History of Virgil’s Aeneid (London: I.B. Tauris, 2014). Andreas Hartmann, ‘Between Greece and Rome. Forging Primordial Identity for an Imperial Aristocracy’, in Imperial Identities in the Roman World, ed. by Wouter Vanacker and Arjan Zuiderhoek (London: Routledge, 2017), pp. 16-35. Geraldine Herbert-Brown, Ovid and the Fasti. A Historical Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994). Eric Hobsbawm, ‘Inventing Traditions’, in The Invention of Tradition, ed. by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 1-14. Janet Huskinson, ‘Looking for Identity and Power’, in Experiencing Rome. Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire, ed. by Janet Huskinson (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 3-27. Benjamin Isaac, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004). Duncan Kennedy, ‘‘Augustan’ and ‘Anti-Augustan’: Reflections on Terms of Reference’, in Roman Poetry and Propaganda in the Age of Augustus, ed. by Anton Powell (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 1997), pp. 26-58. John Liebeschuetz, Continuity and Change in Roman Religion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979). Russell Meiggs, Roman Ostia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960). Katariina Mustakallio, ‘Legendary Women and Female Groups in Livy’, in Female Networks and the Public Sphere in Roman Society, ed. by Päivi Setälä and Liisa Savunen (Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 1999), pp. 53-64. Fritz-Heiner Mutschler, ‘Norm und Erinnerung: Anmerkungen zur sozialen Funktion von historischem Epos und Geschichtsschreibung in 2. Jh. v. Chr.’, in Moribus antiquis res stat romana. Römische Werte und römische Literatur im 3. und 2. Jh. v.

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Chr., ed. by Maximilian Braun, Andreas Haltenhoff and Fritz-Heiner Mutschler (Berlin: De Gryuter, 2000), pp. 87-127. Carole Newlands, Playing with Time: Ovid and the Fasti (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995). Georgia Nugent, ‘Tristia 2: Ovid and Augustus’, in Between Republic and Empire. Interpretations of Augustus and His Principate, ed. by Kurt Raaflaub and Mark Toher (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), pp. 239-257. Charles Phillips, ‘Rethinking Augustan Poetry’, Latomus, 42 (1983), 780-818. Jussi Rantala, ‘No Place for the Dead: Ludi Saeculares of 17 bc and the Purificatory Cults of May as Part of the Roman Ritual Year’, in On Old Age. Approaching Death in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. by Christian Krötzl and Katariina Mustakallio (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), pp. 235-251. Howard Scullard, Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981). Yasmin Syed, Virgil’s Aeneid and the Roman Self. Subject and Nation in Literary Discourse (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2005). Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Rome’s Cultural Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). Peter White, ‘Ovid and the Augustan Milieu’, in Brill’s Companion to Ovid, ed. by Barbara Weiden Boyd (Leiden: Brill, 2002), pp. 1-26. Timothy Wiseman, Roman Drama and Roman History (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998). Timothy Wiseman, The Myths of Rome (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2004). Greg Woolf, ‘Becoming Roman, staying Greek: Culture, Identity and the Civilizing Process in the Roman East’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 40 (1994), 116-143. Paul Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1988).

About the Author Dr Jussi Rantala is a Researcher at the University of Tampere.


Dress, Identity, Cultural Memory Copa and Ancilla Cauponae in Context Ria Berg Abstract In this article, the identities of female workers in bars and inns of the Roman Imperial Era are discussed on the basis of material culture – dress, appearance and jewellery – read as layers of signs referring to social status and as carriers of cultural memory. Literary and iconographic sources show that the basic garment worn both by the hostesses and the barmaids was a long tunic. Some exceptional accessories, functioning as ‘flashbacks’ of cultural memory, refer back to luxurious Greek banquets or Oriental soundscapes, and can signal meretrician side activities. The jewellery found in Pompeian thermopolia show considerable variety, ranging from a few bronze rings, bracelets or faience beads to complete parures of gold jewels. Keywords: cultural memory, dress, jewellery, Roman bars, gender, prostitution

Introduction Flute-girls, bearded Celtiberians, runaway slaves, mantled Greeks, and drunken priests of Cybele: Roman cauponae and popinae were places for variegated encounters, and, as such, intriguing subjects for Latin poets and satirists.1 Bars and inns of the Roman Empire have likewise been a 1 Juvenal 8.173-176 describes efficiently the complete social mix-up that was characteristic of Roman bars, underlined through the sharing of common glasses and divans in the locale: aliquot cum percussore iacentem, permixtum nautis et furibus ac fugitivis, inter carnifices et fabros sandapilarum et resupinate cessantia tympana galli. Aequa ibi libertas, communia pocula, lectus. Another case in point is the salax taberna of Catullus Carmen 37, which numbers among its contubernales, in strong invective, semitarii moechi (back-alley adulterers), in primis the

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch08


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fruitful subject for much recent research, as loci for mingling different social, economic, and gender categories, at the crossroads of local and foreign, private and public, moral and immoral.2 The identities of women working in such an environment as hostesses (copa, caupona, domina cauponae) or waitresses (ancilla, ministra), with statuses ranging from freeborn and freedwomen to foreigners and slaves, are highly interesting, because they are located ambiguously in a grey zone between Roman social categories. In this paper, the identities of women working in bars and inns will be examined through their dress and appearance. Roman clothing was profoundly meaningful and hierarchical, full of biographic details relative to gender, age, marital status, wealth, and morals. In Barbara Kellum’s words, a Roman ‘was what he appeared to be’.3 As a system of signs, the dress was a boundary marker between different social classes and ethnic groups. 4 Nathan Joseph’s idea that dress is made up of a series of layers of signs, more or less perceptible by others,5 is fundamental for the theoretical basis of the present study, together with the concept of cultural memory. Besides personal and contemporary associations vestiary signs could also trigger collective, cultural memories or chains of association referring to wider interpretative contexts, past historical periods, or far-away places.6 In this article, elements of female dress in the contexts of Roman bars and inns from the Early to the Late Imperial Age (from first to fourth centuries ce) are analysed. In the first chapter, references in Latin literature are discussed reflecting on the rhetorical uses of topoi concerning barmaids and their identity; their dress is discussed as a ‘stage costume’ in a cultural ‘memory theatre’. In the second chapter, pictorial representations of the barmaids’ dress are examined in order to recognize the distinctive iconographic Celtiberian Egnatius, recognizable as a foreigner by his dense beard and white, urine-washed teeth, but also the upper-class Clodia. Plautus (Curculio 288-295) places Graeci palliati, the mantled Greeks, among the habitual clients of bars: quas semper videas bibentes esse in thermipolio. For an overview of Latin authors’ descriptions of bars and inns, see Kleberg, 1957. 2 DeFelice, 2001; Ellis, 2004a, 2004b, 2011; Clarke, 2003; Rauh, 2011; Neudecker, 2012; Ritter, 2012; Le Guennec, 2014. 3 Kellum, 1999, p. 288; Hackworth Petersen, 2009, p. 186. 4 For the importance and meaning of dress in the Roman culture, see Olson, 2006, pp. 188-192; 2008, pp. 1-2, and, particularly for the clothing of slaves, George, 2013, p. 42; for dress and ethnicity, Pohl, 1998; Wilhite, 2007, pp. 134-136. 5 Joseph, 1986; see also Mireille Lee’s (2015) discussion on modern dress theory and ancient clothing, p. 24 and passim. 6 For cultural memory as ‘the interplay of present and past in socio-cultural contexts’, see Galinsky, 2016, and, for Roman identities, Mustakallio, 2010, pp. 13-14. On the uses of historical memory in identity construction, and its entanglements with material things, see Munteán, Plate, and Smelik, 2017.

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signs labelling them and the uses of such signs in Roman visual rhetoric. In the third chapter, material evidence of the appearance of the copae, that is, jewellery found in contexts of Pompeian bars and inns buried by Vesuvius’ eruption in ce 79 is discussed. The presentation of Pompeian finds – unique evidence about the proper identity construction of those working and living in Roman thermopolia and cauponae – is the first summary of the subject and also contains previously unpublished material. At least theoretically, in the Roman world, a visual code allowed one to recognize a woman by her clothing as a respectable mater familias, as a servant (vestis ancillaris), or as a prostitute (vestis meretricia).7 Although a distinct servant dress did not exist in Roman culture, it was possible (for example on the comedy stage) to recognize slaves as such by their appearance.8 The story of Emperor Nero positioning matrons disguised as copae, inviting passers-by by means of their gestures to enter ad hoc inns constructed along the travel route, suggests that there was a visual code that allowed one to recognize – and cross-dress – these two groups.9 However, the Roman sartorial code was not a systematically maintained univocal order; it was subject to usurpation, omission, and overlapping. For example, the dress of a matron and the dress of an elite courtesan, mutually borrowing elements from each other’s repertoire, could sometimes be confused with each other.10 All in all, appearance was the nuanced and delicate sum of multiple factors including not only the model and material of the dress, but the way of wearing it, the environment where it was worn, its quality and maintenance, the adornment, make-up, bodily habitus, and gestures. Inseparable from the question of the appearance of Roman female bar personnel is the dispute about their status, that is, the legal and moral distinction between copa/ancilla cauponae and prostitutes.11 Legally, taberna cauponia and popina, as working places, were equalled with lupanars as 7 Dig. si quis uirgines appellasset, si tamen ancillari ueste uestitas, minus peccare uidetur multo minus, si meretricia ueste feminae, non matrum familiarum uestitae fuissent. For discussion, see Olson, 2006, p. 197. 8 George, 2013, p. 43: there was no official slave garment, but it was possible to disguise oneself as a slave. Catherine Saunders (1966, pp. 52-54), studying the illustrations of manuscripts of Roman comedies, sees that some characters on stage are somehow recognized as ancillae. 9 Suet. Nero 27.2-3: dispositae […] deversoriae tabernae parabantur insignes ganea et matronarum institorio copas imitantium. 10 The delicate question of the difference of dress between the matron and the meretrix, both at times usurping elements of each other’s dress, has been thoroughly analysed in Olson, 2006, especially pp. 196-200. 11 The primary thesis of John De Felice’s 2001 book on Pompeian barmaids was to dispel the idea that women who worked in Roman hospitality business were automatically also prostitutes.


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loci inhonesti, and their serving personnel, mancipia ministrantia, shared legal infamia with prostitutes and pimps.12 This was a sort of precautionary measure, since, according to the Digest, many inn-keepers were in the habit of (ut adsolent) having women prostitutes in their inns. Such ambivalent status of female waiters and inn-keepers continued relatively unchanged well into Late Antiquity.13 However, the codex Theodosianus (fifth century ce) states that there was a substantial difference between two types of women working in the bar: the domina cauponae could be accused of adultery, but the ministra, who served wine to the clients, could not – because of the ‘baseness’ of her position.14 This means that a domina cauponae could, presumably throughout Antiquity, also be a respected matron in her social context. The Roman caupona was thus a place where many different types of female subaltern identities co-existed, identities that had to be claimed, distinguished, and communicated through combinations of behaviour and appearance.15 How could material signs, such as clothes and jewels, fine-tune such identities?

Girding the tunic, binding the headband: the literary evidence In his eighth Satire, Juvenal sketches satire an image of a barmaid, named Cyane, immerged in a multicultural scenery of a popina situated near the Roman Porta Capena: And when it pleases him to go back to the all-night tavern, a SyroPhoenician runs forth to meet him – a denizen of the Idumaean gate, perpetually drenched in perfumes – and salutes him as lord and prince with all the airs of a host; and with him comes Cyane, her dress tucked up, carrying a flagon of wine for sale.16 The book emphasizes that many of them may have been the wives of tavern keepers, and thus matrons (p. 142). See also Savunen, 1997; Guzzo and Scarano Ussani 2009, pp. 21-23. 12 Dig. 23.2.43pr.: palam questum facere dicemus non tantum eam quae in lupanario se prostituit, verum etiam si qua, ut adsolet, in taberna cauponia, vel qua alia pudori suae non parcit. See Guzzo and Scarano Ussani, 2009, pp. 21-23; McGinn, 2004, pp. 206-207. 13 For female inn-keepers and prostitution in Late Antiquity and Byzantium, see Chrestou, 2016 and Magoulias, 1971, pp. 238-246. 14 C.Th 9.7.1: domina cauponae – ministra (si vero potantibus ministerium praebuit) pro vilitate eius […] accusatione exclusa. For a detailed discussion of this passage, see Agnati, 2015. 15 For expected behaviour connected to gender and identity, see also article by Harlow and Laurence in this volume. 16 Translated by G.G. Ramsay.

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The appearance of the barmaid Cyane is laconically defined as succincta, meaning literally that her long tunic is tucked up to the belt.17 The word succinctus is mostly used to characterize male working outfits, tunics of servants carrying food and drink,18 or clothing for military or agricultural activities.19 For male servants, a connection could also be seen with succincti Lares, domestic gods closely connected with the family slaves, represented in statuettes and paintings in the act of offering wine, and dressed in girded, short tunics.20 In connection with women, the word succincta in most cases refers to mythological figures, Diana the huntress or Atalanta running, who have taken upon themselves ‘male’ activities and garments.21 The primary meaning of the dress is thus to signal work, activity, and movement; it is the waiters’ and waitresses practical working ‘uniform’, tied up to free the legs and facilitate rapid and efficient movement. However, the secondary undertone of succincta is obviously erotic: exposing the servant’s legs to the gaze. Such a tendency was brought to an extreme, according to Suetonius, by Cestius Gallus, a contemporary of Tiberius, who was habitually served at table, during the banquets, by completely nude girls; Ganymede, the archetypal beautiful waiter, was mostly depicted nude.22 17 Other references to women serving at table with a girt-up tunic in Ov. met. 8.660-661: Mensam succincta […] ponit anus and Ov. Met. 9.89-92 describing a nymph, carrying secundae mensae (fruit), to the table, dressed as a waitress: nymphe ritu succincta Dianae una ministrarum, fusis utrimque capillis incessit totumque tulit praedivite cornu autumnum et mensas, felicia poma, secundas. 18 Hor. Sat. 2.6.107 veluti succinctus cursitat hospes. There are many biblical references to the habit of serving at table with the long tunic tied up, for example Luke 17.8: ‘gird thyself and minister to me’. 19 E. Saglio (1887, p. 1177) notes the synonymous expressions alticinctus, alte praecinctus in connection with persons whose work requires them to perform rapid movements. For example, military garb: Enn. Ann. 16.426; Liv.;; agricultural outfit: Lucan 1.596; Manilius Astr. 4.556. 20 Pers. 32 succinctis laribus. Also, the servant in sacrifice, popa, wore his tunic in this way (Prop. Eleg. 4.3.62 succincti… popae; Lucan 1.612 succincti […] ministri). 21 Diana with her tunic tied up is mentioned in Ov. Ars 3.143; Met. 3.156, Met. 9.89-92, met. 10.536. Silius Italicus mentions the girt-up dress of the messenger of the gods, Iris (punica 9.71). According to Juvenal’s invective, too erudite women should, as a role-reversal, gird up their tunics (6.445): nam quae docta nimis et facunda videri, crure tenus medio succingere debet. For the iconography of Diana, the personified Virtus, and Amazons in the short chiton, as symbols of female virtues on sarcophagi, see Hansen, 2007. 22 Suet. Tib. 42.2. Erotic overtones are clearly present in Ovid’s passage in Amores, praising the legs of a girl in a girt-up dress (3.2.29-31): talia Milanion Atalantes crura fugacis optavit manibus sustinuisse suis. talia pinguntur succinctae crura Dianae. In Petronius’ Satyrica, Fortunata wears an improperly girt-up dress at the dinner, possibly a reference to her former status as a prostitute/ courtesan (see Gloyn, 2012 with further references) 67.4.1: venit ergo galbino succincta cingillo


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In Juvenal’s passage, the tavern context is described with rich ethnic and exotic allusions. First and foremost, the barmaid’s name is Greek. 23 Mythologically, Cyane is a Syracusan water-nymph, and thus aptly depicted with a jar in her hand. The location, Porta Capena, is given a new nickname, the Idymaean gate, according to the Judean region of Idymaea.24 The male barkeeper is defined as Syrophoenix, and labelled with ethnic prejudices: he is servile and oozes amomum, an oriental and effeminate perfume suitable for luxurious banquets and bedrooms.25 It is unclear if Cyane herself is meant to be Greek or Syro-Phoenician, but certainly the cultural memory complex of ethnic stereotypes, described by Kampen, is cast upon her: ‘Syrian women seem to have been condemned as wild and lascivious, totally lacking in the moral standards of the ideal Roman matron’.26 Interestingly, this wide variety of ethnic connotations gives the impression of a chaotic mix-up of peoples, where Greek, Phoenician, Syrian, and Judean elements fuse, male and female grooming practices are exchanged, and all form together a non-defined, ambiguous Other. The topos of Syrian connections of Roman bar personnel surfaces in several literary passages.27 In the Pseudo-Virgilian poem Copa, the hostess of a caupona, who is depicted inviting passers-by to enter her locale through verbal advertisement and an alluring dance, is defined as a Syrian by her name, Syrisca (v. 1). A characteristic clothing accessory of hers appears in ita ut infra cerasina appareret tunica et periscelides tortae phaecasiaeque inauratae. Also, the priestess of Priapus, Quartilla, described in Petron. Sat. 21.2.5 is girt-up high, alteque succincta. For the iconography of Ganymede, see Hakanen (forthcoming). 23 According to Solin (2003, p. 601), there are two attestations of the name Cyane, meaning ‘dark blue’, in Rome. 24 Larmour (2007, pp. 202-207) has noticed how Juvenal uses in this passage several pejorative ‘watery’ appellatives to denigrate the area of Porta Capena as ‘moist’ and ‘foreign’: the gate itself drips water from an aqueduct, the tavern keeper is soaked in perfume; the new inhabitants have made the old local water nymph, Egeria, flee. It could be added that Egeria has been replaced by a foreign water nymph, Cyane. 25 The perfume amomum had connotations to several foreign regions: according to Pliny the Elder, King Seleucus tried to transplant it from India to Syria (Plin. HN 16.135.5); in the Pseudo-Virgilian poem Ciris, it is called Syrian (511-512). For Sallust, it is Armenian (Hist. 4.72.1), and Plautus associates it with Pontus (Plaut. Truc. 540). Amomum was also an ingredient of the unguentum regale of Parthian kings (Plin. HN 13.17-18). 26 Kampen, 1981, p. 112. 27 A fragment of Lucilius mentions a hostess, caupona, named Syra (3.123, fr. 3.32.128). Mart. 5.70.2-4 mentions a Syrian slave visiting bars in Campus Martius: Syriscus in sellariolis vagus popinis. Besides bars, Syrian female servants appear in several Roman comedies; Syra, anus serva, in Plautus’ Mercator, and Syra, anus lena, an elderly courtesan and pimp, in the Hecyra of Terence.

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the first line of the poem: the hostess is wearing the archetypal oriental headdress, the mitra, in the diminutive form mitella. The hostess, Syrian woman she, her head With Grecian head-band bound and skilled to move Her pliant waist beneath the castanet, Is dancing lewd and drunken in her inn Ill-famed, at elbow shaking creaking reeds.28

Headdress is arguably one of the most symbolic and identity-building items of vestment, and the mitra – a colourful, decorated headband worn in different ways as a turban – was an accessory that triggered particularly dense cultural memories.29 It was first identified as an exotic and oriental attribute by Greeks, allegedly imported in the sixth century bce from Lydia, together with a set of other Lydian luxury imports: the reclining banquet, the saffron-coloured, sleeved khitons, lyre music, and the perfume called lydion.30 In Greek contexts, to wear a mitra signaled Dionysian feasting and luxury, and it was also a gender-blending attribute: originally a male accessory, then appropriated by women, and eventually designating effeminate males.31 Adopted in the Roman world, the mitra accumulated further layers of cultural meaning, through various foreign and exotic allusions: it was seen both as Greek and as oriental. On the one hand, it was assimilated with the Phrygian cap worn by Attis and Mithras, on the other, with the luxurious headband of the Classical Greek symposium.32 For Virgil, Aeneas’ mitra is Maeonian, that is, Lydian, and both the African Iarbas and the Italic Latins mock the hero for this foreign accessory: according to H. Bender, the mitra is used here ‘to portray exclusively the barbarian traits of Greeks or 28 Translated by J.J. Mooney. 29 I. Benda-Weber (2014, pp. 96) notes that the headdress carries the highest concentration of symbolic value of all the elements of dress, and ‘it points out a person from the crowd as belonging to a distinguished group, be that ethnical, according to rank, gender, age, profession or others’. 30 The mitra is first mentioned by Sappho (fr. 98 a b) and Alkman (1, 32). For mitra as an attribute of Greek komasts in vase painting, see Kurtz and Boardman, 1985, pp. 50-56, and more in general, the fundamental monograph by Brandenburg (1966). For Ovid (Met. 14.654) and Juvenal (Sat. 3.66), the female mitra is picta. 31 Benda-Weber, 2014, pp. 98-100: The mitra, as a luxury accessory for females, fell out of fashion in the Hellenistic period. 32 Varro numbered mitra among Greek additions to Roman women’s wardrobe (Ling. 5.130): mitra et reliqua fere in capite postea addita cum vocabulis graecis. For further references to Roman mitra, see also Olson, 2006, p. 53.


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Near-easterners’ and ‘it carries negative connotations which are transferred to the wearer’.33 Thus, an item of clothing, the mitella, projects in one word a whole spectrum of foreign identities, associations, and cultural memories – Greek, Lydian, Syrian, Phrygian – onto the figure of the Pseudo-Virgilian copa. Vincent Rosivach, analyzing the social identity of the copa Syrisca of the poem, a freedwoman and a foreigner-in-business, notes that her oriental clothing, exotic name, and dropping of Greek words when describing the amenities of her locale ‘mark Surisca as something of an unassimilated foreigner’. Rosivach reads these as allusions to her ‘hybrid’ identity, of which the literary figure is even described as being conscious and proud.34 Mitra did not only thrust foreign identities onto its wearer: it was also a sartorial sign for sexual licence and a meretricious trait.35 In the Classical Greek world, the mitra was an attribute of prostitutes, and particularly of the auletrides, the flute-girls hired to play at symposia.36 Juvenal, in his third Satire, activates the chain of associations between mitra/Greek/Syrian/ prostitute, condemning the Greek-speaking Syrians who have invaded Rome, and numbering among them prostitutes wearing the multi-coloured ‘barbarian mitra’.37 Propertius’ courtesan mistress, Cynthia, wears a ‘Sidonian’ mitra – meaning either a Phoenician origin, or referring to the purple dye for which the city of Sidon was famous – and Cynthia’s old procuress wears a dirty and faded mitra on her scraggly hair.38 33 Bender, 1994, p. 147. Verg. Aen. 4.215-216; 9.616. Relation with Greece and its culture was, of course, one of the most significant questions for Romans when they evaluated their identity; the attitudes were quite varied, however – for comparison, see article by Karivieri in this volume. 34 Rosivach, 1996, pp. 607-10, lists the words topia, calybae, cyathi, and chorda. 35 In Dig., mitra is paralleled by a series of female headbands (vittae mitrae semimitrae calautica […] reticula crocyfantia) and, according to Ulpian, mitra and semimitra were among the items of clothing that ‘cannot be used by males without reprehension’ (dig. Cf. Serv. In Aen. 8.613.7: mitrae feminarum, quas calauticas dicunt. Cicero accuses Clodius of wearing a mitra, among other effeminate things (Har. resp 44): P. Clodius a crocota, a mitra, a muliebribus soleis purpureisque fasceolis, a strophio, a psalterio, a flagitio, a stupro est factus repente popularis. 36 For the headdresses of Greek prostitutes, see in particular the PhD. thesis by Marina Fischer (2008). For the headdress of Greek auletrides, see Goldman 2015, pp. 29-30 (with further bibliography), who dismisses the direct equation between flute players and prostitutes, but confirms the chain of associations that link flute-girls with wine, party, sex, and prostitution. 37 Juv. 3.63-66: iam pridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes et linguam et mores et cum tibicine chordas obliquas nec non gentilia tympana secum uexit et ad circum iussas prostare puellas. ite, quibus grata est picta lupa barbara mitra. 38 Prop. Eleg. 2.29A.15: Sidoniae nocturna ligamina mitrae; Prop. 4.5.71-72: exsequiae fuerunt rari furtiva capilli vincula et immundo pallida mitra situ. Lucr. nat. 4.1129: anademata, mitrae as luxurious gifts given to courtesans.

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The identity of the Syrian copa is not only defined by the mitra, but also by musical and performative elements. She is dancing to the clacking sound of crotalia, and beating her elbow against a calamus with a harsh voice. The latter instrument has variously been interpreted as a bagpipe, a tambourine or even a sistrum, but the word calamus, pipe, would most directly refer to a flute.39 This brings forth yet another chain of associations and cultural memories, associating Syrisca not only with Greek auletrides, but with Syrian professional female fluteplayers, ambubaiae, whom Suetonius bunches together with scortae, prostitutes. 40 The dance movements that Syrisca performs, tempting passers-by to enter her locale, ‘taught to vibrate or undulate the hips’, crispum […] docta movere latus, bear ethnic connotations as well. The vibrating movement of the hips is described, in similar wording, as a part of the performance of the puellae Gaditanae, the girls from Gades, a Hispanic city of legendary Phoenician origins. Such expressions also repeatedly characterize prostitutes in several Latin passages. 41 Interestingly, a rather similar performance is vividly described in a lengthy passage in Apuleius’ adventurous novel Metamorphoses (ce 170-180), that contains several scenes set in cauponae. The barmaid Photis is simultaneously cooking and dancing in the kitchen of an inn:42 She was turning the cooking pot round and round with her flower-like hands, and she kept shaking it with a circular motion, at the same time smoothly sliding her own body, gently wiggling her hips, softly shaking her supple spine, beautifully rippling. 43

39 The combination of music, dance, and the oriental mitra could equally refer to the Magna Mater cult, and processions of Galli, which made a display of foreignness and the rupture with Roman gender paradigms. Another association is the soundscape of Dionysiac thiasus, or the Classical symposium. For exotic musicians, see also Prop. 4,8: Miletus tibicen erat, crotalistria Byblis. 40 The loan word ambubaia is derived from the Syrian reed pipe imbubu. Suet. Nero 27: inter scortorum totius Urbis et ambubaiarum ministeria. Horace speaks of the meretrix tibicina that can be found in an uncta popina (epist. 1.14.25). Cf. Hor. Sat. 1.2.1: ambubaiarum collegia. 41 Priap. 27.1-2: deliciae populi, magno notissima circo / Quintia, vibrata docta movere nates; Juv. 6.019: clunem atque latus discunt vibrare; Mart. 5.78.26-28: puellae / vibrabunt sine fine prurientes / lascivos docili tremore lumbos; Apul. Met. 11.4.2: crispante brachio; Arnob. Nat. 7.33: clunibus fluctuare crispatis. 42 For the analysis of this passage, see May, 2015, p. 67; Frangoulidis 2006, p. 137, n. 265; Schmeling and Montiglio, 2006. 43 Translation from Frangoulidis, 2006.


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Two female inn-keepers appear in Metamorphoses, too, but Apuleius hardly gives any descriptions of their dress and appearance. The generic word laciniae is used of the clothing of Pamphile, the tavern-keeper of Photis’ inn, and Meroe, who is described as a regina caupona, queen of innkeepers, older, but still attractive.44 The dress of ancilla Photis, a linen tunic girt with a red band, is described more in detail: ‘She herself was neatly dressed in a linen tunic and had a dainty, bright red band tied up under her breasts’. That the tunic is girt up is evident from the two expressions succinctula and amicta. The latter word, meaning ‘wrapped around’, is normally used of a mantle, not of a tunic, which was an item of clothing slipped to place over the head (indutus). 45 This choice of word might imply that a separate (red) cloth was wrapped around the tunic as a belt, or as a sort of apron (russea fasciola praenitente). The diminutives that abound in the passage give the impression of a rather modest, non-elaborate vestiary code: in addition to the succinctula, the dress is tied rather high (altiuscule), rather neatly (mundule), with a little band ( fasciolum). 46 Photis’ hair is simply dressed, too. Apuleius describes it as beautifully unadorned, ‘non operosus, sed inordinatus ornatus’: first lowered to touch the neckline of the dress and then carelessly tied up in a bun. My Photis, however, had not fussed over hers, and yet its tousled arrangement lent her added charm. Her abundant hair had been let hang soft and free down from her head over her neck, and having rested briefly on the golden border of her dress, it had finally been gathered and fastened in a knot on the top of her head. 47

The hair is the element of Photis’ appearance that unchains most cultural memories in Apuleis’ narrative, recalling, in primis, the goddess Isis’ wavy hairdo. 48 The passage also adds an interesting detail missing in the earlier description of Photis’ tunic: a patagium, of curved or sagging form (sinuatus), 44 The word, which usually means the corners of mantles, is here used collectively of all their vestments, when they undress: met 2.17.2: raptim remotis laciniis cunctis; 3.21.11: omnibus laciniis se deuestit Pamphile. The same word is later used of the dark, knotted mantle of the goddess Isis, met. 11.268. See Bianchi, 2006, p. 492. On the still attractive looks of Meroe, Met. 1.5.3: cauponam Meroen, anum sed admodum scitulam. 45 Varro, Ling. 5.30 46 Furthermore, in other passages Photis is described as ancillula (1.21; 1.26), and scitula, ‘rather pretty’ (2.6). For further discussion of the passage, see Frangoulidis, 2006, pp. 48-49. 47 Apul. Met. 2.9. Translated by A. Hanson. 48 The encomium of Photis’ hair has been discussed from several points of view: creating an erotic discourse with ‘undulating’ metaphors, similarities to the description of Isis’ hair,

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decorated its neckline. Patagium is variously defined by ancient authors as a decorative band on the upper border of a woman’s tunic; according to Nonius, it is a golden stripe.49 Kelly Olson assumes that the slave girl Photis could not possibly be wearing a luxurious dress with golden ornaments, and suggests that the word patagium would have meant here some more modest form of decoration; only later, at Nonius’ time, would it have morphed into a piece of elite clothing.50 We will return to this point in the discussion of the Pompeian thermopolium contexts. Patagium is not the same kind of vehicle of cultural memories as the mitra: not tightly bound to any particular social or geographic sphere, it seems to refer more vaguely to ‘Greek’ fineries and luxuries. As suggested by Regine May, in the Apuleian narrative Photis assumes alternately the roles of Venus, Isis, and a courtesan, and thus the glittering patagium could be seen as a minimal material clue to create the ‘stage costume’ for such roles.51 A later example that attest to the continuous association of inns with meretrician attire is included in the story of S. Abramios (290-360 ce), a hermit from Edessa. According to the legend, the ascetic finds his niece Maria, seduced and fallen in disgrace, in a tavern ‘painted and dressed in the fashion of a prostitute’ and then rescues her.52 As stated by Harry Magoulias, ‘reading the Vitae of the saints of the sixth and seventh centuries one cannot but be impressed by the many references to bathhouses, inns, taverns, and the stage’, yet, descriptions of their female workers’ appearance are scarce. Likewise, Petronius, in his colourful narratives of life in inns and hotels in the Satyrica, (first century ce) hardly gives any descriptions of waitresses or hostesses. The only female figure working in a hospitium whose outfit is described is a ‘blear-eyed’ old woman, anus praecipue lippa, wearing ‘a very dirty linen wrapped round her’ (linteo sordidissimo praecincta) and balancing herself on an uneven pair of clogs.53 The basic reference seems resemblance to the description of the elegiac puella and comedy’s courtesan figures, see May, 2006, pp. 178-179; Frangoulidis, 2006; Schmeling and Montiglio, 2006; Bianchi, 2006. 49 Nonius 866L: patagium, aureus clavus quid pretiosis vestibus immitti solet. Festus s.v.: patagium est quod ad summam tunicam assui solet, quae patagiata dicitur; Tert. Pall. 3: omni patagio inauratior. Plaut. Aul. 509: patagiari is mentioned together with other luxury artisans, murobathari, diabathrari, strophiari, zonari. 50 Olson, 2008, pp. 24-25. 51 May, 2006. 52 In Acta SS Abramii et Mariae, Acta SS Martii vol. II, 3a ed. caps.25-43 pp. 935-937. See Magoulias, 1971, p. 243. 53 Petron. 95: Anus praecipue lippa, sordissimo linteo praecincta, soleis ligneis imparibus imposita, The old woman has also been interpreted as a resident in the hospitium: for long-term residents in Roman inns, see Le Guennec, 2014.


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to be to the defaults of her dirty and unpaired clothing, which connect her with the most negative associations of the inns as dirty, smoky, and lowly places. However, important traits of the waiter’s ‘uniform’ can be noticed, too: the linen cloth, linteum, tied around and in front of her, praecincta, is probably functioning as a joint girdle, apron, and towel.54 All in all, a few precious clues gathered from the literary sources inform us that the usual distinguishing feature of bar personnel seems to have been the way of wearing the tunic girt around the waist (succincta/praecincta). Additional ornamental accessories like mitra and patagium add references to more complex statuses between foreign or exotic, immoral or luxurious.

Long or short tunic? The iconographic evidence Most iconographic evidence at our disposal comes from Pompeii, and a series of funerary reliefs from second to third centuries ce offer evidence on the appearance of the copae of the later Imperial Age. At Pompeii, the richest iconographic cycles come from two well-known thermopolia (VI 10, 1.19 and VI 15, 35.36) decorated with ‘everyday’ scenes from tavern life. In these two cycles, arguably at least six female and twenty-nine male figures, mostly clients and waiters, appear, although the impressionistic painting style leaves some identifications disputable.55 The caupona in Via di Mercurio (VI 10, 1.19), a three-room establishment with a selling counter, originally had a series of ten paintings in the backroom b.56 Of the female figures depicted, one serves water and three appear in erotic scenes. Another figure, serving wine, has mostly been identified male, but might possibly be female. In the caupona of Salvius (VI 14, 35.36), also a three-room establishment, four tavern images decorated the room with the selling counter a. Eight male and two female figures are depicted: one woman is shown serving wine, the other is shown kissing with a man. 54 Although it is a much later source, the Vulgata of Jerome (John 13:4-5) offers a striking parallel to this practice, with quite similar wording, in the description of Jesus’ girding his tunic with a towel before washing the feet of his disciples: surgit a cena et ponit vestimenta sua et cum accepisset linteum praecinxit se. deinde mittit aquam in pelvem et coepit lavare pedes discipulorum et extergere linteo quo erat praecinctus. 55 A complete description and discussion of the two pictorial cycles can be found in Fröhlich, 1991, pp. 211-222; Clarke, 2003; Rossi, 2006, pp. 52-58 (Caupona in Via di Mercurio); Neudecker, 2012; Ritter, 2012. 56 Eschebach, 1993, p. 192; Fröhlich, 1991, pp. 214-222, fig. 1; pl. 18,1-2; 19,1-2; 20,1; Bragantini, 1993, pp. 1005 -1028; Rossi, 2006, pp. 64-69; Ritter, 2012, pp. 157-158.

Dress, Identit y, Cultur al Memory


Figure 8.1 Woman serving water and wine. Pompeii, Caupona in Via di Mercurio, VI 10, 1, room b, north wall

From PPM IV.1, p. 1011, Figure 8

I will focus the discussion on the female figures who are depicted with jugs in their hands, and thus undoubtedly are members of the personnel. The woman in the Caupona in Via di Mercurio (North wall) is shown with two small jugs in her hands, serving cold water to a soldier (Figures 8.1 and 8.2.1).57 Her hair is tied simply in a bun, and she is wearing a dark-red sleeveless tunic, up-girt to expose the legs up to mid-thigh. When we compare the tunic with those of the two men represented the other picture on the same wall, who are occupied with the transport of amphorae,58 they appear different: the female dress is shorter, and is shown as moving with a flowing air, while the short male tunics are rigid and straight. This may indicate 57 CIL IV 1291. Kleberg, 1957, 50, fig. 16. The figure has been identified as male by Bragantini (‘servo che versa da bere a un soldato’), 1993, pp. 1009-1011, fig. 7-8; Fröhlich, 1991, no. 6, 216. Pl. 19, 2, and Clarke, 2003, p. 310, n. 36, but as female by Rossi, 2006, p. 66, n. 240, 67 and Ritter, 2012, p. 165-166, with bibliography and discussion of the argument. 58 Painting with the transport of amphorae, see Frölich, 1991, p. 216; Rossi, 2006, pp. 65-66; Bragantini 1993, pp. 1008-1009, fig. 5-6.


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Figure 8.2 1) Pompeii, Caupona in Via di Mercurio, VI 10, 1, room b, N wall; 2) Pompeii, Caupona di Via Mercurio, room b, probably E wall; 3) Pompeii, Caupona in Via di Mercurio, south wall (male waiter?); 4) Pompeii, Caupona di Salvius, VI 14, 35.36, room 1, north wall, MANN inv. 111482; 5) Ostia, Isola Sacra tomb 90, Ostia Antiquarium inv. 1340; 6) Funerary relief of Sentia Amarantis, Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Augusta Emerita, inv. CE00676; 7) Ostia, Isola Sacra, Ostia Antiquarium, inv. 135

Drawing by the author

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that the male tunics were originally short and the female tunic with the extra length drawn up and girt in billowing folds. The more ambiguous compendium picture on the opposite wall shows a quite similar scheme, a waiter – interpreted as a male by most scholars – serving wine to a customer (Figure 8.2.3).59 The figure could also be interpreted as a female, in view of the similarity of dress with the previous figure. Or else, the two images show that remarkably unisex garments were worn by male and female waiters. This garment can plausibly be recognized as the waitresses’ (and the waiters’) ‘succint’, upgirt working outfit. In general, short tunics appear rarely on female figures in Roman iconography.60 The most notable exceptions are the pictorial representations of Diana, recalling earlier Hellenistic models, like the famous statues of Diana the huntress in the Versailles collection, wearing a short, sleeveless tunic girt at waist and over one shoulder with a cloth (Figure 8.3).61 In fact, in Juvenal’s language, the poetic succincta Diana can readily be paralleled with the similarly sounding succincta Cyane. The appearance of the waitress, thus, could be a vehicle to trigger a cultural memory of the appearance of the goddess: a busy waitress in a caupona looks like Diana in her hunting garb, and vice versa. As for the male waiters, the representation of the succincti Lares offer a similar divine iconographic model and visual memento, plausibly closer to Roman everyday dressing practices.62 The sculptural and painted images of Diana and the Lares show the exact details of upgirding of the succinct dress, fastened with two belts: one belt, tied at waist, remains invisible under the sagging overfold of the tunic, while a second belt, sometimes replaced by a strip of coloured cloth 59 CIL IV 1292. For description and discussion, see Fröhlich, 1991, p. 215, n. 1227, pl. 18, 2; Bragantini 1993, p. 1015, fig. 16-17, Rossi, 2006, p. 67, n. 253, tav. XVII.4; Ritter, 2012, p. 166. The recognition as a male is based on the short hair, but the similarity of the waiter’s red tunic, wider at the shoulders but equally tied short with a belt and flowing wide at the hem, makes the f igure remain ambiguous. The male waiters who appear in several Pompeian banquet scenes as side figures wear a short, high girt but straight tunic. In the caupona of Via di Mercurio, one painting shows a group dining and drinking around a three-legged table, served by a small boy in a high girt tunic with thin red clavi. For the iconographic connection with tricliniar banquet scenes, see Ritter, 2012, pp. 201-203. 60 Short tunics seem in some rare cases to have been associated also with small freeborn and elite girls, although even for them, the long tunic is more common and also the toga appears, as in Aelia Procla’s monument where she is dressed like Diana in a short tunic. Caldwell, 2015, pp. 57-58) notes this. 61 Statue of Diana the huntress, Musée du Louvre, inv. Ma589. Roman copy (f irst-second century ce) of a statue attributed to Leochares (c. 325 bce). 62 For a thorough discussion of the layers of meaning of the girt-up tunic of the Lares, see Bettini, 2013, pp. 28-30.

218  Figure 8.3 Diana dressed in a double-girt chiton

Roman copy of the original attributed to Leochares, Musée du Louvre

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(linteum, mappa), fastens the overfold under the breast and remains visible. The question whether the tunica succincta of the Roman barmaids would sometimes mean a similar doublegirding with a cloth remains open, since the image on the North wall of the Caupona in Via di Mercurio is unique as an illustration of the short female tunic in a bar context.63 As a rule, all the other images of copa/ancilla show women in long, girt tunics with sleeves. In the Caupona of Salvius, both the women who are depicted wear calf-long tunics. The female figure shown with a jug and a glass in her hands wears a long, straight, sleeved tunic of a white colour; remarkably, no belt is visible (Figure 8.2.4).64 A small series of second and third century ce funerary reliefs present female figures serving wine in cauponae, all dressed in long tunics. Two are found in the Ostian Isola Sacra necropolis (Figures 8.2.5 and 8.2.7), and one in Augusta Emerita, Spain (Figures 8.2.6 and 8.4).65 In all these images, the hostess is dressed in a long tunic with long sleeves, girt with a well-visible belt. To set this dressing code into a larger context, a comparison with other working women, in particular saleswomen in tabernae, is relevant. In the series of Ostian funerary reliefs, already discussed together with the Pompeian scenes in the pioneer study by Natalie Kampen,66 several women in customer service appear. Similarities between taberna and caupona scenes have often been underlined, and the outfits exhibited in both have

63 In the funerary stele of Q. Veiquasius Optatus (Museo di Antichità, Turin, inv. 450), the main scene shows the transport of wine, and the lateral pilaster strips are decorated with eight female figures carrying hydriae, four of them wearing short girt-up tunics. This could be thought of as a further mythological memento, connecting the water-carrying Danaids to the work of the barmaids. For illustration, see Ritter, 2012, p. 218, pl. 10.2. 64 Kleberg, 1957, p. 50 f ig. 17; Kampen, 1981, pp. 50, 103, 155, cat. 48, f ig. 27; Fröhlich, 1991, pp. 211-214, pl. 62, 1-2; 63, 1-2; Bragantini, 1994, 370, fig. 5; Clarke, 2003, 165-167, pl. 9; Ritter, 2012, 162. 65 Three representations of women working in a bar, with long tunics with belt and long sleeves: Ostia, Isola Sacra, tomb 90, relief in white marble, Ostia Antiquarium, inv. 1340, see Descoeudres, p. 406, cat. VI.2, last quarter of third century ce (Fig. 3.5); Ostia, Necropoli di Portus, Ostia Antiquarium inv. 135, Descoeudres, p. 415, cat. VIII.1, second half of the third century ce (Fig. 3.7). Tombstone of Sentia Amarantis, aged 45, set up by her husband, Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Augusta Emerita, inv. CE00676. second-third century ce. 66 Kampen, 1981, pp. 64-65, 103, fig. 1.23; Hackworth Petersen, 2009, p. 200. Kelly Olson (2008, p. 46) notes that many working women wear long or calf-length, girt tunics down to their feet, with sleeves that come just below the elbow. Mostly, short tunics with short sleeves characterize the working classes in general (2003, p. 46). Lack of pallium is a sign of subaltern status in Juvenal 3.93-95: Dorida nullo cultam palliolo.


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Figure 8.4 Funerary relief of Sentia Amarantis, Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Augusta Emerita, inv. CE00676. Late second-third century CE

Photo by the author

been described as ‘simple tunics’.67 The similarities of these two sets of images have also been analysed by Stefan Ritter, who stresses how both caupona and taberna images create an independent iconographic type for representing subaltern female identities: the hostess or waiter occupies a whole half of the picture, even larger than the customers, dominant, and active, unlike the small subordinate servant figures in tricliniar banquet scenes.68 However, one important difference can be discerned: unlike bar images, a consistent number of saleswomen depicted in tabernae wear a mantle over their tunic. For example, the Ostian woman selling vegetables is wearing a tunic with large sleeves to the elbow, and, clearly, a mantle, plausibly a palla, wrapped diagonally on top. She thus wears the proper outdoor garments of a matron.69 A small visible hint of the infamia affecting bar workers could be precisely exhibiting an indoor, more intimate tunica 67 Kampen, 1981; Olson, 2008; Ritter, 2012; Holleran, 2013. 68 Ritter, 2012, pp. 167-168. 69 Holleran, 2013, pp. 322-323, fig. 2.

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in public, and the lack of a palla. The difference between the long and the short tunic might, possibly, mark two different statuses in the context of the tavern: the domina cauponae and the ministra or ancilla cauponae. One further image of the Caupona of Salvius with erotic undertone must be discussed. The image of the kissing couple is provided with the graffito: NOLO CUM MYRTALE, ‘with Myrtale, I don’t want to’.70 Paradoxically, this female figure is the most abundantly dressed in the series: she wears a long yellow tunic down to the ground, and a second layer of dress, perhaps a mantle, of the same colour. She also has yellow shoes, while other figures are barefoot. The clue to her identity might be the quality and colour of the dress, since saffron yellow was the characteristic colour of the dress of hetairai and wealthier courtesans on stage, and probably had such a connotation also in reality.71 In this case, it is unclear whether the woman dressed in yellow is to be counted among the employees, business partners or customers of the caupona. Equally ambivalent are the three women who appear in erotic scenes in the caupona of Via di Mercurio. One of them might quite plausibly be a waitress: she has a long, girded tunic, without sleeves, partly falling from the shoulder, and is shown being harassed by a man onto whose head she is about to break a jug (Figure 8.2.2).72 The compendium picture shows a female performer dressed only in underwear, the strophium band. The third picture is too incomplete to be reconstructed, but it showed a symplegma on a bed.73 Finally, there seems to be hardly any sartorial hint of the rich ethnic connotations that we find in the literary sources. Among the iconographic documents analysed here, the only possible indications of any ethnic dress seem to be, in the caupona in Via di Mercurio, an image on the south wall showing four guests seated around a table to eat, two of them wearing a sort 70 Fröhlich, 1991, p. 212, pl. 62, 1; Bragantini, 1994, p. 369, fig. 4; Clarke, 2003, pp. 162 -164, pl. 8; Ritter, 2012, pp. 180-182. For bibliography, see Solin, 2017. 71 For the saffron-coloured dress, crocota or crocotula, see Olson, 2008, p. 52 and Berg (forthcoming). The controversial interpretations of the image, depending on whether the man’s dress in some early drawings is depicted as long, is summarized in Ritter, 2012, especially n. 100. 72 Probably on S wall, completely destroyed. Rossi, 2006, p. 65 and Ritter, 2012, p. 183, pl. 12, 3, with earlier references. 73 On the destroyed tightrope scene, on the East wall, see Bragantini, 1993, p. 1012; Frölich, 1991, p. 217, n. 8; Clarke, 1998, pp. 206-212, fig. 88; Rossi, 2006, p. 65; Guzzo and Scarano Ussani, 2009, pp. 34-35; Ritter, 2012, p. 182, pl. 12, 2. Of the third erotic image, a couple on bed, only the upper part survives Bragantini, 1993, p. 1020, Frölich, 1991, p. 217, Guzzo and Scarano Ussani, 2009, p. 14, n. 2; Neudecker, 2012, pp. 97-98, fig. 6. The fragmentary erotic image on the south wall probably depicted a nude woman: Rossi, 2006, p. 65; Fröhlich, 1991, p. 216; Ritter, 2012, pl. 12, 1.


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of pointed hood with two long flaps at the sides. These might be recognized as mitrae, and, also the sex of at least one of two of the persons has been suggested to be female.74 In this case, we would have something to compare with the mitella worn by the Pseudo-Virgilian copa, although these figures are certainly customers. However, the generally accepted view interprets the figures as two men in travellers’ hoods or cucullus or paenula, referring rather to northern provinces, particularly Gaul. In Greco-Roman iconography, one further for an image of a copa with a mitra could perhaps be the famous statue anus ebra, the old, drunk woman holding a wine jug. The best Roman copies of this Hellenistic statue are in the Musei Capitolini collection (inv. Scu 299) and Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek, Munich (inv. Gl 437). The identification as a retired courtesan or a procuress, lena, is plausible and also compatible with such a headdress, but the resemblance to the copa, who is also described as ebra, and the iconography of jug-bearing waitresses can be noted. The figurative type of has a long lifespan in minor arts, especially as plastic terracotta jugs in the form of anus ebra, distinguished by a wine jar held in her lap and a high, polos-like headdress, relatively widespread in second and third centuries ce. In conclusion, the iconographic sources show the long tunic, sometimes shortened by a well visible girdle, as the standard dress of the female bar personnel in the first to fourth centuries ce in Rome.

Jewels in bars: the material evidence from Pompeii The last section discusses material finds related to adornment practices in Pompeian thermopolia in house-floor contexts buried in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 ce,75 through an overview of some exemplary contexts with jewellery finds. The images of women working in cauponae, discussed in the previous section, depict no items of jewellery. Neither does any of the literary descriptions discussed in the first section explicitly refer to jewellery – with the possible exception of Apuleius’ Photis wearing a golden patagium stripe on her tunic. However, according to other literary sources, in general Roman 74 Frölich, 1991, pp. 215-216; Bragantini, 1993, p. 1016; Rossi, 2006, pp. 67-68; Ritter, 2012, p. 175, pl. 8, 1.2 with bibliography. 75 All the food and drink outlets, discussed in this essay and referred to by the conventional name thermopolium, are structurally characterized by a masonry selling counter.

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sub-elite women, even servants and slaves, could wear jewellery. Kelly Olson, discussing the adornment practices of Roman slaves and subaltern classes, cites literary passages referring to cheap jewellery in silver, bronze, and glass-paste instead of gold and gemstones.76 The preliminary expectation is thus that small amounts of simple jewellery might be found in thermopolium contexts. In most Pompeian thermopolia, no jewellery has been found – although this might in part be due to the easy portability of jewels along with the fugitives. An example of an entire insula with thermopolia containing no jewellery is Insula I 9, surveyed by Vincenzina Castiglione Morelli del Franco, including the large, ten-room thermopolium of Vetutius Placidus (293 m2).77 Likewise, there were no jewels in the two bars of Insula 10 of Region I, the finds of which have been contextualized by Penelope Allison.78 No jewellery was found in the caupona of the Asellinae on Via dell’Abbondanza, the finds of which have been published by Grete Stefani,79 or in the caupona in Via di Mercurio VI 10, 1, with the tavern-life scenes.80 Examples of gold, silver, bronze, and glass-paste jewellery have, however, been found in several Pompeian cauponae. They have not – besides the gold jewellery – previously been recontextualized, and the following items (Figures 8.5-8.7) are now published for the first time. The finding of bronze rings or bracelets in the form of a snake, plausibly sub-elite jewels, is not unexpected. For example, in the four-room (99 m2) caupona of Felix and Dorus VI 16, 39.40,81 one piece of jewellery, a small bronze ring, suitable either for a child or for a woman, decorated with two

76 Olson (2008, pp. 46-47) cites, for example, Pliny’s mention of silver anklets for common women (HN. 33.152), and comments on the servant maids of courtesans of Roman comedy as an exception (pp. 43-44), as does Catharine Saunders (1966, pp. 52-54). The most notable of these is Astaphium, ancilla of the meretrix Phronesium in Plautus’ Truculentus, decked with makeup and perfume, wearing a dyed pallula, bronze bracelets and bronze rings, and with elaborately curled hair (Truc. 271-294). Cf. also Stephanium in Stichus 742-744; the ancilla of Erotium asks for gold earrings in Plaut. Men. 451-452. 77 Castiglione Morelli del Franco and Vitale, 1998. 78 Allison, 2006. These include the Caupona I 10, 2 famous for recording the barmaid Iris, object of the weaver’s love. CIL IV 8259: Successus textor amat coponiaes ancilla nomine Hiredem, quae quidem illum non curat, sed ille rogat, illa comiseretur. Scribit rivalis, vale. 79 Stefani, 2005. 80 PAH, II, pp. 204-205, excavation in November 1827. 81 olim VI 15, 1-27. For the thermopolium, see NSc 1908 (Sogliano), pp. 368-370, plan p. 360; Fergola, 1994, V, 996-998; Fröhlich, 1991, pp. 282 (L77); Eschebach, 1993, pp. 232-233; De Felice, 2001, pp. 257-258; Ellis, 2004b, pp. 386-388.


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Figure 8.5 Bronze ring ending in two snake-heads, found in the thermopolium of Felix and Dorus VI 16, 39.40, Pompeii (inv. 55462)

Photo by the author

snake heads, was found (Figure 8.5).82 In the larger (150 m 2) four-room Caupona of Saturninus; I 11, 16, 83 complete with a masonry triclinium, two simple jewels were present: a fragmentary snake bracelet in bronze (Figure 8.6.1) and a silver ring in spiral form (Figure 8.6.2).84 82 Bronze ring, inv. 55462 (Fig. 5) (old inv. 2992). D. (ext.) 2.1, D. (int.) 1.4. The stem is simple, undecorated, and circular in section, ending in two snake heads that face each other and have a stylized half-open mouth and faintly discernible eyes. The object is intact, covered with a green patina. Found in May 1903, in room A with a selling counter. The other finds include a crescent-shaped silver ornament (inv. 2994 ‘ornamento a mezzaluna’, now dispersed). Also, numerous toiletries were present: a mirror (55451), four bronze probes (55452-55455), a tweezer (55458), nine spatulae in bone (old inv. 2995 A-I), and a bone hair pin (old inv. 2998 A) and 16 unguentaria (old inv. 3002, 3004, 3006-3007, 3110=55512). For the gender-bound f inds of the thermopolium, see Berg, 2016. 83 For the Caupona of Saturninus, see Packer, 1978, pp. 18-24; fig. 8-12; PPM, II, pp. 654-665; Eschebach, 1993, pp. 61-62; De Felice, 2001, pp. 204-206. Excavated in July-September 1960. 84 Bronze bracelet, inv. 12699 (Fig. 6.1). D. (ext. max.) 6.1, D. (int. max.) 5.5. The bracelet is broken into two pieces, and slightly deformed and covered with a green patina. One, incurving end thins into the snake’s tail, the other is thickened as its head. The head presents some simple

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Figure 8.6 1) Bronze bracelet in the form of snake (inv. 12699) and 2) spiral silver ring (inv. 12700). Found in the Caupona of Saturninus, I 11, 16, Pompeii

Drawing by the author

However, a number of thermopolia contained also more abundant and costly items of jewellery. A small assembly of jewels was found behind the selling counter of the partly excavated caupona III 8, 8, called either of Astylus or all’insegna dell’Africa because of a painted personification of the province at the shop front.85 Here, the collection comprised a bronze ring with incised crystal stone,86 a bead in white-and-blue glass-paste,87 and mouldings to mark the eyes and nostrils, and there are some engraved lines at the neck. Silver ring, inv. 12700 (Fig. 6.2). D. (ext.) 2.7, D. (int.) 1.8 cm. A simple ring made of dark grey metal (silver?); the stem, circular in section, is wound into a spiral form. Both ends are missing. In the section, the inside is filled with a whitish, granular material. Found in 14 July 1960, according to the Inventory in this house, but Giornale degli scavi gives as the provenience of the ring the house I 11, 17, in 28/7/1960. Other toiletries include only a simple bronze disc mirror in bronze (12701), diam. 12,5. 85 NSc 1905, pp. 274; 277-278. The shop signs were two female busts, one with an elephant head and ears of grain (Africa), the other with towers, two legs, and ears of grain as the headdress (Sicily), see BullNap 1 (1842), 3. 86 The object is missing, old inv. 3635. According to the Inventory: ‘Anellino nel cui castone è fissato un cristallo (pare) con incisione che non si può distinguere’. 87 The excavation of 22 May 1905 revealed a group of objects behind the counter (‘dietro il banco per la vendita del termopolio’), including the glass bead (Fig. 7.3) with blue-and-white stripes, inv. 56195 (old inv. 3632 B). D. 2.2 cm, th. 0.9 cm. Convex upper surface, flat bottom, a


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Figure 8.7 1-2) Two faience beads (inv. 56194) and 3) a glass paste bead (inv. 56195) found in the Caupona all’Insegna dell’Africa III 8, 8, Pompeii

Photo by the author

two green, ribbed faience beads (so-called melon beads) (Figure 8.7.1-2).88 Such green, turquoise, and blue faience beads, originally made in Egypt, are common in the Vesuvian area and widely diffused throughout the Roman Empire. They are often found in groups and were supposedly worn as necklaces, but single ones may also have been worn as amulets.89 The notable absence of this common type of jewellery in Roman iconography, especially in Fayyum portraits, indicates that is was worn by those who could not afford to have their portrait painted, and thus was plausibly a slave or lower-class ornament. More remarkably, the caupona of Africa also contained ‘fragments of textile in gold thread’, as described in the inventory.90 This, certainly, recalls the patagium, the golden edging of the tunic worn by the barmaid Photis in central perforation of D. 0.4 cm. The bead, with its discoid form, might also have functioned as a spindle whorl. 88 Two melon beads, inv. 56194 (Fig. 7.1-2) (old inv. 3632): 1) Whole. D. 1.6 cm, D. hole 0.4 cm. 16 ribs, strong green colour, some yellowish patina, and metallic reflections. 2) Whole, slightly unsymmetrical shape. D. 1.5 cm, D. hole 0.7 cm. 14 ribs. Light green colour, matt surface without reflection. Toiletries found in the same context: bronze mirror 56197 (3634), bronze tweezers 56198 (3636A), bronze spoon probe (56202=3636E), 2 glass unguentaria 56203 (3637A), 56204 (3637B), two bone hair pins 56206 (3638 B), 56207 (3638 C). 89 For melon-beads, see Schenke, 2003, p. 38, commenting also on the necklaces found in the Casa delle Nozze d’Argento and Casa dell’Ara Massima; Allison, 2013, pp. 83-85. Allison, 2006, p. 25 notes that six such beads were carried by an individual buried in the House of the Menander. 90 Gold fibres, inv. 56196 (old inv. 3633). The threads are very thin, broken in pieces c. 2-15 mm in length, loose and not forming any texture.

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Apuleus’ Metamorphoses. This example suggests that Apuleius’ description of a gilded garment in a caupona setting might not be completely unrealistic. The finding of a golden textile piece in a Pompeian caupona is not an isolated case: a golden band has been found in the relatively large seven-room caupona-hospitium, possibly also lupanar, of Aurunculeius Secundio VI 16, 32.33 (135 m2), in its principal store-room D.91 The band, woven in gold filigrane, and ending in two small rings 27 cm long,92 was found together with one of the most complete toiletry sets in the ancient city.93 The complex has been documented in an archival photo of 1904.94 In particular, there are four silver armlets, two of which have a unique shape: they are decorated with discs with phallus reliefs. Of the others, one is plain and the other is the form of a snake.95 Besides the armlets, a silver snake ring, two bronze signet rings (with male names), and two rock crystal beads were found in the premises of the caupona.96 A curved silver pin and two bone pins, one with the head decorated as a Venus figure, could also have functioned as ornaments for the hair.97 91 For the excavation on 27 June 1904, NSc 1908, p. 272, f ig. 1; 287-298; Kleberg, 1957, p. 41; Eschebach, 1993, p. 231; De Felice, 2001, pp. 256-257; Guzzo and Scarano Ussani, 2009, p. 39. For the finds, Berg, 2016 and forthcoming. 92 Woven gold band (old inv. 3307; now in MANN). ‘Nastro tessuto in filigrana, lungo cent. 27, largo cent.1½, terminante nei due capi in due anellini’ (sent to Naples Museum in October 1910, foglio 2). 93 Two rectangular bronze mirrors 55821 (3324), 55862 (3345), miniature bronze strigil 55817 (3321), relief-decorated bronze pyxis with lid 55829 (3333), glass aryballos (destroyed, old inv. 3346), three glass unguenteria 55863 (3347 A), 55865 (3347C), 55866 (3348), bone spatula 55875 (3353 A). 94 NSc 1908, p. 291, fig. 14. 95 In the inventory, four silver bracelets sent to MANN are recorded: 3310 A-B: ‘Armilla a fascetta ornata intorno intorno di rilievi longitudinali, e nel mezzo da un disco racchiuso in anello aperto, nel cui mezzo è a rilievo un fallo, diam. cent. 5, frammentato; altra armilla simile alla precedente e dello stesso diametro, tutta schiacciata’. 3311: ‘Armilla a verga tonda rastremata in due punti, delle quali l’uno infila nell’altro. Diam. mm. 57’. 3312: ‘Altra piccola armilla costituita da una biscia in tre volute, rotta in due, diam. massimo mm. 40; con biscia a tre volute’. 96 Other jewellery, not seen by the author, includes: Silver ring (old inv. 3313): ‘Anellino aperto, a verga tonda, le cui estremita terminano in due testine di biscie opposte. Diam. mm. 12’. Silver bead (old inv. 3314): ‘Bottone [a testa tonda]’. Signet ring in bronze (old inv. 3318): ‘Sigillo costituito da una targhetta lunga mm 68, sulla quale leggesi in belle lettere rilevate L(uci) Aurunculei Secundioni(s) e dal anello sul cui castone sono incise le iniziali del medesimo nome L.A.S (XI)’. Signet ring in bronze (old inv. 3319): ‘Altro anello sigillo sulla cui targhetta di mm 50 x 15 leggesi a rilievo: A.B.L. e sul cui castone è inciso un malleo’. Two rock crystal beads (old inv. 3351): ‘Due correnti di collana (l’uno sferico e l’altro conico)’. 97 Silver hair pin (P old inv. 3309). ‘Ago crinale a testa ripiegata [ad uncino], finiente in bottone, lungo cent. 13’. Two hair pins in bone, (3354 A=55878, B=55879). ‘Ago crinale alto cent. 14, ornato


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Among the still extant pieces, there is the recomposed faience necklace of 34 melon beads.98 Faience, of course also has an ethnic, Egyptian connotation, as did one of two bronze amulets in female form, a miniature statuette of Isis holding a lotus flower, with a ring for suspension.99 The composition of jewelry in this caupona context forms a complete, relatively rich parure of 14 pieces that seems to correspond to an alternative, subaltern aesthetics in which the showiest pieces would have been the golden band and the faience necklace, together with the four silver armillae, which may have been worn on both arms and ankles. One of the largest groups, consisting of a hundred similar faience beads, was found in another Pompeian thermopolium, the four-room caupona Stabilionis (141 m2), I 11, 1.100 Taken as a whole, they would make a chain of more than a meter in length: this must have been worn in several loops, or possibly diagonally on the chest, as a garland, or crossed, as were the long golden body chains. However, in some Pompeian cauponae, even richer jewellery contexts including gold items have been found, seemingly in conflict with our a priori expectations. In the five-room caupona of Masculus, I 7, 13.14, (105 m2), a long golden body chain, probably worn crossed on the upper body, was found near the entrance.101 superiormente di una statuina di Venere Anadiomene, altro ago crinale, alto cent. 11, la cui testa è ornata di una incisione a dadi’. 98 The Inventory cites 43 faiance beads (‘Quarantatre globetti di pasta vitrea tondi, striati e forati per collana’), but only 34, of slightly different measures (0.5-1,5 cm) and hues of green and blue, are now conserved in the deposit rooms (Casa Bacco), inv. 55867 (old 3349). 99 Two amulets are mentioned in the Inventory (3320 A-B): ‘Due amuleti; alti cent. 3, rappresentanti l’uno un bustino muliebre la cui chioma è rannodata sulla testa in alto tutulo A; l’altro una statuina di Iside, riconoscibile al fiore di loto che ha sul capo e al sistro che ha nella destra B. Sono muniti di anelletto per infilarli alla collana’. Of these, the latter is still extant, inv. 55816 (33320B). Entire, covered with a green patina. Length 3.2 cm. On the back side, a small ring for suspension. 100 Inv. 10512. For the beads, see D’Ambrosio and De Carolis 1997, p. 33, cat. 36, pl. IV, who give as its provenience the Caupona di Hermes II, 1, 1. Because of changes in the Insula numbering and inaccuracies of the original find registration, the actual provenience of the necklace, found according to the Inventory on 26 January 1954 ‘dietro il banco’, ‘behind the selling counter’ must, however, refer to I 11, 1 (originally nominated II 1, 1), as this was the insula and thermopolium under excavation that month, January-May 1954. I warmly thank Grete Stefani for this information. For this caupona, and its first excavation in July 1913, see NSc 1913, pp. 188-189, 249-250, 252 (finding of a bronze stud and glass unguentarium), 254 (13 bronze studs, 2 bronze basins, terracotta amphora), 411. Kleberg, 1957, p. 40; Eschebach, 1993, pp. 57-58. 101 D’Ambrosio and De Carolis, 1997, p. 33, cat. 33, pl. IV. In the same caupona, two gold rings (d’Ambrosio and De Carolis, inv. 7472, cat. 70; inv. 7473, cat. 83) and some toiletry items were also found. For the gold chain and the context, see Berg (forthcoming).

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Also, the five-room caupona V 1, 13, without a conventional name,102 contained a large number of gold jewels: five pairs of gold earrings and eleven gold rings. Among other materials were three silver and two bronze signet rings, seven engraved gems, and one scarab.103 Giovanna Bonifacio, who has published the context, supposes that the hoard is in conflict with its architectonic context, a thermopolium, and interprets it as plundered during the eruption.104 In fact, the complex, made up of multiple earrings and rings, does not form a parure and might thus plausibly not be a use context. A prime example of a golden parure in a thermopolium is the three-room Caupona of Salvius VI 15, 35.36, decorated with the series of tavern-life images discussed above.105 The context has been recently studied by Mariarosaria Borriello, who summarizes that from the upper floor of the caupona a group of gold jewellery was found, including a long gold necklace with lunula amulet, bracelets, crotalia-earring with pendent pearls, and nine rings, three of which are in serpent form.106 Taken as a whole, the objects form a fairly complete parure of gold jewels, although not of the highest qualitative level.107 Borriello presumes that, since they were found on the first floor, they would not have been casually plundered, but would actually have 102 BdI 1877, 135-137; Kleberg, 1957, p. 41; Packer, 1978, p. 40, Eschebach, 1993, p. 124; Bonifacio, 2004. The skeleton with the jewellery was found on 10 September 1875, in the room with the selling counter. 103 Bonifacio, 2004, pp. 263-267: 5 pairs of gold earrings (a pair of crotalia, MANN inv. 110797, half-spherical 110796, with one pearl 110798, crotalia 110799, with one pearl 110800); 16 finger rings, 11 golden (two joint rings 110801, with onyx 110802, 110803, snake 110804, with emerald 110805-110806, with gem 110807, with incised palm leaf 110808, with gem engraved with animal 110809, with incised palm leaf 110810, with emerald 110811), three silver rings (with two snake heads 110813-110814, plain 110816; two bronze signet rings 110828-110829; eight gems (oval violet gem 110820, black gem with white stripe, incised old man with a cane 110821, yellow gem 110822, green gem with Nike on quadriga 110823, amethyst with raven 110824, green bead with hole 110825, scarab in coriniola 10826, cameo with Venus 110827). 104 Bonifacio, 2004, p. 263: ‘la qualità e il valore degli oggetti rinvenuti non sarebbe giustificabile in una bottega, tra l’altro aperto al pubblico’; BdI 1877, p. 135 supposes it might have been the store room of a goldsmith. 105 Excavation in 1876, NSc 1976, pp. 193-195; BdI 1878, pp. 186-204; Bragantini, 1994, p. 366; Borriello, 2004. 106 Borriello, 2004, pp. 270-272: gold necklace, 37 cm (MANN 11092); gold and pearl earrings (MANN 110914); six gold rings with stone (MANN 110908; 110909; 110910; 110911; 110912; 110923); two gold rings in the form of a serpent (MANN 110922; 110913); silver ring with two opposing snake heads (MANN 110918). 107 The half-sphere armillae of the Menander treasure are simpler (only one row of spheres), yet of higher quality, since they are almost of solid gold, whereas the Salvius bracelets, although longer, are empty on the interior. Kenneth Painter (2001, p. 5) notes how Roman jewellery shows surprising similarity in types and richness in houses belonging to quite different social levels.


Ria Berg

belonged to the proprietors of the caupona.108 The pair of heavy bracelets found in the context was composed of golden half-spheres,109 a type that Gesa Schenke has quite convincingly argued to be anklets, not bracelets, because of their weight, length, and locking mechanism.110 Such non-matronly pieces of adornment could plausibly be in use in a caupona context. In this caupona, the image of the woman dressed in a saffron-coloured dress and shoes already suggested the presence of a courtesan. The jewellery complex could be seen in connection with this, or, alternatively, be seen to represent the outcome of its flourishing business activities, visualized by the richly adorned appearance of the hostess. Furthermore, in another room of the caupona, the shop (a) with the selling counter, 75 glass-paste, probably faience beads were found, further strengthening the connection between tavern-life and bead necklaces.111 To sum up the results of this small and non-exhaustive survey, the majority of Pompeian thermopolia contained none, or only a few items of economic jewellery or amulets, in particular snake jewels and faience beads. However, the richness of golden parures in some establishments underlines the surprisingly wide variety of the appearances of women working in Roman bars, plausibly reflecting a similarly wide spectrum of identities and statuses, that could also include a relatively well-to-do dominae cauponae or successful courtesans.

Conclusions The characteristic dress of the Roman copa/ancilla cauponae can be defined as the tunic, worn in two distinct ways. The long, sleeved tunic with a belt is preferred in the commemorative images on grave reliefs, and plausibly signals a more prestigious status within the hierarchy of the inn, perhaps the domina cauponae. The high girding of the tunic, worn by Juvenal’s Cyane and at least one female figure in the Pompeian Caupona in Via di Mercurio (VI 10, 1), is primarily a working outfit, with positive associations to efficiency and rapidity. The belt, band or cloth tied or wrapped around the tunic may also have been a multifunctional towel/apron/napkin, typical of table servants 108 Borriello, 2004, p. 269. 109 Two bracelets composed of 13 pairs of golden half-spheres, at joins miniature relief shells l. 24.4 and 24.0, MANN 110919-110920. Borriello, 2004, p. 272, with bibliography. 110 Schenke, 2003, pp. 47-51. 111 BdI 1878, p. 194: ‘75 globetti perforati di vetro per collana’.

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and waiters. Although the layers of signs conveyed by this outfit may also have included erotic messages, the cultural memories that it carried refer rather to chaste and masculine/virginal mythological characters, Diana the huntress, the jug-carrying water nymphs, Amazons and the Danaids.112 Certain additional accessories, like the oriental headband, the mitra, worn by the Pseudo-Virgilian Syrisca, and the patagium worn by Apuleius’ Photis or the yellow tunic of Myrtale (or her rival) in the Caupona of Salvius, or the golden body chains found in the thermopolium/lupanar of Masculus, are more likely costume elements signalling that their wearers were also to be recognized as courtesans or prostitutes. This chain of cultural association binds them to the Dionysian thiasos, luxurious Hellenistic symposia, and the exotic soundscape of the foreign and oriental Other. In the short survey of jewellery in Pompeian thermopolia, the double function of jewellery, both ornament and amulet, with snake jewellery and faience beads, Isis, lunula and phallus amulets is well in evidence. The most central observation is the wide qualitative variety between different thermopolia: while most contained none or only a few items of economic jewellery, some contained complete parures of gold jewellery, even if not of high quality, certainly reflecting a rich variety of statuses, material conditions, and identities of women who worked in Roman bars. Thus, material objects in the Roman cauponae could be used to signal and fine-tune the variety of statuses and identities present. Items of dress and jewellery, as well as vessels, musical instruments or dance movements could activate, by means of visual, sonorous, and sensorial clues, cultural memories referring to mythological ideals, the distant past, and far-away places.

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About the Author Dr Ria Berg is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki and a Researcher at the University of Tampere.


The Goddess and the Town Memory, Feast, and Identity between Demeter and Saint Lucia Marxiano Melotti Abstract An analysis of the figure and cult of Lucia, the patron saint of Syracuse, deals with the complex relationships between gender, identity, and cultural memory. The cult has a strong identity value connected with the construction of the civic identity and the cultural and political space, with inherited aspects of the previous Greek cult of Demeter and Kore. The passage from the Graeco-Roman culture to the Christian one cannot be reduced to a continuous process of transcultural hybridization. Lucia ‘becomes’ Demeter and Kore through a slow process mainly during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Later, by tourist connection with modern Swedish tradition of Lucia, the feast in Syracuse has eventually metabolized some sexual elements that were present in the ancient Greek cult. Keywords: cultural heritage, Demeter, Kore, St. Lucia, Skansen, Syracuse, Sweden, tourism

The temple and the church: Syracuse between past and present Italy, as you probably know, is a strange place. Since the Grand Tour times, travellers from northern Europe have flocked to the ‘beautiful country’ to admire, possibly under the sun that so often shines in the Mediterranean regions, the grand ruins of the Italian past, visible vestiges of ancient glories, and touching memories of human caducity. They were also in search of the many art treasures, hidden in churches, private palaces, and collections, which were to become part of the f irst European museums. From this point of view, Italy was conceived as a ‘diffused museum’, to use a modern

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch09


Mar xiano Melot ti

definition, but with a remarkable difference: it was possible to buy almost everything. Yet the most fascinating thing for these travellers was perhaps the possibility of seeing an odd living world, where past and present, and sacred and profane, lived together: flocks and shepherds around wonderful ruins, even in the centre of Rome, on the remains of the ancient forums; peasants living in a miserable but fascinating way, with their ancient superstitions and curious traditions; and grand, rich, and colourful religious festivals where the Roman Catholic faith seemed to meet unrestrained forms of pagan leisure. This oddity is at the basis of what we now call the ‘tourist gaze’: 1 an active gaze capable of transforming the space and the local culture insofar as residents tend to meet the image that tourists have of the place they are visiting. This gaze, as often happens in tourist experiences, is mostly based on ‘otherness’: travellers are in search of something different, as in initiation rites. The modern image of Italy was largely constructed on this alien gaze, initially suggested by the northern Grand Tourists but then adopted and absorbed by the national institutions when Italy, in the second half of the nineteenth century, was ‘invented’ as a nation. 2 Since then it has been continuously re-enhanced by international tourism, national narratives and, of course, the increasing commercial use of tourism by the local communities. From this point of view, the small town of Syracuse, on the south-east coast of Sicily, is a very special place where the fascinating coexistence of different temporal layers is particularly evident. Its central square is dominated by the Duomo, the beautiful Baroque cathedral, whose structure surprisingly maintains the skeleton of an ancient Greek temple. Imposing Doric columns are still visible inside and outside the church, on its left side. Not by chance this strange mixture became a favourite view for many Grand Tour travellers and artists, as, for instance, in the famous gouache by Jean Hoüel (drawn around 1770 and published in Voyage pittoresque des isles de Sicile, de Malta et de Lipari) or the etching by the Abbé de Saint-Non (drawn in 1795 and published in Voyage pittoresque ou Description des Royaumes de Naples et de Sicile). Johann Gottfried Seume (1803), the epic traveller who in 1802 walked from Germany to Syracuse in search of the magic of the South, lamented that the ancient gods had to make room for the modern saints and a ‘very beautiful temple’ had been transformed into a ‘very ordinary church’. 1 2

Urry, 1990. Melotti, 2016a, and 2017.

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The tourist gaze catches and crystallizes the most typical image of the town. The ancient Greek culture, far from being forgotten or erased by the modern Christian one, is still present: it is vividly and evidently inserted in the texture of the city and strictly mixed with it. This strange coexistence may be regarded as a victory of the Christian culture over the pagan one, in a process of historical and cultural change or, on the contrary, as the indomitable persistence of the past, continuously present and irreplaceable, owing to its constitutive role even in modern experiences. In the cathedral of Syracuse it is not easy to understand whether you are inside a Christian monument celebrating the success of its culture or a Greek monument affirming the power of the pre-Christian one in a transcultural process. The cathedral, centre of the modern religious life of the town, is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, just as the Greek temple – one of the main religious centres of the town during the Greek and Roman periods – was dedicated to a virgin goddess, Athena. Thus, along the mere architectural concretion of the two different cultures, we also f ind an interesting religious syncretism intertwining two major female figures of the European culture. The material and the immaterial heritage appear closely connected. This evident relationship was often used to support a Nachleben approach to cultural history. This approach, based on the ideas of ‘afterlife’ and ‘survival’ of elements of the ancient Greek and Roman world, was very popular in cultural anthropology and heritage studies, mainly (but not only) between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth (it is suffice to recall James Frazer’s Golden Bough).3 According to it, subsequent layers of cultural history absorb and metabolize the previous ones, transforming or adapting their meaning and often defining new hybrid phenomena. In this perspective, despite any possible different points of view, what prevails is a unidirectional, and often also positivistic, reading of history 3 See James G. Frazer, 1890. Among the other users of this approach, we can mention John C. Lawson, 1910, Aby Warburg, 1932, and Walter Benjamin, 1955. In particular, Lawson, in his seminal work, studied the relationships between Ancient Greek mythology and modern Greek folklore (with a chapter on the ‘survival’ of the ancient cults of Demeter in the cults of St Demetra and St Demetrius): ‘Apart from these traces of the worship of Demeter and Kore in Christian worship, in folk-story, and in custom, traces which constitute in themselves cogent proof of the firm hold on the popular mind which the goddesses twain must long have kept, there exists in the belief of the Greek peasantry a Personal Power, a living non-Christian deity, who still inspires awe in many simple hearts and who may reasonably be identified with one or rather perhaps with both of them’ (Lawson, 1910, p. 88).


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where the present is always built on the past and everything can be rationally explained. The modern Catholic Madonna is the result of a long diachronic process based on ancient Mediterranean female cults or, in a more Christian (or less neo-pagan) view, Athena appears to be an imperfect pre-figuration of the Blessed Virgin, regarded as the point of arrival of a slow but continuous process of religious change. Anyway, despite its evolutionary appearance, this view seems to define a kind of paradoxical cultural immutability: the modern (and post-modern) world cannot but reproduce the same models. In such a perspective, different cultural systems, such as the Greek-Roman and the Christian ones, tend to lose, or at least to dilute, their specificity. We have to remark that contemporary Syracuse has not forgotten its Greek origins and – also owing to the increasing importance of cultural tourism and local identities, and the spreading of ‘heritagization’ processes, so important in our culture and economy – it is fostering a peculiar double identity. For instance, in 2005, during a restoration of the Duomo, the local authorities decided to cover its façade with a huge painted sheet representing the ancient Greek temple of Athena. This return of Athena to the Christian cathedral created a temporary and hybrid identity, consistent with the cultural ‘liquidity’ of the present society.4 The local pride of heritage is so deep that the community accepted converting its main Christian monument into a pre-Christian temple, evidently without perceiving any kind of profanation. This virtual reconstruction gave a visual and solid (though only temporary) consistence to an odd contiguity (perceived but not always accepted) between the figures of Athena, Mary, and Lucia, the patron saint of the town. In fact, in Syracuse, they seem to converge and form a spatial, cultural, and political unit since all of them contribute to defining its political space and identity. At the same time, this visualization, in a tourist context, is also a wonderful expression (for its unawareness) of the power of the tourist gaze: the community adapts its space, heritage, and identity according to what visitors are in search of.

A primitivistic approach: modern gaze and ancient culture The Nachleben approach is not so far from the above-mentioned tourist gaze: lively cultural history is crystallized in a system of impressions where the reality never changes or has to change. History is a mosaic or a sequel 4

Bauman, 2000.

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of beautiful views, epitomized by the present one, which contains almost everything. In this perspective, popular culture, less influenced by the distractions of modernity, is supposed to be a rich container of heritage: peasants, though quite unaware of this role, are supposed to be the magic keepers of tradition. Thus, for instance, when they perform a modern ceremony, they are also enacting ancestral pre-modern rites and the related behaviour. We are clearly facing a stereotyping of popular culture, often due to a snobbish approach common to Grand Tourists, modern scholars, and contemporary travellers. Peasants, villagers, and poor people, or, in a tourist framework, the natives, represent the ‘otherness’ and, therefore, have to be connected with cultural traditions regarded as something ‘other’. If the observer, scholar, or tourist represents the sphere of civilization, or of the present, they must be inserted into that of wilderness, or of the past. This constructs a primitivistic view, which has long characterized the gaze of both anthropologists and tourists. In other words, the research field and the tourist space have to be primitive in order to acquire ‘otherness’ and become effective. In Italy this special way of reading cultural phenomena is still present and seems to maintain a role, especially in the study of the southern popular culture, despite the major economic, social, and cultural transformations that the country witnessed after the Second World War or, at least, in the recent decades. The South was traditionally considered a place where the past is always present and magic affects faith. Ernesto de Martino, a leading Italian anthropologist active in the 1950s and the 1960s, wrote important essays in this perspective, which directly connects Classical Antiquity and the modern poor countryside.5 A similar approach can be traced in the Italian Marxist cultural anthropology of the late 1960s and early 1970s, where the southern countryside, with its marginal inhabitants not yet contaminated by industrialization, was regarded as a rich container of ancient and genuine traditions to be discovered and a stronghold of protest against the hegemonic class.6 Once again peasants, ancient gods, and modern saints had to share a transcultural system though inspired by quite recent ideologies. But, of course, this approach had an indisputable basis: the ancient world and modern countryside shared an agricultural economy and a cultural system quite different from the industrial kind of economy and urban cultures.

5 See de Martino, 1958 and 1959, and, on his work, Signorelli, 2015. 6 In particular, see Lombardi Satriani, 1966, 1968, and 1973.


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This was the same point of view of many Grand Tourists, who, in the nineteenth century, leaving their civilized and industrialized countries, were fascinated by the ‘otherness’ of the Italian landscape and culture, not yet affected by industrialization and modern urbanization. The South was a pre-modern and largely pre-urban society, and the presence of so many ancient ruins helped to give an idea of premodernity to the Classical world. The Greek and Roman civilizations appeared as the last great civilizations experienced by Italy. Yet, this Grand Tour gaze worked in a selective and depletive way. The intellectual contents of the Greek and Roman cultures were not attributed to modern Italy but were retained inside the northern countries, with their museums and their great universities, considered the only legitimate heirs of the Classical culture. Using a popular dichotomy, not by chance introduced by a northern philosopher, we can say that the pre-industrial (and hence idler) Italy and its south maintained the ‘Dionysian’ spirit, whereas the more civilized (and rational) northern Europe acquired the ‘Apollonian’ one. And, of course, in the South of Dionysus there could only be plenty of magic and feast. As we have already mentioned, the new Italian State, which was built in the second half of the nineteenth century by uniting regions with quite different local cultures, had to find a national identity not only to form the new Italian citizens but also to define an image to be used on the European level. And Italy found a useful unifying narrative in the Grand Tour gaze, which was the expression of the cosmopolitan and cultured elite that had travelled for centuries throughout the country and had then to recognize it as a state. In other words, Italy defined itself, to a large extent, by adopting an alien and ambiguous narrative which celebrated the grandeur of its past but despised its present.

Saint Lucia and the roots of the community In such a framework, Syracuse, with its stunning transcultural cathedral, has something to say that could help us better understand the complex relationships between different ages, cultural systems, and even regions: something useful to show the continuity and discontinuity between them. The cathedral, as above-mentioned, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is built on the ancient temple of Athena. Yet, in its interior, it keeps another important female figure, once again a virgin, which contributes to creating a peculiar gendered system inside this space and in the cultural history of the town: Santa Lucia or, rather, a her precious silver simulacrum (containing

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three bone fragments from her ribs), which was sculpted in 1590 by Pietro Rizzo.7 Lucia is the patron saint of Syracuse: according to the Catholic culture, the mythical figure who protects the town. In this case the relationship between the town and its patroness is very special: St Lucia, according to the local tradition and the Roman martyrology, was born in Syracuse in 283 ce, where she lived and was martyred in 304, finding there her death or, rather, her dies natalis (that is, her passage between the worlds, with the beginning of a new life after death).8 The life and death of Lucia are narrated by a Greek text, the passio graeca,9 probably written in the f ifth century, and, with some minor differences, by a Latin text, the passio Latina,10 composed on its basis, probably in the second half of the seventh century.11 These texts describe the final moments of Lucia in a very lively way, which contributes to explaining the strong tie between the saint and her town. After the sentence, the Roman prosecutor ordered the soldiers to bring her to a brothel. They tried to move her but any attempt was useless as she remained as firm as a rock (quasi mons permanebat).12 The soldiers tried to dislodge her with ropes and oxen but she turned out to be unmovable. Even magicians used their 7 According to tradition, the body of St Lucia is now in Venice, in the Church of St Geremia and St Lucia. It was carried to Constantinople in 1040 (together with that of St Agatha, patroness of Catania), during the brief return of the Byzantines to Sicily. After the fourth Crusade, which culminated in the sacking of Constantinople (1204), Venetians and Sicilians were allowed to transfer the body of St Lucia to Venice and that of St Agatha to Catania (Musolino, 1987 and Bertoli, 2006). In Syracuse Lucia is worshipped in absentia and the local community periodically asks for her return. Local media claim that ‘in Venice the body makes a lot of money, according to the usual Venetian business mindset’, whereas ‘she is our Saint, for birth, blood, and death’ (Paladino, 2009). In December 2004 (1700 years after her death), and again in 2014, there were special temporary returns of the body to Syracuse, accompanied by huge joyful celebrations. Local authorities are said to have promised not to obstruct its restitution to Venice. In 2004 there was also a kind of miracle: dolphins accompanied the entry into the harbour of the military ship with the body of the Saint. 8 On the figure of St Lucia and her cult in Syracuse, see Sardella, 1988, Fuiani, 1994, Palmieri, 2001, Magnano, 2004, Aiello, 2010, and Stelladoro, 2010. 9 BHG 995, or Codex Papadopoulos. 10 BHL 4492. 11 A critical edition of the Greek passio was published by Rossi Taibbi (1959), who attributed the Greek and the Latin versions to the same author. In contrast, Milazzo and Rizzo Nervo (1988, p. 101) maintained that the Greek passio was written in the fifth century in Sicily (probably in Syracuse), when the cult of Lucia was still local, whereas the Latin version would be coeval with its diffusion in the Latin-speaking Church at the end of the seventh century. According to Magnano (2004), the redactor of the Greek version was Ilarius or Eulalius, bishop of Syracuse. 12 BHL § 17.


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arts but without success. The Romans had to kindle a fire around her. She eventually accepted her fate: she knelt down and found her death. According to this version, despite the flames surrounding her, she continued to speak, confirming her prophetic figure, and they had to pierce her throat with a sword. In the very place of her martyrdom, the believers decided to build a temple with her relics. This implied the idea that even her corpse was unmovable. Mobility and immobility have a special function in the mythic biography of Lucia and in the construction of her cult, as well as in the construction of her relationship with the local community. The spatial dimension implies a temporal one, which defines a diachronic relationship that builds history in that space. In other words, Lucia turned out to be unmovable since she was enrooted in the territory: a metaphor indicating the strong identity role of the saint, who takes possession of the civic space and constructs it with her special presence. Here we find a cultural notion that is typical of the pre-Christian world or, at least, of the Greek-Roman one in which she allegedly lived together with the local Christian community, which was beginning to build its Christian cultural system inside the pagan culture of the town (Syracuse was then part of the Roman Empire but maintained its strong Greek identity, due to its Greek foundation; the Christian community, as in the rest of Sicily, preserved its Greek background in the following centuries, also thanks to its persistent ties with the eastern part of the Roman Empire). In fact, Lucia was treated as an oikist: in ancient Greek culture, the founder of a colony. After their death, the oikists were usually buried in the town and their tombs defined not only its symbolic centre but also the beginning of its cultural history. The oikist was the civilizing hero who transformed the space by bringing nurture into nature, replacing nature with culture. Of course, we have a more complex system of cultural layers here. The text that describes the death of Lucia, like any other passio, belongs to a largely subsequent religious and literary tradition, and it would be improper to consider it the expression of a specific local community and, even more, a contemporary community. Nevertheless, here we can trace the attempt of a new community to define its own cultural system using the powerful, effective, and longstanding image system and language of the culture in which they live, by which they were influenced and formed, and to which they were speaking; the culture that they had to convince, transform, or destroy, and whose dissolution they were probably beginning to celebrate. In other words, Greek elements inside a Christian narrative do not define a temporal and cultural levelling nor necessarily show a kind of cultural

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continuity but can be interpreted as a lively ‘tool of passage’ on the edge of a complex and sussultatory cultural change. The Christian community (in Syracuse, as in many other places) needed to describe the transformation of the cultural landscape and the process of appropriation of this landscape. Therefore, they required their own monuments to replace the old ones. In the city centre the temple was transformed into a church whereas, just outside the city, the territory was founded as Christian, owing to the sepulchrum of the new oikist, regarded as a templum of the Christian community, willing to distinguish itself from the non-Christian one, which had built its identity space in the city centre. Not by chance, in her dialogue with the Roman prosecutor, Lucia defines herself as a naos theou in the Greek version 13 and as a templum Dei in the Latin one.14 Her immobility and immovability symbolically transform her into the equivalent of a temple, not only giving material consistency to a religious metaphor but also creating a cultual space for the community.

A defiant girl in a male society Scholars are increasingly attentive to the gender aspects in ancient literature and culture, and we are assisting new reading, even of texts like the passions.15 As often happens in these texts, there are many elements aimed at including the local saint in a larger cultural, religious, and ritual system by using a set of standard images, expressions, and situations. Anyway, the representation of Lucia contains several interesting aspects, mainly in a gender perspective. She is presented as a parthenos16 or a virgo,17 that is, a virgin, of very noble descent, who was a fatherless orphan and lived with her mother. The texts explain carefully that her mother had not only inherited the property of her husband but had also increased it.18 Therefore, Lucia had a large dowry for her marriage. Yet, after a special exchange with St Agatha during a dream, she decided to refuse her betrothed, not to have mortal offspring,19 and distribute her richness to the poor, widows, 13 § BHL 20. 14 § BHL 18. 15 See e.g. Penner and Vander Stichele, 2007; Cobb, 2008; Ahearne-Kroll, Holloway, and Kelhoffer, 2010; Bremmer and Formisano, 2012. 16 BHG § 1 17 BHL § 1 18 BHL § 6. 19 BHL§ 5


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orphans, pilgrims, and God’s servants.20 This has defined Lucia as a saint connected to charity and, in particular, to the distribution of goods to people in difficulties. Yet, in the Roman perspective, this was dangerous squandering, in contrast with the economic, social, cultural, and political order. Lucia was a girl living with her mother, without a dominant male figure: a father, a brother, or a husband. Furthermore, she decided not to marry and not to have children. In other words, she created, and advocated, a new kind of family, conflicting with the Roman patriarchal system, which she explicitly rejected. Yet this is a common element that marks a difference between the traditional Roman culture and the new Christian one. In the narrative, this distinction takes the aspect of a refusal of social (and sexual) relationships with individuals not converted to Christianity. Bremmer (2012) notes that this attitude, defining a model of Christian behaviour based on a break between brothers and sisters, husband and wife, parents and children, must not have contributed to the popularity of Christianity. Moreover, Lucia and her mother had a large patrimony at their disposal (jewels, dresses, and estates), which they decided to avert from both a horizontal transmission (entailed by the marriage with the scion of another noble family) and a transgenerational one (the passing of family richness to legitimate heirs), as expected in an aristocratic system. Besides, by selling the paternal estates, they acted against the traditional behaviour of the large landowners (latifundia were quite important in the Sicilian economy). The texts dwell on the fact that they ‘sell’ their goods and, therefore, trade with the community. By disposing of their richness and doing business, they acted as males. Female emancipation and entrepreneurship, though not completely unknown in the Roman world, raised suspicion.21 The betrothed cannot help but report this subversive behaviour to the magistrate: Lucia, by breaking the promise of marriage and selling the property destined for her groom, damaged his interests. The texts, by defining a conflict between two different cultural systems, also define a conflict between genders. Not by chance the Roman prosecutor, in a central moment of her martyrdom, asks how a kore, a girl,22 or a puella delicata, a frail girl,23 can resist the force of a thousand men. Among the many expressions demonstrating her independent will, Lucia states: ‘I act 20 21 22 23

BHL § 8 and 10. Cantarella, 1996. BHG § 20. BHL § 18.

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according to my heart’.24 The Roman patriarchal culture is depicted as a male system, ready to humiliate a feminine revolt through sexual abuse. The Christian culture assumes the aspect of an abused girl, a victim of male violence. The vivid narrative uses signs familiar and understandable to its audience. Lucia, by acting in favour of people rather than her betrothed and de facto behaving as a bride of Christ, can be treated as an unfaithful woman, and therefore as a whore. Her aristocratic identity fades away: ideo quasi meretrix loqueris (‘you speak nearly as a whore’), the Roman magistrate tells her25 and convicts her ad lupanar,26 that is, to be abused in a brothel. She has to be punished and reduced to a subordinate role. Both versions are quite explicit and violent about it: the magistrate orders the owners of the brothel to move the whole community (the populus) against her chastity and to have her raped until her death.27 The Latin passio even stresses the temporal modality of this violence: she has to be abused ‘slowly’. We are inside a brutal and bloody male gladiatory and military imagery.28 Bremmer (2012), with reference to Perpetua’s Passion, draws attention to the fact that, since the second century, Greek and Roman art and literature were increasingly fascinated by cruelty and sex, and, in this framework, the passion combined this new ‘aesthetics of horror’ with a kind of ‘emotional pornography’. Williams (2012), with reference to the same text, explains that it uses a language strongly connected with corporeality as well as a set of cultural markers of femininity and an imagery of penetration, which ‘remind readers that they are reading about women’s bodies and violence done to them’, an observation that we can also apply to the texts concerning Lucia. Bremmer remarks that female martyrdom requires a level of emancipation. Yet it would be improper to give a feminist connotation to the text, even if, in a modern perspective, Lucia can be regarded as an independent woman opposing a dominant male culture. This depiction of Lucia as a model and champion for modern women sometimes also appears in her contemporary cult in Syracuse.29 As violence was an effective language for ancient audiences, resilience is a strong narrative for contemporary ones. 24 BHG § 12. 25 BHL § 13. 26 BHL § 16-17. 27 BHG § 17; BHL § 16. 28 For military values as part of Roman male identity, see also Peltonen in this volume. 29 A significant expression of this ‘feminist’ approach was the re-interpretation of Lucia given in 2004 by the then Minister for Equal Opportunities, Stefania Prestigiacomo (who was born and elected as a Member of Parliament in Syracuse). In 2013, for the first time, women were allowed to carry the cases with Lucia’s relics in the procession.


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The procession and the construction of the civic space The passio, which offers a grand mythical construction consistent with the spatial organization of the urban space, describes the formation of a new centre corresponding to the sepulchrum of Lucia and the later but contiguous church dedicated to her. This defines both a polarity and an inversion between centre and periphery, which symbolically changes the structure of the town, showing its new social, cultural, and religious organization. These new monuments are in strong contrast to the Greek-Roman town. They stand on the mainland, outside the tiny semi-island of Ortygia (the original nucleus of the Greek colony and, later, the centre of the Roman administration), which hosted its main temples, including Athena’s. At the same time, they are outside the area of Neapolis, the ‘new town’ on the mainland, which hosts its main public monuments built during the golden period of the Greek history of the town, including its huge theatre (which is now a popular archaeological site and hosts performances of the ancient Greek tragedies). In this opposition the tradition builds the role of Lucia as patroness of the Christian town. Yet there is a further step. In a finally Christianized town, namely when Christianity was no longer a minority culture, there was no further reason for keeping the saint in a marginal space. She could (and should) be reintegrated in the spatial, architectural, and political centre of the town. The Duomo, as mentioned above, is in and on the temple of Athena, in Ortygia, the very centre of the town. The church and the tomb of Lucia, though the symbolical centres of the community, remained in a peripheral area. But this marginality assumed a new meaning as it defined the whole political space of the now leading Christian community, with the Duomo in its centre and the patroness’s monuments on its boundary. The tomb of the saint symbolically watches the entrance into, or the exit from, the urban area, defines the political space that recognizes itself in her cult and protects the border and, hence, the town. It acts as a marker between worlds. In such a perspective, as we are going to see, the peculiar identity of Lucia, closely related to a system of dichotomies (life and death, light and darkness, fertility and sterility), plays a special role. Yet, at the same time, this deity of liminality had to be reintegrated into the centre, an operation not in contrast with her magic action since her power and nature are built exactly on dichotomies. Therefore, she can be, at the same time, inside and outside, in the centre and on the border. Lucia, an immobile and unmovable figure, begins to move, to duplicate and multiply its presence. The Duomo hosts its simulacrum, which moves twice

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a year (in December and in May) between the cathedral and the church: on each occasion it goes from the cathedral to the church and, eight days afterwards, from the church to the cathedral. But, of course, since it is a continuous circular journey, there is no centre and periphery or start and finish: does the saint live in the cathedral to spend a week in her church in the mainland twice a year or, on the contrary, does she normally live in the church near her sepulchre, which she leaves to be hosted in the cathedral? On another level, this organization of the religious space, displaced and polarized between island and mainland, city centre and peri-urban area, could also have a socio-political meaning: the cathedral in the centre, with its grand aristocratic palaces, represents power whereas the extra moenia church of Lucia, in a liminal position between the town and the countryside, appears more tied to agricultural life with the related social classes. In such a perspective, the annual procession can be read as a tool that unifies the different components and identities of the town.30 Of course, we must remember that the sepulchrum of Lucia was placed outside the city according to a typical Greek-Roman use, according to which necropoleis and cemeteries had to be outside the cities or in their peri-urban areas for precise symbolic and practical motives. Modern Syracuse inherited the positions of ancient funerary monuments, perhaps including Lucia’s. Anyway, this liminal position reacquired a symbolic meaning, consistent with both the liminal role of Lucia, as deity of the passage between the seasons and between light and darkness, and the socio-political and economic organization of the space. We can assume that this contributed to strengthening her role as a successful protectress of the fields and the community, including its most humble components. This continuous journey between centre and periphery has a fundamental role in the construction of civic space. It defines the space of the community and moulds the community itself, as the system of people living in that space is marked annually by that procession, as well as the system of people who recognize themselves as followers of St Lucia. The procession has an important political meaning since it creates the citizens. During her celebrations, the believers repeat the invocations of their saint by shouting Sarausana jè! (‘She’s from Syracuse!’). Here, in a sophisticated process aimed at diluting social conflicts and frustrations, she is regarded as part of the people. She is a powerful patroness but also an equal citizen, and defines the ‘civicness’.

30 For civic space and its significance in constructing identities, see also Joska in this volume.


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This is even more evident in another Sicilian town, Catania, only 50 km away from Syracuse. Catania is strongly related with Syracuse also through the special relationship between their female patron saints, Agatha and Lucia (according to the tradition, it was Agatha who gave Lucia her special powers). The believers in St Agatha, in the annual multiple all-day processions throughout the city, call themselves ‘citizens’: the religious space completely fills the political one by defining the ‘civicness’. This strong relationship between the patron and the protected city was already present in ancient Greek culture: the God who protected the town was its polioûchos, that is, the deity ‘who has the polis’. This function still persists in modern Greece, where the patron saint is called polioúchos. In ancient Athens the goddess Athena was venerated as Poliàs. This is interesting, if we remember that, in Syracuse, Athena was the goddess of the temple later transformed into the Duomo and the temporary house of Lucia’s simulacrum: once again a similarity, strengthened by a spatial stratification. This does not imply direct continuity but does show a parallel recurrence to a common symbolic strategy. In Syracuse the two annual processions certify the individual belongs to the community and to the civic space, reconfirming the community of the existence of its civic, cultural, and religious space, with its own system of values and practices. Year after year, the processions build the past, define layers of experiences, events, and memories, and create history. This is not a peculiar practice of Syracuse or Catania. The active role of processions is shared by almost all Catholic Mediterranean towns celebrating their patrons with annual processions, which usually represent the climax of the feasts. These celebrations continue to be very important events, marking the local identity of the territory and its community. Even in our secularized times, these feasts maintain a fundamental identity role: believers vivify their faith; citizens, including non-believers, celebrate their civic belonging; emigrants can come back to share memories and reaffirm their identity; youth have leisure time, and, maybe unawares, confirm heritage and enhance tradition; shopkeepers make good sales; and, of course, in an age of increasing tourist mobility, travellers can have good time, experience ‘authenticity’ and, as in Grand Tour times, observe villagers performing their colourful rites. Once again, in these processions we can trace an ancient element. Also Greek poleis used to celebrate their gods and heroes with annual processions, which had the same function: defining the territory, marking the borders, and building and reaffirming identities and values. These processions usually united centre, periphery, and liminal spaces, moving between a main temple

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inside the polis and its peri-urban or extra-urban sanctuaries, and thus defining the civic and political space as noticed by Francois de Polignac (1984). These rites were meant to enhance a relationship between the nucleated centre of the town and its rural periphery. They ‘defined the community and kept the polis embedded in the land that was believed to sustain it’31 – a function also important for the agricultural organization of modern Syracuse. There is not a necessary direct continuity, despite the common cultural framework deeply characterized by the Greek culture. Outside Greek areas, monuments are also used as special markers, and religious processions transform territory. Furthermore, in the case of Syracuse, as in many other Italian patronal feasts, continuity may be supposed but not proven. On the other hand, these processions seem more modern events, related to the introduction of huge religious feasts during the Baroque age (which in Sicily was largely characterized by Spanish domination and Spanish Catholic culture). Lucia’s simulacrum itself is a Baroque invention, and the May procession, related to a modern miracle by the saint, dates back to 1646.

Light and winter: Lucia and the ‘otherness’ In Syracuse the main procession takes place on 13 December, a very special day, which not only helps us to understand the role of Lucia but also marks an interesting relationship with the ancient world. Before the reform of the calendar introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregorius XIII, this day fell in proximity of the winter solstice, which now occurs on 21 December. In other words, the feast of St Lucia is a winter solstice celebration: an Italian popular saying goes: Santa Lucia è il giorno più breve che ci sia (Saint Lucia is the shortest day of the year). Of course, this does not happen by chance as even her name suggests: Lucia shares a root with the Latin and Italian words for light (lux, lucis in Latin; luce in Italian). This relationship has always been clear in popular culture, which connects the saint and her cult with the light in its various dimensions, from daylight to sight. The winter solstice is a very delicate moment for any community living off agriculture. In the northern hemisphere this solstice falls in a period when nature and the fields seem lifeless. Not many trees have leaves or flowers. Nature does not seem to produce food, and the communities have to survive on their past harvest and supplies. Intense cold, ice, and snow, as well as long dark nights, threaten the lives of humans and domestic animals. 31 Cole, 2000.


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In Sicily winter is usually less harsh than in other Italian regions and, even more so, than in central and northern Europe. Yet it is a period of passage, with peasants and resting fields waiting for the return of light, warmth, and life. Moreover, in both Antiquity and pre-modern times, this season was much more challenging than it is now thanks to the present comforts and conveniences. Then, the winter solstice, when the days slowly begin to lengthen and the nights to shorten, assumed a special meaning: communities were still in the core of the winter but things were beginning to change and they could see the end of the darkness, the cold, and nature’s sterility. The return of light and life was something long-awaited, but, in a magical perspective, it was not an automatic fact and had to be obtained. There was no certainty in the overcoming of winter and the arrival of spring. The winter was dangerous and not everybody would survive it. Archaeologists and anthropologists know very well the implications of these hopes and fears; many archaeological sites are now regarded as traces of ancient astronomic calendars and many feasts are interpreted as winter solstice celebrations. In Europe, the period around this solstice is characterized by feasts and figures with apotropaic and magic functions: to remove fears, which often take the visual and concrete aspect of monsters, demons, and frightful masks; to placate and chase away these strange creatures with goods, food, and gifts; to gain the return of light and peace.32 From Halloween (31 October), All Saint’s Day (1 November) and the Day of the Dead (2 November), through St Nicholas (8 December), St Lucy (13 December), Christmas (25 December) and St Stephen’s Day (26 December), to the Eve’s night (31 December), Epiphany (6 January), Candlemas (2 February) and, in the cold northern Europe and Scandinavia, Walpurgis Night (30 April), this period of the year is marked by many strange celebrations connecting hope and fear, joy and sorrow, light and darkness, life and death. The return of the dead, the symbolic transformation of children into dangerous figures and the exchange of gifts are elements common to these feasts and some of them tend to overlap. This is not surprising and it is due to many reasons: the similarity of purposes; the contiguity and convergence of symbolism; a natural process of imitation and hybridization among communities and different cultures; the fluidity and stratification of local traditions; the differences in climate among the various parts of Europe; the fluidity of local calendars; the above-mentioned introduction of the Gregorian calendar; and, last but not least, the liquid character of contemporary post-modern

32 Buttitta, 1971 and 1995; Melotti, 2002.

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society, where leisure, tourism, commodification, and carnivalization tend to transform cultural heritage.33 In such a context, St Lucia’s celebrations assume a precise meaning, which also reveals some important functions of her cult and figure. The patroness is a kind of goddess or queen of light: her modern reinterpretation in Sweden, with girls wearing a crown of lighted candles to impersonate Lucia, represents this idea in explicit visual form. Yet the origin of this relationship between Lucia and the light is not as clear as it might appear. The main points obviously are her name itself and the day on which she is celebrated. A popular tradition, particularly diffused in Sicily, ties Lucia with the eyes and presents her as a protectress of sight. The saint blinds herself with a brooch or a pin to avoid seeing her Roman prosecutor, fond of her beauty, and to appear less attractive. She would have offered him her eyes on a silver plate and the iconography represents her with her eyes in a little cup or on a small plate. The story interestingly connects sight and blindness with the sexual sphere: this self-blindness keeps Lucia away from the world of sexual desires and places her on a different level. Only God can be her lover and bridegroom. This is consistent with the story in Acta: Lucia was denounced and prosecuted since she refused to get married to a noble Roman: a defiant and subversive act in a male and patriarchal culture. Yet the refusal of sexuality and sight recurs in religious practice as well as in magic according to the logic of gift and contra-gift: whoever aspires to acquire special powers or special roles, or desires to ‘see’ into the other world, must offer something to nature, the gods, or the spirits. Nature requires a kind of equilibrium. Sexual abstinence and blindness are regarded as effective tools to get special powers or special status in a group. According to such a perspective, Lucia, refusing sexuality and sight, presents and builds herself up as a special person, able to communicate between the worlds. In fact, the blindness appears a preliminary act of her martyrdom, giving her a new life and identity. The Passiones include an interesting passage34 describing the exact moment Lucia acquired her special powers: she was, together with her ill mother, beside the sepulchre of St Agatha, in a status – we would say – of psychological alteration. They were crying and prying, that is, they were entering into contact with the other world. At a certain moment, Lucia ‘fell profoundly asleep’ and, in a dream, ‘saw’ Agatha, who stated that Lucia did not need her help since she was already able to act as a healer. The text, once 33 Melotti, 2016b. 34 § 4 in both Codex Papadopoulos and BHL 4492.


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again, using a mythical and religious language, describes an incubatio, a specific ritual used (mainly in sanctuaries connected with healing, such as Aesculapius’s) to get in contact with otherness. Sleeping and dreaming entail a particular status of liminal knowledge where one can see the otherness and interact with it, but they are also strictly connected with blindness (when you are asleep, your eyes are closed and you cannot see, like a blind person) and darkness (sleeping and dreaming are usually night practices, and incubatio was performed inside sanctuaries, caves, or underground spaces). Therefore, this passage entails a precise relationship between Lucia and the world of otherness through symbolic blindness and darkness. In the ancient documents concerning Lucia, there are no explicit references to blindness or light. There is only an interesting Greek inscription of the fourth or fifth century, which was found in 1894 in St John’s catacomb in Syracuse: a husband recalls his ‘faithful Christian’ wife Euskia, deceased at age of 25 ‘on the day of the feast of St Lucia’. The name Euskia is usually connected with shade and (according to the archaeologist who made the discovery, Paolo Orsi) it could have been given to the girl owing to an eye disease: a fascinating but vague hypothesis, perhaps due to the desire to find a long-searched for connection. Anyway, the inscription, which was well studied,35 seems to show an opposing relationship between the shade of Euskia and the light of Lucia. The blindness of Lucia and her role as a sight-healer are more documented in later tradition. Rizzo Nervo (2006) refers to a hagiographic text of the Merovingian age, Vita Odiliae abbatissae Hohenburgensis, where the protagonist, a believer in Lucia, recovers her sight twice, even though Lucia is not directly involved in the miracle and does not act as a healer of blindness.36 The ninth-century Canon of St Methodius recalls Lucia, who has ‘the name of the light’ and ‘illuminates the blind’. Yet scholars tend to show how the connection with the light is a later invention, testified by iconography only after the fourteenth century.37 An interesting hypothesis connects Lucia’s eyes with the goddess Athena. Lombardo (2000) recalls the importance of the eyes in the cult of Athena, the ‘owl-eyed’ goddess defined as Glaukopis. The owl, with its huge, bright, and disquieting eyes, is able to see at night: an ability that makes it a good symbol for divination and special powers. Lombardo points out that Lucia is venerated inside the cathedral, which was once a temple dedicated to 35 Milazzo and Rizzo Nervo, 1988, and Sgarlata, 1998. 36 MGH, SS. RR. Merov. VI, Hannover and Leipzig, 1913, pp. 37-50. 37 Amenta, 2003.

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Athena. The statue of the goddess, placed on its acroterium, would have watched and protected the town, a function later assumed by St Lucia. In other words, a religious figure with special sight would have looked after the community over the centuries. Amenta (2003) objects that, when the temple in the fifth century was transformed into a Christian church (and then in the seventh into the cathedral), it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and not to Lucia, whose cult was long practised in ‘her’ church outside the city centre. Yet, since the Baroque age, Lucia has acquired a prominent position in the cathedral, also attaining a central political role, as mentioned above, and from this central position, as patron saint, acts as a magic watcher of the town. Nonetheless, independent of the documents, in popular culture and devotion Lucia is clearly connected with a system of images based on the dichotomies light and darkness and sight and blindness. As stated in Acta, she also acts as a prophetess, able to see into the future, and her self-procured blindness (together with the implicit sexual abstinence) gives her a special authoritativeness, comparable with that of many blind seers of the ancient Greek mythology, Tiresias in primis. Her main feast on 13 December – closely connected with the winter solstice, as already explained – gives her the role of a passage figure: a saint helping the community pass through seasons and overcome the darkness and sterility of winter.

Lucia before Lucia: Demeter and Kore This specific relationship with light and seasonal change reminds us of another main female figure of the ancient Mediterranean imagery: Demeter (identified with Ceres by the Romans), goddess of wheat and the harvest, governing the passing of winter into spring or, rather, of the season of sterility and agricultural rest into that of fertility and agricultural production. Moreover, Demeter has a clear role in the communication between worlds. According to the ancient tradition (epitomized by the second Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dating back to the seventh century bce), she visited the realm of death, to bring back her daughter, Kore (identified with Libera or Proserpina by the Romans), abducted by the Underworld’s god-king, Hades. Demeter struck a bargain that her daughter could spend some time in the land of the living every year. When she is on earth, nature rejoices and the fields flourish.38 38 On the relationships between the Greek cult of Demeter and Kore and the Roman cult of Ceres and Libera or Proserpina see Mustakallio, 2013, pp. 63-65.


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The myth and the ritual system connected with Demeter and Kore have been widely studied;39 yet it may be useful to recall some elements of their myth. Hades abducted Kore (whose name means both ‘maiden’ and ‘pupil’ of the eye) and carried her to his dark kingdom. Demeter began a desperate search for her daughter, wandering around the world. Since she was unable to find her and no one helped in the search, she uttered a terrible curse, which condemned the land to sterility. At this point, Zeus, king of the gods and father of Kore, intervened and helped Demeter in her search, but on condition that she would take back her curse and restore fertility to the earth. He informed her that Kore was imprisoned in the Underworld. Zeus also explained that if Kore had already shared food with Hades, it would be impossible to bring her back to light. The goddess – and this is a main point – had to descend into the Underworld. The iconography usually associates the goddess with a torch: Demeter had to light up her path in the darkness of the Underworld. This contributes to attributing a passage role to the goddess: as a traveller between the worlds and a figure able to bring light into the darkness. When Demeter finally found her daughter, she had just tasted a pomegranate given to her by Hades and therefore she was condemned to remain in his kingdom. But Demeter came to an agreement with Zeus and Hades: Kore had to stay with Hades but could ascend to the upper world for some months every year. When Kore is with her, her mother is happy and the land is fertile; when the girl is in the Underworld, her mother is unhappy and her pain throws nature into sterility. Kore’s coming back to the earth coincides with the return of spring. Kore, ‘the pupil of the eye’, brings the light with her. This myth explains the succession of seasons and links the return of light and fertility to the cult of Demeter and Kore. But Kore’s story also has an initiatory and sexual meaning: the myth presents a rite of passage to adulthood. From a maiden, Kore becomes a woman and, from a daughter, she becomes a wife. In fact, the myth relates a marriage: the girl is raped by her future husband and brought to his home. By sharing food with him, she symbolically enters the cultural and economic sphere of her new family. The transition to adulthood and marriage implies an identity change that entails the change of her name: Kore, the maiden, once married, becomes Persephone, the queen of the Underworld. A variant of the myth relates that Demeter, during the search for her daughter, found one man willing to help her, the king of Eleusis. The grateful goddess donated the first ear 39 See, for example, Kerényi, 1967; Cole, 2000; Burkert, 2003; Lippolis, 2006; and Di Stefano, 2008.

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of wheat to his son. 40 In this way humanity discovered agriculture. Wheat is a gift from Demeter but it is also a gift from the sovereign to his people. Hence, agricultural fertility and wealth require the respect of both the goddess and the political power. It is clear that the myth and the ritual system connected with Demeter and Kore involved aspects of fundamental importance in agricultural societies. 41 Greek (and then Roman) Sicily had an economy largely based on the production and export of wheat. Therefore, the cult of these two goddesses was destined to acquire importance in the island, 42 where it also had high ideological value. 43 The myth shows this primary role with the construction of a complex cultural landscape, where many places were inserted in the sacred biography of the goddesses: the god Hades would have abducted Kore by exiting a cave in a meadow in Sicily, near Enna (where thereafter they built an important sanctuary to the goddesses); and he would have descended again into his subterranean kingdom, together with Kore, just outside Syracuse, through a passage afterword magically transformed into a spring. 44 This special relationship between the two goddesses and Sicily is testified by many sources, among which are Cicero and Diodorus Siculus. The former stated that ‘according to an old opinion, based on the most ancient records and monuments of the Greeks, the whole island of Sicily was consecrated to Ceres and Libera’. 45 The latter defined it as ‘the island sacred to Demeter and Kore’: ‘They appeared for the first time in this island’, which was ‘the first place to produce the fruit of the grain’ and where ‘the goddesses who discovered it were the most honoured’. 46

Syracuse between Demeter and Lucia The cult of Demeter and Persephone was particularly important in Syracuse,47 where it also had strong political and identity value. The richness of Syracuse, like that of many other cities in Magna Graecia, was based on 40 Appolod. Bibl. I, 5, 32. 41 Chirassi Colombo, 1968. 42 Ciaceri, 1911; Orlandini, 1968-1969; Hinz, 1998; and Zoppi, 2015. 43 White, 1964; Bearzot, 2008. 44 Diod. Sic. 5.2.3-5.5.1. 45 Cic. Verr. 2.4.106-107. 46 Diod. Sic. 5.2.3-5. 47 Polacco, 1986.


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the production and trade of wheat. Therefore, Demeter, as the goddess of grain, had a central role in its rituals. She was also linked to kingship and power, as she gives wheat to the sovereign, who, thanks to this gift, becomes the protector of the city and the arbiter of its destiny. In ancient Syracuse this relationship between the cult of Demeter and its reigning house was particularly strong. Deinomenes, the ancestor of the dynasty of tyrants of the city, is said to have brought the rites of Demeter to Sicily, and one of his descendants, Telines, to have procured for his family the exclusive right of the priesthood of her cult. Gelo, the first tyrant of Syracuse, had a special relationship with this cult. When in 485 bce he took power, by sustaining the aristocrats who had been exiled by the city, he proclaimed himself basileus of Demeter, a term that connoted him as both sovereign and priest. He brought this cult into a divided city, probably with a precise political aim: as a goddess providing food, Demeter could be much more popular than the traditional gods, worshipped by the aristocrats, initially helped but then opposed by Gelo. 48 In order to strengthen his position in Sicily, Gelo conducted a war against Carthage, which was then quite interested in Sicilian territories. In such a context, the cult of Demeter, so evidently tied to the family struggling against a powerful enemy to protect the whole island, began to be regarded as a pan-Sicilian cult. After a stunning victory at Himera in 480 bce, Gelo erected twin temples to Demeter and Persephone from the spoils of war. 49 This contributed to defining a precise and lasting relationship between the cult of these goddesses and the town, its local identity, and its autonomy. Moreover, in the local tradition, Demeter performed a series of political miracles: a quite important aspect that helps us understand the subsequent role of St Lucia. For instance, in 396 bce, the Carthaginians, during a siege of the city, plundered the temples of Demeter and Persephone. This ‘act of impiety against the deity’ was immediately punished: a mysterious plague spread among the besiegers, who, at dawn, were forced to abandon the siege and retreat to Africa.50 Between 345 and 343 bce, Timoleon of Corinth organized a military expedition to free Syracuse from the tyrant Dionysius II. According to Diodorus51 and Plutarch,52 during the night, while the fleet was crossing the 48 White, 1964, pp. 264-265. 49 Diod. Sic. 11.26.7. 50 Diod. Sic. 14.63.1. 51 Diod. Sic. 16.66.3-5. 52 Plut. Tim. 8.

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sea, a marvellous light in the form of a torch (one of the symbols of Demeter, the mother goddess in search for her daughter) appeared in the heavens, indicating the way to Italy. Timoleon, grateful for the protection of the goddesses, which had been assured to him by their priestesses in Corinth, named his best ship Demeter and Kore. The success of his expedition, which also produced the fall of tyrannical regimes in the Greek cities in the part of Sicily not under Carthaginian rule and a peace treaty with Carthage, definitively associated the two goddesses with the idea of ​​freedom, and in their honour they coined a special silver mint. Demeter and Kore became thus the protectresses not only of Syracuse but of the whole Sicily. It is clear that the system of images and tales connected to Demeter and Kore – a sort of ‘double figure’ – appears to be very similar to that of St Lucia. Like Kore, Lucia is a girl who has a special relationship with the darkness. The importance of the eyes in the popular cult of Lucia (not clearly testified by religious texts) finds a deep meaning if tied to the myth of Kore: a special figure living between the worlds and able to see in the dark (as mentioned, her name also means ‘pupil’). Archaeological findings, from ex votos to decorative elements on cups, show the extensiveness of the eyes as a symbol connected with the cult of Kore in Sicily: something that can be compared with the extensiveness of eyes in the modern worship of St Lucia, where we find ex votos, decorative elements, and even special festive biscuits. From this point of view, the eyes seem to play quite a primary role in local ritual history, as some years ago was also testified by an exhibition.53 In the same way, the torch that Demeter uses to light up the Underworld appears in the iconography of Lucia, celebrated on the winter solstice day and worshipped as a bearer of light. In her iconography – epitomized by the Baroque silver statue by Pietro Rizzo, which is carried in procession twice a year – St Lucia carries a little cup containing her eyes and from which, as a torch, a little flame raises, in one hand; and, in the other, she holds a palm branch (a traditional symbol of martyrdom), which, in such a context, bears an impressive resemblance to the ears of wheat that Demeter holds in Greek iconography. Among the elements connecting Kore and Lucia there is also the presence of their mothers. Obviously, the relationship between Kore and Demeter is much more important and is a basic element in their cult. Yet the mother of Lucia, Eutykia, also has a significant role in her narrative system: Lucia begins her ‘magic’ trip towards the tomb of St Agatha in order to get her mother’s healing and she discovers her magic powers thanks to this trip 53 Ciurcina, 2005.


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and, therefore, to her mother. Moreover, Eutykia has a prominent role in the alienation of her family goods, which is the premise of the persecution and martyrdom of Lucia. Both couples (Kore and Demeter, Lucia and Eutykia) represent a peculiar kind of female family, which is normalized by a marriage with Hades, the god-king of the Underworld, in the first case, and by a martyrdom, which is a sort of symbolic marriage with Christ, the divine king of heaven and earth, in the second. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the figure and cult of the Christian Lucia have an ancient Greek, and therefore a pre-Christian, origin. The first Christian communities worshipped their founder-heroes and talked about their own myths using the then-available language, images, and mythic structures, which were those of the pre-Christian communities. Moreover, there is another important reason: over the centuries, cultural and political systems – and the related religious cults – changed, radically even, but the problems, and often the fears, of the communities remained substantially the same. This continuity is particularly strong in rural areas and in societies living off the land. From this point of view, the Christian Sicily was not so different from the pre-Christian Sicily of Greek and Roman culture. Communities had the same problems: they feared wars and famines; every year, after the sterility of winter, they needed a fertile spring and productive fields; and, finally, they needed the community to continue to exist, reproduce itself, and supply the necessaries to agriculture, including labour force. In such a context, agricultural and human fertility had a basic value. In the Greek-Roman age, a series of cults met these needs. In Sicily, the most important of them was certainly that of Demeter and Kore, whose sacred history was centred on the relationship between light and darkness, and fertility and sterility, in connection with the seasonal return of spring and wheat, and the key role of sexuality and marriage in the life of women and the communities. When, in Roman times, the first Christian communities developed in Syracuse (Marcianus, an alleged disciple of the Apostle Paul, was the protovescovus of Syracuse and the first Western bishop), they defined their own reference figure: Lucia. She was not strictly a Christian replica of Demeter but she assumed many traits and functions of the Greek goddess: in the mythical biography of Lucia and in her worship, the relationships light/darkness and fertility/sterility remained central. The two figures (three, including Kore) are related as they have cultural and civic functions and, in Syracuse, a peculiar political role in the construction of the civic space and local identity. The passage from Demeter and Kore to St Lucia, however, was not a mere transformation: they are not a pagan prefiguration of Lucia, nor is Lucia a

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Christian version of them. It would be improper to reduce Christian history to the few centuries of coexistence, conflict, and hybridization between Roman pagan and Roman Christian culture. Between the ancient Lucia, celebrated in the Passiones, and the modern Lucia, celebrated in the processions in Syracuse, there is a long process of cultural change. Modern Lucia, though obviously related to the ancient one, is a modern invention, closely tied to the construction of the civic space during the Baroque age, under the influence of Spanish Catholic culture and its tendency to spectacularize the religious activities. The celebrations for St Lucia, with their processions and her imposing silver statue, express the new political self-consciousness of the town at the beginning of the seventeenth century.54 Yet we are facing a very interesting process. Over the centuries Lucia has acquired elements once special to Demeter and Kore. Local memory has rebuilt a forgotten system. Or, rather, the civic community, facing the same challenges, has eventually employed the same symbolic and ritual tools used in the past, even without a real or direct connection, continuity, or contiguity with them. If we think of a religious figure, with its rites and tales, as a complex system, slowly built over the centuries by generations and generations of various kinds of people (kings, citizens, farmers, warriors, migrants; men and women; adults and children) facing wars, famines, sieges, and plunders, but also enjoying successes, feasts, and weddings, we understand this situation. It took centuries for Demeter and Kore to become protectresses of the local community and more centuries for this system to acquire stability and become effective. Then there was the arrival of Lucia: a new cult and a new figure with more or less different rites and symbols to define and protect a more or less different community. It took centuries for the new system to acquire a similar stability and effectiveness. In such a perspective, we can say that Lucia was not Demeter, but she has become Demeter. This did not occur with the passage from paganism to Christianity (a crucial moment in the European cultural history) but in a secular process that accelerated during the Baroque age and is still in progress. Over the centuries, as the cult strengthened, was completed and spread, Lucia ended up performing the same miracles carried out by the pagan goddess. Lucia did not have a clear and explicit agricultural dimension but, to represent a rural community, she had to acquire it. In 1646 (someone says on 13 May) the hungry city, reunited in the cathedral, was calling for 54 Russo, 2004.


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her intervention when a quail perched on the altar: at that very moment it was announced that a ship loaded with wheat had arrived, preceded by a flock of quails. Since then, to commemorate the miracle, the community celebrates Lucia with a feast (‘the procession of quails’), which takes place every year on the first Sunday of May.55 In 1763 the saint performed a similar miracle, thus ending another famine. Furthermore, on that occasion, she also enhanced her relationship with eyes, which, as we have already mentioned, is particularly important in her cult but was not clearly attested by documents and events. When the ship carrying the grain to the hungry city entered the harbour, its captain recovered his sight. Thus Lucia became a saint related to eyesight, exactly like Kore, the ‘pupil’. Lucia also acquired a military dimension when, in 1735, she liberated the city from a Spanish siege (exactly as Demetra did many centuries before, when it was menaced by the Carthaginians). On that occasion 2000 bombs fell on the city without killing anybody. This was regarded as a miracle. In the meantime the marble statue of Lucia conserved in the little temple near her Sepulchre seemed to sweat,56 showing ‘her solidarity with the martyrdom of her people’.57 When a big bomb fell on his casemate without exploding, the chief of the local troops thanked the saint and a week later decided to surrender. This assured peace and safety for the city. On a website commemorating this miracle, a believer posted this comment: ‘What a beautiful episode, very moving! You are great, St Lucia! You are powerful!’58 In such a context only one aspect was still lacking: the sexual one. Demeter and Kore were strictly related not only to the fertility of the fields but also to human sexuality (Demeter is first of all a mother and Kore is the protagonist of a rite of passage with rape and marriage). A fifth-century bce polychrome terracotta bust, found in the sanctuary of the two goddesses in Syracuse and now displayed at its Archaeological Museum, represents a very attractive Kore, with beautiful red lips and long blonde hair. She even seems to have curls. 55 Another version of the miracle of quails was reported by a well-known anthropologist, Giuseppe Pitrè (1900). During a famine, in the month of May, when the statue of St Lucia was exposed to the believers, a large number of quails fell on the docks of the port. He also vividly described the feast of ‘St Lucia of the quails’ he attended in May 1881: young nuns in white dresses threw hundreds of quails, doves, pigeons, and other birds on people crowded in the cathedral square. They tried to grab them and hit or even killed most of them (p. 48). It is worth remembering that also the Bible reports a miracle of quails, which were mysteriously provided to feed the hungry people of Israel (Ex. 16.13; Num. 11.32; Ps. 105.60). 56 Deputazione, 2003. 57 Basilica, 2012. 58 Amici di Santa Lucia, 2012.

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In a Catholic culture the sexual aspect is still problematic. In the system of tales related to Lucia, sexuality is not explicit, even if there are references to sexual abstinence and sexual violence. Lucia was a beautiful and attractive girl and the Roman procurator was attracted by her. The modern sacred images of Lucia (such as the silver statue by Rizzo) clearly show her lovely aspect, but this element has appeared openly only in recent times, and in a paradoxical way.

A Swedish Lucia As many know, St Lucia is very popular in Sweden. Lucia Day, on 13 December, is one of the most important feasts of the country, long-awaited by adults and children. It is a playful merry day, where you can already perceive the arrival of Christmas. This is quite stunning owing to the longstanding Protestant culture of Sweden and its advanced secularization. This day, however, is not exactly a religious feast or, rather, the religious aspect is not its prevailing element. The arrival of Lucia in the northern countries is quite a complex fact and is open to debate. There are traces of her cult during the centuries,59 but the custom was probably brought to western Sweden from Germany in the eighteenth century.60 Moreover, owing to the importance recently acquired by the feast, her figure has been re-adopted not only by the Catholic groups but also by the Protestant ones, which usually distrust saints and miracles. They have eventually accepted her figure and have even reintroduced the practice of procession, which had been one of the most abhorred functions since the success of the Lutheran Reformation in the sixteenth century.61 St Lucia is now celebrated with a special liturgy on 13 December. However, the Swedish Lutheran Church tends to enhance the aspects of the feast related with community service and solidarity and presents Lucia as a girl ready to help her neighbours and give her time to others. These traits are also present in her Catholic version, where Lucia is mostly used to enhance social solidarity, for instance, in hospitals. This element has also progressively acquired importance in Italy in accordance with a general change in religious culture, where the traditional aspects of religious feasts have been increasingly associated with social activities. 59 Tajani, 2005. 60 Wolf-Knuts, 2007, p. 60. 61 Tajani, 2005, p. 32.


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Yet the main point is, and remains, the relationship between Lucia, light, and the winter solstice. As in Italy, the feast of Lucia accompanies, overlaps, and hybridizes some pre-Christian and rural feasts marking the winter solstice with the practical and symbolic elements usually connected with it (temporary suspension of the main agricultural activities, waiting for the return of longer and brighter days, fears for the seeming sterility of nature and winter darkness, regarded as a dangerous element contiguous to death and otherness). In fact, between the modern Lucia day and the pre-Christian rural beliefs in Sweden we trace the same relationships as between the Christian Lucia and the ancient Greek cult of Demeter and Kore in Sicily: not necessarily continuity or hybridization but more likely sharing of common hopes and fears, entailing similar symbolisms. We have to recall that in Sweden the Gregorian calendar was adopted only in 1753. Therefore, for a long time, 13 December coincided with the winter solstice, and the night of St Lucia was a special one: the longest of the year. A Swedish institutional brochure, aimed at presenting the meaning of the feast, with a romantic touch explains that, ‘according to popular beliefs, on that night devil spirits and witches flew around and the frightened people gathered and watched against evil’.62 The central element of the Swedish celebration of Lucia is the role played by the girls. According to the tradition, quite diffused in Western Sweden, during that night women (and more recently girls) wear a white dress and light up their homes with a crown of candles on their head, in order – to quote again the thrilling brochure – ‘to chase the devil’. This is an interesting apotropaic rite performed by children, who, in many cultures, are perceived as the components of the community closest to the world of otherness. The white dress transforms them into ghosts, emphasizing their role of passage between the worlds. The first document mentioning a Lucia-like celebration, with girls bringing lights, dates back to 1764 when a priest in his memoirs describes being awakened, in Västergötland province, by a ‘paradisiac song’. Upon opening his eyes, he sees two girls in white dresses: one with a lit chandelier and the other with a rich breakfast for him.63 This tradition is usually connected with similar German Christmas traditions involving girls in white dresses offering gifts. There are many different hypotheses about how this tradition

62 Ambasciata di Svezia, n.d. 63 Bergstrand, 1925.

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met the figure of Lucia.64 The popularity of the modern feast, now considered a piece of national heritage, has attracted different traditions, flattening differences, and historical and cultural backgrounds. Ancient rural and local traditions are told and described as if they were St Lucia celebrations, with the kind of her personification we are now used to seeing. Anyway, despite the fluidity of the framework, we have some precise events helping us date modern Lucia. In 1891, Artur Hazelius, a scholar worried by the process of modernization and urbanization of Sweden and the rapid social and cultural changes it entailed, inaugurated a very innovative institution in Stockholm: the open-air museum of Skansen, designed to conserve the memory of rural Sweden before its disappearance.65 In this park – destined to become the most visited open-air museum in the world – Hazelius transferred or rebuilt ancient rural buildings from all over Sweden. Together with this material heritage, Hazelius decided to show the immaterial heritage, offering visitors the possibility to see the everyday life in the countryside with its work, feasts, dances, and traditions. This approach reflected the prominent role of the rural elements in national romantic movements.66 As often happens, the past and the rural tended to overlap. Hazelius can be considered one of the inventors of living history as a means of promoting education and identity. By selecting and crystallizing history and traditions, he created heritage and can be considered one of the inventors of modern Swedish heritage.67 We must not forget that this was a lively period of ‘invention of traditions’,68 in which the national states created, enhanced, and corroborated their often brand-new national identities using history and museums. Hazelius was one of the main actors of the pan-Scandinavian movement. In Skansen he intended to memorialize Nordic culture; only after his death was there a process of nationalization of his intents and his museums.69

64 Tajani, 2005. 65 Böök, 1923; Rentzhog, 2007; Bäckström, 2011. 66 Aronsson, 2013. 67 With a touch of self-pride, the website of Skansen stresses that in 1893 Hazelius began to commemorate the day of the crowning of Gustav Vasa (6 June 1523) – who established Swedish independence from Denmark – with a ceremonial flag-filled celebration at the end of the first spring festival in its park. The 6 June later became the Swedish Flag Day and in 1983 the Swedish National Day ( 68 Hobsbawm, 1983. 69 Hillström, 2013.


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Yet Hazelius was also an entrepreneur in search of economic success. This kind of playful living history was also intended to create a leisure and tourist space where visitors could enjoy history, and would pay a ticket to do so. History and heritage were used, in a very modern perspective, as themes to sell experiences. In 1897 the capital of Sweden hosted a world art and industry fair, known as the Stockholm Exposition. He understood that this was an extraordinary opportunity to launch his open-air-museum (the Expo received 1,2 million visitors). Therefore, he created a funicular railway that acted as both a connection between the park and the Expo and a tourist attraction. In such a framework, he introduced the feast of St Lucia inside his park. The celebration was conceived as a sort of historical re-enactment, where, on Lucia Day, a girl in a white dress and with a crown of burning candles performed the domestic celebration of Lucia. The first mention of this ‘attraction’ dates back to 1893 and the first photo to 1899. The crowned Lucia was already a piece of heritage and a folkloric event worthy of being revived (or reinvented) inside the park. According to Resare (n.d.), nobody in Stockholm knew anything about Lucia then. Anyway, this event created heritage and contributed to crystallizing the celebration by offering a visual standard to be imitated and reproduced. Aronsson (2013), with reference to the presence of Catholic items in early collections of some Nordic museums, observed that musealizing Catholic culture in a Protestant milieu was aimed at ‘neutralizing traces of a heretical cult by putting it at a safe distance and revering it as part of a continuous history that moves from pagan superstition to Catholicism to the pure Protestant faith’. In this perspective, we can read the introduction of St Lucia inside the Skansen system as a musealization of traditional beliefs that seemed to have a slight and perhaps dangerous connection to the Roman Catholic Church. Their insertion in the rural world of Skansen helped to neutralize the Catholic aspects of Lucia by putting them in a larger context that included old pre-Christian and local rural beliefs. Lucia became a piece of the national cultural history. In 1917, Selma Lagerlöf, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature (1909), published the tale Luciadagens Legend (The Legend of Lucia Day). Thus Lucia, independent from her ‘real’ origins, entered the world of Swedish heritage. The subsequent step dates back to 1927, when an influential newspaper, the Stockholms Dagblad, introduced an annual competition to elect a girl to play the part of Lucia: the rural and domestic feast became a national media event. The elected Lucia had to visit hospitals and distribute gifts to the sick and the poor. Solidarity, social cohesion, and welfare were beginning to define a new strong national identity beyond old-style nationalisms. Lucia assumed a modern function but, once again, like the Sicilian Lucia, her function remained connected with the processes of construction of social and political

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space and identity. Of course, we must not overvalue the Swedish Lucia as a champion of modernity; yet the national competition supported by a newspaper (and later on by a television channel) helped to define a modern framework, with new stakeholders, beyond the Church and the State. This national Lucia is crowned at the beginning of December in the Skansen open-air museum during a lively Disney-style ceremony involving horse carriages. Over the years the event has changed: Nobel Prizes have been involved in crowning Lucia and even the (really crowned) Royal family attends the celebration. In other words, the event displays all the symbols of Sweden and its national and tourist identity (nowadays, Skansen, with its 1.3 million visitors a year, represents one of the main tourist and leisure attractions in the Swedish capital). In Skansen, heritagization has now completely metabolized the feast, which, as mentioned, was introduced into the park just as a piece of local traditions and an attraction. Besides the main crowning event, there are several Lucia celebrations in the wooden buildings of the park. For instance, as a travel guide70 explains, tourists can attend a Lucia event ‘as in the ’20s’ (‘the children’s choir performs a traditional celebration with procession and singing’) or ‘as in the ’50s’ (‘this celebration depicts a group at work entertaining their colleagues’). The feast of Lucia has become a very popular event, celebrated in almost every home. Early in the morning, the eldest daughter, portraying Lucia by wearing a long white robe with a red belt (symbolizing martyrdom) and carrying a crown with lit candles on her head, wakes her family up with a typical ‘Lucia song’ and offers them ginger snap biscuits and saffron buns. In the same way, every community, from schools to offices, celebrates the feast, electing its own Lucia or organizing concerts and events. The Lucia feast is also celebrated in the Swedish communities abroad, mainly in the US, where it has become an effective identity means to educate children in Swedish traditions and, at the same time, proudly present Swedish heritage to the citizens of the hosting countries.71 The Lucia celebrations are quite important in the whole Scandinavian area and in Finland, which was once part of Sweden.72 In Helsinki, ‘the procession 70 Swedentips 2015. 71 Kujala, 1996. 72 Lönnqvist, 1969-1970. Finland was part of Sweden from around 1150 until 1809 (when it became an autonomous part of the Russian Empire until its independence in 1917). Lucia can be interpreted as a peculiar element of the identity of the Swedish community in Finland. Many Scandinavianists regarded Finland as part of the Scandinavian community and Scandinavianism played a role in Finland (Hillström, 2013). Yet, alongside this ‘pan-nationalism’, there was also


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of the newly crowned Lucia from the Lutheran cathedral – complete with horse-drawn carriage, elves, and Santa Claus – is a spectacle for everyone’, and an important element enhancing the tourist identity of the capital as a ‘Christmas city’.73 In the same way, the beautiful (and beautified) small town of Porvoo exploits the crowning of Lucia in its Old Town Hall to present itself as a ‘magical Christmas town’. In tourist advertisements, photos of cute little girls, with their crowns of lit candles, fabricate an intimate family atmosphere. Lucia acts as an effective tool of territorial marketing, consistent with gentrification processes and tourist policies. Once again, as Hazelius understood, traditions can be used to shape a tourist space. Nowadays, Lucia has even entered Swedish ‘soft diplomacy’: in 2015, the Consulate General of Sweden in Shanghai, together with Ikea, organized a ‘Swedish-Chinese Lucia procession’ at the Christmas Fair in the Shanghai Centre. There is also a religious dimension to Lucia, with feasts celebrated in churches and cathedrals. The website of the Swedish tourist agency explains that ‘today also a boy or a man can be crowned St Lucia, as well people of other ethnic origin’.74 Once again Sweden proves to be a country attentive to gender and ethnic issues, and Lucia (after lively public debates) shows its ductility as a collective identity tool to build and renovate the principles and the practices of the community.75 The feast is now a mature tourist a nationalism aimed at def ining an autonomous Finnish identity. The present celebrations, which in some Finnish cities are a main public and urban event, reproduce the image the feast assumed in Sweden much later than in 1809, that is, after its introduction in Skansen and its subsequent media reinvention. The first evidence of this celebration in Finland dates to 1898, a few years after its introduction in Skansen, and the f irst public event to 1930, three years after the invention of the national competition by the Stockholm Dagblat. Finland (or, rather, its Swedish-speaking elite) seems to have tried to follow coeval Swedish cultural trends, owing to a pan-Scandinavian feeling or nostalgia of Sweden. Anyway, in the present celebrations, we could trace both a kind of cultural nostalgia of a faraway (and probably less conflictive) Swedish past and a sophisticated tool of urban and tourist marketing based on the theming of this nostalgia. However, in the Protestant Finland, Lucia is the only saint celebrated regularly and with enthusiasm (Wolf-Knuts, 2007). 73 Visit Finland 2017. 74 Visit Sweden 2017. 75 In 2016 a Swedish department store chain, Åhléns published an online advertisement featuring a dark-skinned boy dressed as Lucia, but it was obliged to remove it after receiving many negative comments on the social media. The company defended its choice by explaining that their ‘fine Lucia’ picture stood ‘for every child’s right to be and express themselves exactly how they want to’. They also thanked the many who supported their advertisement for sharing ‘the same values about an open and inclusive society’ (The Local 2016). Something similar happened in France in 2018, when a teenage girl of African and Polish origin was chosen to

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event, deeply embedded in place-branding practices, which contribute to defining the tourist image of Stockholm and Sweden and is deliberately used by many institutions with this purpose.

Between Sweden and Italy. A gendered dimension Let us come back to Italy. The Swedish Lucia, at least in its present spectacular, tourist, and media form, is a modern invention. There are, obviously, many relationships with the Italian Lucia: the religious origin of the Italian feast is always mentioned in Swedish celebrations as well as in tourist websites and brochures. Italy is deeply present in the Swedish feast. The so-called ‘Lucia song’ is based on the music of a famous Neapolitan song, Santa Lucia (or Sul mare luccica), by Teodoro Cottrau, which was composed in 1849. Yet this song did not celebrate the saint but a picturesque fishing borough in Naples, which takes its name from the historical sanctuary of Santa Lucia by the sea. Here we can probably find a souvenir of the Grand Tour, which recalls the fundamental relationships, due to tourism, between Italy and northern Europe.76 There is, however, another, and quite surprising, tie between Sweden and Italy, which specifically concerns St Lucia. In 1970, the municipal tourist office of Syracuse promoted a sort of twinning with Stockholm by introducing the ‘Lucia of Sweden’ into the local celebrations for the patroness of the city. Since then, every year, the Swedish Lucia, together with two maids of honour and a delegation, is invited to Syracuse for a week to take part in the feast. The oddity of this encounter is sometimes perceived. For instance, in 2009, the regional councillor for tourism underlined ‘the very significant meaning’ of this fact, which ‘symbolically connects the sacredness of the (Sicilian religious) feast to the Nordic, pagan, Viking, and Scandinavian traditions’ and establishes ‘a kind of brotherhood between Stockholm and Sicily, which are now indissolubly tied by an exchange of beauty and culture’.77 play Joan of Arc at the city of Orleans in annual celebration of the saint, regarded as a symbol of French national identity (The Telegraph 2018). 76 In such a context we can also remind the important role played by a Swedish writer and socialite, Axel Munthe, who can be regarded as one of last Grand Tourists. Charmed by the Gulf of Naples, he retired on Capri, where he built his famous Villa San Michele, described in his worldwide bestseller, The Story of San Michele (London: John Murray, 1929). 77 Adnkronos, 2009. This tradition was suspended only recently, in a period of severe financial crisis, owing to the costs entailed by the trips of the Swedish party. The ‘bridge to Sweden’ (Urso,


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The idea of the organizers was to create an event capable of spreading interest in Syracuse among the citizens of the northern countries, and possibly to induce them to visit the town. During their week in Sicily, Lucia and her two damsels (three pretty and usually blonde girls, at least in the first decades of the agreement) were expected to have a photo session in bathing suits on the fine beaches near Syracuse. These photos had to show the beauty and warmth of Sicily even in winter time to the Swedes but they also showed the beauty and charm of the Swedish girls to the Italians. Here we encounter a delicate and controversial issue: the Italian male culture. In Italy the female body is still largely object of ‘male gaze’ and sexual lust. Through the years this has contributed to defining a ‘primitivistic’ image of Italy (and especially of its southern regions) as a place still embedded in an old patriarchal culture, insensitive to (and disrespectful of) the female identity. Unfortunately, this is not only old folklore or an obsolete cultural dimension. Even some Italian politicians have recently confirmed with their behaviour that this sexualized image of the female body is still largely present. This attitude has also affected the presence of the Swedish Lucia in Syracuse. Let us recall that the Swedish girls were long a myth in Italian popular imagery, owing to their supposed sexual freedom in contrast to the equally supposed traditional behaviour of the girls from Italy and other Catholic countries. The blondness of the northern girls, opposed to the darkness of the Italian ones, acted as a kind of visual marker of this fantastic diversity. Tourism played an important role in the construction of this stereotype. In fact, we can trace its origin in the Grand Tour experience: northern men and women visited Italy in search of culture, sun, leisure, sex or, at least, a temporary and romantic diversion. Italian males, refusing to accept the idea of their sexual exploitation by northern women, interpreted their behaviour as a tribute to their supposed sexual excellence. In the same way, the homosexual exploitation of the Italian young men by male Grand Tourists was long ignored or negated. This misrepresentation offered a tool to read the mass tourism of the 1960s and 1970s disregarding its real social and cultural context. Once again, the freedom of the northern female visitors, then usually more cultured and emancipated than the Italian women, was read as proof of their fatal attraction for the Latin males. Italian films clearly show the construction 2017), however, was reopened in 2017. On 12 December, during the religious event opening Lucia’s celebrations, the cathedral of Syracuse hosted a concert of the Nordiska Musikgymnasiet of Stockholm with its young crowned Lucia. This event was attended by the bishop, the mayor, and the Swedish ambassador.

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of this myth.78 After the introduction of the Interrail pass in 1972, Sweden also became a favoured (or, rather, dreamed of) tourist destination for many Italian young men. The women’s social conquests in modern Scandinavian countries contributed to this image. According to it, as we can read in a 1962 Italian book, Swedish woman, ‘more demon than angel, more despotic than submissive’, is ‘beautiful, free, and without prejudices’. In fact ‘for many months she is surrounded by snow and ice, but in spring everything changes’ because ‘nature awakens in the girls the desire to live and to love, and make them enthusiastic about their being women and their destiny as women’.79 This kind of view is still quite present in Italian pop culture. For instance, a supposed medicine blog affirms that ‘Scandinavian women do not regard sex as a taboo and, therefore, are much more sexually free than the women of the rest of Europe (including Italy); they have probably more ease in relating to men and in concluding hot meetings with tourists (or not) in a short term’. ‘The great sexual satisfaction that can be derived from a relationship with a Scandinavian woman could be determined, more than by specific performances, by the novelty, for a Latin man, of finding himself under the covers together with a woman with all the canons of beauty always desired’. ‘It is impossible not to want them: tall, thin, blonde, with light eyes and velvety skin’.80 We have to recall that in the 1970s (when Syracuse defined its agreement with Stockholm) Sicily was still largely embedded in a traditional patriarchal culture, which has not yet been completely overcome. In such a context, the presence of beautiful Swedish girls at the feast in Syracuse assumed a gendered and sexual meaning going far beyond mere tourist marketing. This agreement introduced three living female bodies into a crystallized traditional system. Therefore, it allows us to discern the embodiment of a sexual dimension in the local festive system. 78 Among many possible examples, I mention two internationally celebrated films. In Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life), winner of the Golden Palm at the 1960 Cannes film festival, a shapely Swedish actress, Anita Ekberg, takes a night-time bath in the Trevi Fountain in Rome with an Italian Latin lover, played by Marcello Mastroianni. In another film of that period, Gian Luigi Polidoro’s Il Diavolo (The Devil, also known as To Bed or Not to Bed), winner of the Golden Bear at the 1963 Berlin film festival, another well-known Italian actor, Alberto Sordi, played an Italian merchant who goes to Stockholm for business reasons. The film depicts the clash between what he f inds and his fantasies, nourished by what he has read about the Swedish girls in an Italian travel brochure: ‘They will not ask you silly questions: who and how old you are, if you are married, if you have children … One of them will lead you in her bedroom, light two little candles and look into your eyes without speaking … And her intense and mysterious look will make you understand that you have never been happy before’. 79 Lara, 2016. 80 Salute Medicina, 2015.


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The above-mentioned photo session on the beach, which usually completed the girls’ tour, clearly shows the centrality of the bodies in the implementation of this agreement. From an anthropological point of view, we can also observe that the peculiar liminal dimension of the beach (already evident in the ancient Greek and Roman cultures) adds a further value: through the photos, the Swedish girls, expressions of a country perceived as a faraway mythic world, appear in a special space that is perceived as a symbolic point of contact between worlds and, on another level, is usually associated with leisure. We see that photos fix the Siren dimension of these girls, ready to lure male admirers and drag them into their magic world. Yet there is something even more striking and more interesting. The Swedish Lucia and her damsels must also take part in the religious procession, when, a week after St Lucia Day, her silver statue comes back from the church on the mainland to the cathedral on the island. The participation of the Swedish girls in the ceremony is perceived as an established aspect of the feast. During my field work in Syracuse, I tried to ascertain the impressions of the other participants about this alien secular presence in the local religious feast. Almost all of them considered it ‘a piece of tradition’ stating that it was something that ‘has always existed’. Even old people, who took part in the ceremony way before the agreement with Stockholm, maintained that ‘this tradition was already alive during their childhood’ and ‘they liked it already then’, when, actually, it did not exist. Anyhow, a Catholic religious procession, aimed at enhancing local identity and faith and reaffirming the special relationship between the community and its patron saint, pays special attention to three pretty Swedish girls, selected through a kind of beauty context, representing a faraway tradition embedded in Nordic folklore, modern processes of construction of national identity, and more recently, media, magazine, and TV culture. What is happening? At the first level, it is evident that the Sweden Lucia embodies the local Lucia. It is a sort of living history activity that gives life to the saint and, from this point of view, contributes to enhancing the relationship of the community with its protectress. Other Italian patron feasts entail similar re-enactments. For instance, in Viterbo, on St Rosa day, a little girl is chosen to embody the saint during the procession: the girl becomes the saint and the saint becomes the girl (the human actor has the same function as the statue: both are ‘doubles’ of the deity). At the second level, we can find a value connected with the idea of remoteness. The Swedish girl, owing to her geographic and cultural distance, marks the special value of the saint, who, even if tied to the city, is clearly embedded in a distant world and draws her power exactly thanks to this

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distance. Her Swedishness builds marginality and otherness. Also the candles on the crown have their value: they help the community visualize the intimate relationship between Lucia and light. Yet there is another element, consistent with the previous ones: the beauty of the Swedish girls and, together with it, their blondness and their youth. This plays a central role in the whole experience and gives visibility to the core meaning of the cult: its relationship with beauty and youth as well as with human and agricultural fertility. It is evident that, in a Catholic system, these are delicate and controversial elements, but the local religious system was able to find them in an alien cultural system and to borrow them to enhance and complete its own system. At the same time, beauty, youth, and blondness help to enhance another delicate relationship: the one with Demeter and Kore. The stereotypical image of the Swedish girl stunningly meets that of the ancient statue of Kore, with her long blonde hair, found in Syracuse. Furthermore, the sexual imagery, more or less clearly associated with Sweden, strengthens the relationship with the sexual aspect of the ancient cult. According to Athenaeus,81 in Syracuse during the Thesmophoria – the female festivities in honour of Demeter and Kore, which were closely connected with agricultural and human fertility82 – women carried around models of female genitals made of honey, sesame, and flour. In the fifth century, an influential theologian, Theodoret of Cyrus recalled that ‘in that festival also the women who were initiated paid divine honours to the female pudenda’.83 As we have shown above, St Lucia, over the centuries, has acquired the main elements of the ancient cult of Demeter and Kore. This was a long and slow process. Far from being a continuous and diachronic change, connecting the Greek Roman culture to the Roman Christian one, and then the Roman Christian culture to the Medieval and modern one, it was a more complex process during which the modern cult and feast of Lucia, as defined in the Baroque age, discovered, one by one, some of the previous elements that defined the cult of Demeter and Kore. The main transcultural and transtemporal element was the strong relationship between deep human needs and fears and the way the deities were imagined to meet them. The ancient cult of Demeter and Kore, in Syracuse and all of Sicily, evolved and changed during the centuries in order to meet new needs and fears, also at last playing a major political and identity role. Also the new cult of Lucia 81 Ath. Deipn. XVI, 647a. 82 Lévêque and Séchan, 1990; Buttitta, 2013. 83 Theod. Graec. Aff. Cur. III.


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– created by the local Christian community to define its new autonomous identity but using the same symbolic language and satisfying the same basic needs as the cultural system from which it tried to differentiate – took ages to reach equilibrium and to act as a perfect religious system. A central phase of this process dates to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when a series of important miracles took place, which recall some special actions attributed to Demeter and Kore. Miracle after miracle, Lucia became a sort of goddess of wheat who defends her community from famine; a tutelary deity who protects the town and its citizens from war and violence; and a goddess of light and sight who illuminates the darkness and gives sight to the blind. The sexual dimension was the only element not yet metabolized. Through the Swedish Lucia and her beautiful damsels, this dimension has also entered the system, contributing to its stability and effectiveness. Lucia has become Kore and Kore has finally found the way to come back to Syracuse.

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Basilica Santa Lucia, Commemorazione del Miracolo del 1735 [brochure] (2012). Retrieved (24 February 2018) from Programma%20Santa%20Lucia.pdf Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000). Cinzia Bearzot, ‘La Sicilia “isola sacra a Demetra e a Core” (Diod. Sic. 16.66.4-5)’, Aristonothos. Scritti per il Mediterraneo antico, 2 (2008), 141-151. Walter Benjamin, Schriften (Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 1955). Carl-Martin Bergstrand, ‘Lucia i Västergötland’, Folkminnen och folktankar, 12 (Göteborg: Vastsvenska folkminnesföreningen, 1925). Bruno Bertoli, ‘Il corpo di Santa Lucia a Venezia’, in Euplo e Lucia. 304-2004 [Quaderni di Synaxis, 18], ed. by Teresa Sardella and Gaetano Zito (Firenze and Milano: Giunti, 2006), pp. 365-389. Fredrik Böök, Artur Hazelius: en levnadsteckning (Stockholm: Norstedt, 1923). Jan Bremmer, ‘Felicitas: The Martyrdom of a Young African Woman’, in Perpetua’s Passions: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis, ed. by Jan N. Bremmer and Marco Formisano (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). Jan Bremmer and Marco Formisano, eds., Perpetua’s Passions: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). Walter Burkert, La religione greca (Milano: Jaca Book, 2003). Antonino Buttitta, ‘La festa dei morti in Sicilia’, in Ideologie e folklore (Palermo: Flaccovio, 1971), pp. 49-62. Antonino Buttitta, ‘Ritorno dei morti e rifondazione della vita’, introduction to Claude Lévi-Strauss, Babbo Natale giustiziato (Palermo: Sellerio, 1995). Ignazio Buttitta, I morti e il grano. Tempi del lavoro e ritmi della festa (Roma: Meltemi, 2006). Ignazio Buttitta, Continuità delle forme e mutamento dei sensi. Ricerche e analisi sul simbolismo festivo (Palermo: Bonanno, 2013). Eva Cantarella, Passato prossimo: donne romane da Tacita a Sulpicia (Milano: Feltrinelli, 1996). Ileana Chirassi Colombo, Elementi di culture precereali nei miti e riti greci [Incunabula Graeca, 30] (Roma: Edizioni dell’Ateneo, 1968). Emanuele Ciaceri, Culti e miti nella storia dell’antica Sicilia (Palermo: Brancato, 1911). Concetta Ciurcina, ed., L’occhio e la luce. Omaggio a Lucia (Siracusa: Lombardi, 2005). Stephanie Cobb, Dying to Be Men: Gender and Language in Early Christian Martyr Texts. Gender, Theory, and Religion (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008). Susan Cole, ‘Demeter in the Ancient Greek City and its Countryside’, Oxford Readings in Greek Religion, ed. by Richard Buxton (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 2000), pp. 133-154.


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Ernesto de Martino, Morte e pianto rituale. Dal lamento funebre antico al pianto di Maria (Torino: Einaudi, 1958). Ernesto de Martino, Sud e Magia (Milano: Feltrinelli, 1959). Deputazione della Cappella di Santa Lucia, ‘Il prodigioso sudore del maggio 1735: vero, reale e miracoloso’, Con Lucia a Cristo, 22, 1 (2003), 4-8. François de Polignac, La naissance de la cité grecque, Cultes, espace et société. VIIIe-VIIe siècles avant J.-C. (Paris: La Découverte, 1984). Maria Adele Di Leo, Feste popolari di Sicilia (Roma: Newton and Compton, 1997). Carmela Angela Di Stefano, ed., Demetra. La divinità, I santuari, il culto, la leggenda [Biblioteca di Sicilia Antiqua, 2] (Pisa: Serra, 2008). Suzanne Dixon, Reading Roman Women. Sources, Genres, and Real Life (London: Duckworth, 2001). James Frazer, The Golden Bough (London: Macmillan, 1890, 2 vols; 3 rd enlarged ed. 1906-1915, 12 vols). Pasquale Fuiani, Santa Lucia. Profili della vita e del culto della vergine e martire siracusana (Siracusa and Trieste: Emanuele Romeo, 1994). Hans Hellström, Sankta Lucia (Stockholm: Veritas Förlag, 2012). Magdalena Hillström, ‘Sweden versus Norden in the Nordiska Museet’ in Performing Nordic Heritage. Everyday Practices and Institutional Culture, ed. by Peter Aronsson and Lizette Gradén (Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 247-270. Valentina Hinz, Der Kult von Demeter und Kore auf Sizilien und in der Magna Graecia, (Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert, 1998). Eric Hobsbawm, ‘Introduction: Inventing Traditions’, in The Invention of Tradition, ed. by Eric J. Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 1-14. Karl Kerényi, Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967). Anja Kujala, Luciafester bland svensk-amerikaner I New York så som de framställs i tidningen Nordstjernan på 1920-, 1950- och 1980-talen, (Stockholm: Institutet för folklivsforskning, Stockholms Universitet: 1996). Lara, ‘Il mito della svedese: trattazione semiseria di uno stereotipo duro a morire’, Pink Thinkingblog (25 February 2016). Retrieved (24 February 2018) from http:// John Lawson, Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion: A Study in Survival (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910). Pierre Lévêque and Louis Séchan, Les grandes divinités de la Grèce (Paris: Armand Colin, 1990). Enzo Lippolis, Mysteria. Archeologia e culto del santuario di Demetra a Eleusi (Milano: Bruno Mondadori, 2006).

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Luigi Lombardi Satriani, Il folklore come cultura di contestazione (Messina: Peloritana, 1966). Luigi Lombardi Satriani, Antropologia culturale e analisi della cultura subalterna (Messina: Peloritana, 1968). Luigi Lombardi Satriani, Folklore e profitto. Tecniche di distruzione di una cultura (Firenze: Guaraldi, 1973). Luigi Lombardo, L’occhio della siracusana, analisi di un simbolo, in Le Paladine della fede. Vergini e Martiri siciliane nella tradizione e nell’arte [catalogue] (Siracusa: Provincia di Siracusa, 2000), pp. 25-39. Bo Lönnqvist, ‘Lucia i Finland, Innovation och etnocentricitet’, in Folk-liv: Acta Ethnologica Europaea: svensk årsbok för europeisk folklivsforskning (1969-1970), pp. 35-53. Pasquale Magnano, Lucia di Siracusa (Siracusa: Archivio Storico della Curia Arcivescovile, 2004). Marxiano Melotti, ‘Tra mito e realtà: Halloween, i bimbi e il terremoto di S. Giuliano’, La Critica Sociologica, 142 (2002), 112-115. Marxiano Melotti, ‘Il mito di Fineo. Immagini di marginalità in Tracia tra regalità e divinazione’ in I Traci tra l’Egeo e il Mar Nero, ed. by Paola Schirripa (Milano: Cuem, 2004), pp. 85-111. Marxiano Melotti, ‘Crossing worlds: space, myths, and passage rites in ancient Greek culture’, in Hoping for Continuity. Childhood, Education and Death in Antiquity and the Middle Ages [Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae, 33], edited by Katariina Mustakallio, Jussi Hanska, Hanna-Leena Sainio and Ville Vuolanto (Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, Roma, 2005a), pp. 203-214. Marxiano Melotti, ‘Lo sguardo di Orfeo: l’amore, il viaggio, la morte’, in Orfeo e le sue metamorfosi. Mito, arte, poesia, ed. by Giulio Guidorizzi and Marxiano Melotti (Roma: Carocci, 2005b), pp. 86-99. Marxiano Melotti, ‘Il Paese della bellezza. Patrimonio culturale, maschere linguistiche e retorica politica’, in Maschera e linguaggi, ed. by Paolo Sisto and Piero Totaro (Bari: Progedit, 2016a), pp. 281-312. Marxiano Melotti, ‘The Carnival of Fears: The 2016 Violence in Cologne’, in Embodiment and Cultural Differences, ed. by Bianca Maria Pirani and Thomas Spence Smith (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016b), pp. 132-146. Marxiano Melotti, ‘Florence. Tourism, Heritage, and Consumption’, in Tourist Experiences, ed. by Metin Kozak (Berlin: Springer, 2017). Marxiano Melotti, Sirene (Milano: Corriere della Sera, 2018). Vincenza Milazzo and Francesca Rizzo Nervo, ‘Lucia tra Sicilia, Roma e Bisanzio: itinerario di un culto (IV-IX secolo)’, in Storia della Sicilia e tradizione agiografica nella tarda antichità, ed. by Salvatore Pricoco (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 1988), pp. 95-135.


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Axel Munthe, The Story of San Michele (London: John Murray, 1929). Giovanni Musolino, Santa Lucia a Venezia (Venezia: Custodia di S. Lucia, 1987). Katariina Mustakallio, Sive deus sive dea. La presenza della religione nello sviluppo della società romana (Pisa: ETS, 2013). Piero Orlandini, ‘Diffusione del culto di Demetra e Kore in Sicilia’, Kokalos, 14-15 (1968-1969), 334-338. Stefano Paladino, Il Tamburo. Giornale di Stefano Paladino [manifesto] (December, 2009). Giuseppe Palmieri, Il culto di S. Lucia nel mondo. Storie e tradizioni di S. Lucia vergine e martire siracusana (Siracusa: Franca Maria Gianni, 2001). Todd Penner and Caroline Vander Stichele, ed., Mapping Gender in Ancient Religious Discourses (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007). Giuseppe Pitrè, Feste patronali nella Sicilia Orientale. Un viaggio nel folklore siciliano (Palermo: Clausen, 1900; new ed. Palermo: Brancato 2001). Luigi Polacco, ‘I culti di Demetra e Kore a Siracusa’, Numismatica e Antichità Classiche, 15 (1986), 21-37. Sten Rentzhog, Open Air Museums: The History and Future of a Visionary Idea (Stockholm and Österlund: Carlsson/Jamtli, 2007). Ann Resare, The Swedish Lucia and her Dress (n.d.). Retrieved (24 February 2018) from pdf/Resare_ed_JP.pdf Francesca Rizzo Nervo, ‘Lucia nelle altre vite di santi’, in Euplo e Lucia. 304-2004, ed. by Teresa Sardella and Gaetano Zito (Firenze and Milano: Giunti, 2006), pp. 329-342. Francesco Paolo Rizzo, ‘Il cristianesimo siciliano dei primi secoli. Ruolo primario delle Chiese di Siracusa e di Catania tra III e IV secolo’, in Euplo e Lucia. 304-2004, ed. by Teresa Sardella and Gaetano Zito (Firenze and Milano: Giunti, 2006), pp. 13-32. Giuseppe Rossi Taibbi, Martirio di Santa Lucia. Vita di Santa Marina [Vite dei Santi Siciliani, 2] (Palermo: Istituto Siciliano di Studi Bizantini e Neogreci, 1959). Salvatore Russo, Siracusa nell’età moderna. Dal viceregno asburgico alla monarchia borbonica (Siracusa: Lombardi, 2004). Salute Medicina, ‘Donne scandinave tra mito e realtà’, salutemedicina, blog (29 December 2015). Retrieved (24 February 2018) from http://salutemedicina. it/sessualita/donne-scandinave-tra-mito-e-realta-1989 Teresa Sardella, ‘Visioni oniriche e immagini di santità nel martirio di S. Lucia’, in Storia della Sicilia e tradizione agiografica nella tarda antichità, ed. by Salvatore Pricoco (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 1988), pp. 137-154. Johann Gottfried Seume, Spaziergang nach Syrakus im Jahre 1802 (Braunschweig und Leipzig: Hartknoch, 1803; repr. Frankfurt a. M.: Insel, 2002).

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Maria Sgarlata, ‘L’iscrizione di Euskia’, in Et lux fuit. Le catacombe e il sarcofago di Adelfia (Palermo and Siracusa: Arnaldo Lombardi, 1998), pp. 53-54. Amalia Signorelli, Ernesto De Martino. Teoria antropologica e metodologia della ricerca (Roma: L’Asino d’Oro, 2015). Maria Stelladoro, Lucia, la martire (Milano: Jaca Book, 2010). Swedentips, Lucia celebrations at Skansen (Stockholm, 2015).  ­R etrieved (24  February  2018) from​ -at-skansen-stockholm-2015/ Angelo Tajani, Siracusa e Stoccolma. Incontro nel nome di Lucia (Siracusa: Azienda Autonoma Turismo di Siracusa, 2005). The Local, Swedish festive ad pulled following racist abuse of child, 5 December 2016. Retrieved (24 February 2018) from swedish-festive-ad-pulled-following-racist-abuse-of-child The Telegraph, France’s first mixed-race Joan of Arc hit by torrent of racist abuse, 22 February 2018. Retrieved (24 February 2018) from news/2018/02/22/frances-first-mixed-race-joan-arc-hit-torrent-racist-abuse/ John Urry, The Tourist Gaze (London: Sage, 1990; rev. ed. 2002). Gaspare Urso, ‘Santa Lucia, a Siracusa si riapre il ponte con la Svezia’, Giornale di Sicilia (10 December 2017). Visit Finland, Helsinki – The Christmas City (2017). Retrieved (24 February 2018) from Visit Sweden, La festa di Santa Lucia in Svezia (2017). Retrieved (24 February 2018) from Aby Warburg, Gesammelte Schriften (Leipzig and Berlin: Teubner, 1932). Donald White, ‘Demeter’s Sicilian cult as a political instrument’, Greek Roman and Byzantine Studies, 5 (1964), 261-279. Craig Williams, ‘Perpetua’s Gender. A Latinist Reads the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis’, in Perpetua’s Passions: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis, ed. by Jan N. Bremmer and Marco Formisano (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). Ulrika Wolf-Knuts, ‘Saint Lucy, the queen of light: the legend and folklore of Saint Lucy’, Traditiones, 36, 1 (2007), 59-72. Carlo Zoppi, ‘Il culto di Demetra a Selinunte’, Sicilia Antiqua, 12, (2015), 25-43.

About the Author Dr Marxiano Melotti is Director of the Master programme in Museums and Cultural Heritage at the Niccolò Cusano University, Rome.

10 Varius, multiplex, multiformis* – Greek, Roman, Panhellenic Multiple Identities of the Hadrianic Era and Beyond Arja Karivieri

Abstract This paper will review how civic identity, ethnicity, and religious identity were debated and revalued during the Hadrianic era. The Panhellenic identity, promoted by Hadrian, was linked to a Hellenic identity and Greek history, but also to the mythic history of Rome. Emperor Hadrian promoted the development of multifaceted identities, being himself a representative of virtus and Romanitas, and a promoter of Greek paideia. The multiple identities of Hadrian, Empress Sabina, the emperor’s beloved Antinoos, and their contemporaries reflect this development in culture, society, and religion: identity, gender, and memory got multifaceted interpretations, becoming fluid and flexible. This development continued in Late Antiquity, when memories of the Greek and Roman past were revived and reused in new contexts. Keywords: Antinoos, construction of memories, Hadrian, identity, Sabina, Panhellenism

Introduction This paper will review the changes in Roman society during the Hadrianic era, when civic identity, ethnicity, and religious identity were debated and revalued. Christian and Jewish identities became topics of off icial debate, as well as the Panhellenic identity promoted by Hadrian, which * See Epit. de Caes. 14.6.

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch10

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was linked to a Hellenic identity but also to the mythic history of Rome and the connection between Athens and Rome.1 Emperor Hadrian promoted the development of multifaceted identities. Although Hadrian himself was a representative of virtus and Romanitas,2 he was also a promoter of Greek paideia, and he was even called Graeculus.3 The multiple identities of Hadrian, Empress Vibia Sabina, the emperor’s beloved Antinoos, and their contemporaries reflect this development in culture, society, and religion: how gender, memory, and identity got multifaceted interpretations, became fluid and flexible, and how they were reinterpreted in new and different social contexts. This development of the Hadrianic age continued in Late Antiquity, when the memories from the Greek and Roman past of the Late Roman Empire were revived and reused in new contexts, Christian holy men were compared with mythic heroes or statues representing pagan gods were included in the decoration of private villas of Christian families. Beate Dignas and Roland Smith celebrate in their volume Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World the work of Simon Price, and the inspiration for the papers presented in their volume are ‘memory layers’ or ‘networks of memories’, as Price called them, that are represented in various ways in the written and material remains. 4 Price distinguished four contexts where memories are constructed: first, objects and representations; second, places; third, ritual behaviour and associated myths; and fourth, textual narratives. According to Price, these four contexts involve what he calls ‘inscribed memory’ and performative ‘embodied memory’ (connected to rituals and behaviour). Price also wished to emphasize that the process of memory is tightly connected with the process of forgetting; one interesting example from the Roman period is the way how a memory of an emperor was erased from the official inscriptions, damnatio memoriae.5 This paper will illustrate examples of Price’s four contexts, and discuss the various ways historical and religious memories of the Greek past were used in the Hadrianic era and beyond. Already in the Augustan period, Dionysius of Halicarnassus was interested in the origin of the Romans and claimed that they indeed were of Greek 1 For comparison, see Rantala in this volume, which deals other, partly mystical, connection of great significance for Roman cultural identity – that is, the one between Rome and Carthage. 2 For Hadrian’s identification with Romulus, the founder of Rome, see Haley, 2005. 3 SHA Hadr. I.5. 4 Dignas and Smith, 2012, p. 1. 5 Price, 2012, pp. 15-16, 29.



descent.6 He identified ‘Greekness’ as using the Greek language, following Greek customs, and revering the same gods.7 Furthermore, Dionysius defined two modes of being Greek: being Greek ‘by descent’, as well as forgetting or remembering this ‘Greekness’. Thus, according to Dionysius, Romans had forgotten their Greekness, but could nevertheless be called Greeks. Emma Dench wishes especially to emphasize the conclusion that Dionysius draws about the ethnic identity of the earliest settlers of Rome: ‘For one will find no people that is more ancient or more Greek than these’.8 In Dionysius’ view, the admixtures of the barbarians with the inhabitants of Rome took place later.9 Thus, the Greekness of Romans was connected to the early history of the Roman people, when they indeed had been Greeks and revered the same gods as the Greeks.

Hadrian’s creation of the Panhellenic league and the Panhellenic identity The importance of Greece and Greek history for Romans was especially emphasized by Emperor Hadrian, who made Athens the second capital, the home of the Panhellenion for all the Hellenes. He saw himself as a new Pericles, creating thus a memory link to Classical Athens and adopting a new identity that connected his rule to the golden period of Greek history. He completed the Archaic temple of Olympian Zeus as the seat of the Panhellenion, creating thus a visual memory of the glorious past of the Greeks. In gratitude, the Greeks bestowed on Hadrian the title Olympios, the epithet previously given to Pericles. Hadrian was also given the nickname Graeculus, ‘Greekling’.10 Athens honoured Hadrian by adding the tribe ‘Hadrianis’ as a thirteenth tribe to the citizen body and by erecting numerous dedications to him.11 The establishment of the thirteenth tribe not only connected Hadrian directly to the history of Athens, but added also a new memory layer to the Hadrianic era, linking it directly to Cleisthenes and the creation of democracy.

6 Dench, 2005, p. 234. 7 Dion. Hal. 1. 89. 4. 8 Dion.Hal. 1. 89. 2; see also Dench, 2005, pp. 235, 259-260. 9 Dion.Hal. 1. 89.3. 10 SHA Hadr. 1.5: ’imbutusque impensius Graecis studiis, ingenio eius sic ad ea declinante ut a nonnullis Graeculus’; Epit. de Caes. 14.2; Birley, 1997, p. 2; Boatwright, 2000, p. 14 and p. 144. 11 Boatwright, 2000, pp. 144-145.

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Another question is whether Hadrian’s completion and rededication of the complex of the Temple of Olympian Zeus near Ilissos in 131/132 ce also marked the formal beginning of the Panhellenic league. The f irst Panhellenic games were held in 137 ce.12 In the Temple of Zeus Olympios, Hadrian was assimilated with the god, and four large statues of Hadrian stood before the temple entrance. Many statues of Hadrian inside the temenos were dedicated by the cities of the Panhellenion.13 The rededication of the Olympieion and the foundation of the Panhellenic league with its centre in Athens created a signif icant link between the Athenian past, the common history of the Greek cities of the Roman Empire, and Emperor Hadrian.14 The Panhellenic league had at least twenty-eight Greek cities as members, and the delegates of the league were elected following the rules Hadrian had established. However, the majority of them were not Roman citizens.15 Accordingly, it seems to have been more important for the delegates to have been a notable in their own city in order to become eligible for the league, and to become representatives of their city, to be sent to the meetings of the Panhellenion at Athens. According to Spawforth and Walker, Emperor Hadrian selected the members of the Panhellenion together with the archon (the senior executive of the league) and Panhellenes. The criteria for admission included the city’s Greek ancestry, relations with Rome, and the benefactions and connections the city had with Emperor Hadrian,16 thus emphasizing the tendency to claim a glorious Greek past for a city, close connections with Rome and the emperor, in order to enable a city to apply for a membership in the prestigious Panhellenic league. The members had to prove both their Greekness of culture, as well as of race.17 Thus, the cities had either to be located in the mainland of Greece or to prove their existence as overseas colonies with Greek ancestry. One inscription from Thyateira suggests further that the membership was divided into groups of cities (poleis) or peoples (ethnê).18

12 Spawforth and Walker, 1985, p. 79; Calandra, 1996, p. 87; Jones, 1996, p. 33; Boatwright, 2000, p. 150. Calandra connects the inauguration of the temple to the launching of the Panhellenia (p. 87). 13 Paus. 1.18.6; Boatwright, 2000, p. 153. 14 See Karivieri, 1994, pp. 91-92; Boatwright, 2000, pp. 147-149. 15 Spawforth and Walker, 1985, pp. 79-81, table I and fig. 1; pp. 85-89; Boatwright, 2000, p. 149. 16 Oliver, 1970, nos. 5 and 6; Spawforth and Walker, 1985, p. 82; Boatwright, 2000, pp. 149-150. 17 Spawforth and Walker, 1985, p. 82; Kritsotakis, 2008, pp. 45-46. See also Romeo 2002. 18 Oliver, 1970, p. 189, 2. ll.8-10; Romeo, 2002, p. 22; Kritsotakis, 2008, p. 45.



The list of office-holders19 reveals interesting differences among the Panhellenes: some belonged to the group of notables in their cities, while others were not even Roman citizens, but were peregrini.20 This remarkable fact concerns especially the four known Panhellenes of Sparta, who seem to have occupied a lower place in local society. Furthermore, some notables of the Panhellenion were granted citizenship in Athens and were active in the city.21 Service in the Panhellenic league could thus provide a way to a more prestigious position in society. The foundation of the Panhellenion also brought foreign notables to Athens and increased their contacts with Greece. The Panhellenic league was also involved in the cult of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis, and in Athens it administered the cult of Hadrian Panhellenios, where Hadrian was honoured in the Panhellenion along with Zeus Panhellenios and Hera Panhellenia. The new cult of Hadrian Panhellenios legitimized Hadrian’s role in the east as the divine ruler of all the Greeks. The archons of the Panhellenion served as priests of Hadrian Panhellenios and/ or agonothetes of the Panhellenic games.22 One notable from Phrygia, Tib. Claudius Attalus Andragathus, became an Athenian citizen, an Athenian priest in the cult of Dionysus, as well as a priest of Zeus Eleutherius and the Concord of the Greeks at Plataea.23 The connection between Attalus’ home city of Synnada and Athens was further emphasized by the dedication of a statue to Attalus’ nephew in Synnada, financed by the Athenian demos,24 emphasizing the importance of a career in the Panhellenic league for the cities and families that were involved in the Panhellenion. One of the cities admitted as a member to the Panhellenion was Cyrene, a city that dedicated a large statue of Hadrian in Greek dress to his honour, 25 marking the Greek connection of the city with ‘Graeculus’. In second-century documents, Hadrian referred to Cyrene’s Spartan connection and noble history. 26 In the same way, for non-Greek cities of Asia a membership of the Panhellenion provided official legitimacy to local claims to Greek ancestry.27 19 Spawforth and Walker, 1985, pp. 84-86, table 2. 20 Spawforth and Walker, 1985, pp. 88-89; Kritsotakis, 2008, pp. 82-83. 21 Spawforth and Walker, 1985, p. 91. 22 Spawforth and Walker, 1985, pp. 82, 84-86; Boatwright, 2000, p. 150. 23 Geagan, 1972, pp. 133-155; Spawforth and Walker, 1985, pp. 91-92; Spawforth and Walker, 1986, pp. 89-90. 24 Spawforth and Walker, 1985, p. 92. 25 Spawforth and Walker, 1985, pp. 96-97; Spawforth and Walker, 1986, pp. 96-97; Boatwright, 2000, pp. 182-183, fig. 14. 26 Spawforth and Walker, 1986, pp. 96-100. 27 Spawforth and Walker, 1986, p. 104.

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The bicultural identity: Maud W. Gleason’s new definition of Greeks in the Roman period One specific aspect concerns the new identity of Greeks as part of the Roman Empire, their identity as inhabitants of the Roman Empire, their Roman identity. They may be said to have had a bicultural identity, an expression used by Maud W. Gleason in her study Making Space for Bicultural Identity: Herodes Atticus commemorates Regilla. Herodes Atticus, who lived in the second century ce, was considered the richest man of Athens, and he was a powerful person in Athenian society. Gleason suggests that Herodes Atticus’ identity contained both Greek and Roman elements, which were not completely fused.28 Herodes’ family descended from freedmen of Corinth, and his greatgrandfather, who served as the priest of the Roman Imperial cult, became a Roman citizen under Nero. His family had a close relationship with the Vibullii, who were Roman citizens from Corinth.29 Several members of the family were married to the same family, following the Greek custom of endogamy, when the son-in-law was already a relative.30 Some of the marriages, such as that of Herodes’ parents, were thus illegitimate according to Roman law. The men were expected to marry women of the same rank, and this meant that Herodes had to marry a woman of equal rank. Herodes finally married Regilla, from a Roman patrician family, a highly unusual choice for both families. Like many other aristocratic women in Roman Greece, Regilla played an active role in her marriage with Herodes, and her name occurs as donator in an inscription in the Nymphaeum in Olympia, where she became priestess of Demeter.31 That role gave Regilla an extraordinary right to follow the Olympic games, which was otherwise not allowed for Greek women. Regilla was thus highly visible in the sanctuary, where the Nymphaeum was located beside the sanctuary of Hera. The Nymphaeum was decorated with statues representing the family of Regilla and Herodes Atticus, as well as the members of the Imperial family, creating a new visual context between the Imperial family and the family of Herodes Atticus. In this context, it is interesting to note that the Hellenic rigorist Peregrinus accused Herodes of ‘feminizing Hellenes’ when he introduced 28 29 30 31

Gleason, 2008, pp. 2-3. Gleason, 2008, p. 4. Spawforth, 1985, p. 192; Gleason, 2008, p. 4. See Bol 1984.



Roman water engineering to Olympia with the Nymphaeum and brought water to Olympia.32 Herodes Atticus played an active role in the Panhellenion and supervised the games. He also built a stadium at Athens and funded the Panathenaic games.33 We may thus say that Herodes Atticus promoted the Panhellenic policy created by Emperor Hadrian. His education and childhood were unique when compared to many other Greeks, since he spent a period in Rome and was educated in the Latin language and Roman manners.34 Herodes imitated Hadrian and in many ways followed the new habits and ideas of architectural language and visual identities that Hadrian promoted in his architecture, a combination of Greek and Roman visual language, symbolism, and architecture. The bicultural identity suggested by Gleason can also be seen in the Parallel Lives of Plutarch, where the lives of famous Greeks are compared with the lives of famous Romans. Plutarch’s work emphasizes the close relationship between Greeks and Romans, the interdependence of Roman culture of the Greek culture and historical past. Greeks and Romans are compared with each other in another example, an important monument of the Hadrianic era in Athens: in the symbolic border between the old and the new Athens, where Emperor Hadrian is compared with Theseus in the paired inscriptions of the Arch of Hadrian. As Gleason points out, this can be seen as an antithesis between Roman and Greek identities: ‘This is Athens, formerly the city of Theseus’, compared with the inscription on the other side of the arch: ‘This is the city of Hadrian, not of Theseus’.35 The texts provide a perfect example of the ‘inscribed memory’ promoted by Price, and they provide another piece of evidence for the development of dual identities in the second century ce, as the inscriptions of the Arch of Hadrian suggest that Emperor Hadrian replaced Theseus in the memory of the Athenians, as the new ruler of Athens. As Price pointed out, Theseus was an Athenian hero who intersects with the wider world, and at the same time, the myth of Theseus is specifically connected to local Athenian history.36 By building the arch in Athens and connecting the inscriptions to the local myth of Theseus, Hadrian situated Athens and his own rule in a common narrative of the past. Herodes Atticus 32 Lucian, De mort. Peregr. 19; Gleason, 2008, p. 9. 33 Philostr. V S 549. 34 Gleason,2008, pp. 5-6. 35 IG II2 5185 A (III 401) and IG II2 5185 B (III 402). Gleason, 2008, p. 11. See also Karivieri, 2002, pp. 49-51. 36 Price, 2012, p. 23.

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built a similar arch at the entrance to his property in Marathon, embellished with inscriptions honouring both Herodes and Regilla, Greek and Roman. Gleason sees this as a boundary between male and female spaces: ‘The Gate of Immortal Concord. You are entering Regilla’s area’ and on the other side, ‘Gate of Immortal Concord. You are entering Herodes’ area’.37 Thus, we have here two monuments, two arches that recall in various ways the common narratives of the past: a boundary arch in the public space of Athens, the Arch of Hadrian, referring to historical memory, local myths, and the border between the old and the new, and, on the other hand, an arch in the private property of Herodes Atticus, where the arch marks the boundary between the gendered spaces of Regilla and Herodes, while it is at the same time referring in its architectural form and the phrasing of the inscriptions to the Arch of Hadrian in Athens. Thus, the arch of Marathon provides at the same time a synchronic and diachronic memory, recalling the visual form of the Arch of Hadrian, as well as the texts that refer both to Emperor Hadrian as a new ruler of Athens and to Theseus, the mythical hero of the Athenians.

Multiple identities and roles of Athenian women in the Roman period There were other ways of connecting the personal identity and common history of Greeks and Romans that are provided in the visual and textual evidence of the archaeological remains found in Greece. One interesting piece of evidence for the study of the identity and visibility of women in the Roman period is a private donation of Early Hellenistic bronze statues at the Athenian Acropolis by the sculptor Piston, which depicted Lysiphanes, son of Lysidemos, and his mother Sostrate, wife of Lysidemos.38 In the Early Imperial period, the demos of Athens dedicated the same statues anew to L. Valerius Catullus, son of Lucius, and his mother Terentia Hispulla, daughter of Naios, by adding a new inscription to the same statue base. The Greek statues were thus reused by the demos as new honorary statues for Roman citizens, while however preserving the original signature of the sculptor Piston and the dedications to Lysiphanes and Sostrate. The statues thus received a double identity. Terentia Hispulla’s dedication emphasizes her 37 IG II2 5189 and IG II2 5190; SEG XXIII 131; Ameling, 1983, II, p. 117 nos. 97-98; Gleason, 2008, pp. 10-14. See also Karivieri, 2002, pp. 49-50. 38 IG II2 3850 and 4159. Krumeich, 2010, pp. 343-344 and no. B6, pp. 382-383.



role as daughter, that is, her role in her original family, and her role as mother of Lucius Valerius Catullus. There were other honorary statues of the Late Classical or Hellenistic age at the Acropolis representing women in their roles as mothers or sisters, as members of an important family.39 These examples emphasize the close relations between Greeks and Romans: there was nothing unusual about comparing a Roman with a Greek. The dedications at the Acropolis created a reference to the historical memory of Athens, connecting the Romans to their Greek predecessors. The dedication of the Roman period, however, clearly emphasizes the role of Terentia Hispulla as the daughter of Naios, and her son’s role as the son of his father Lucius, while the dedications of the Early Hellenistic period pointed out that Lysidemos was the father of Lysiphanes and Sostrate was his wife. Likewise, there are several Athenian grave reliefs that were reused by adding new names, but without changing the figures. The evidence of statues and grave reliefs suggests that the images had more a symbolic value, not as detailed portraits, but as representations of the habitus, the status of the person, which was emphasized with the coiffure, jewellery, dress, and gestures, as well as the inscription including the name, family relations, and, if needed, the title of the person. 40 Athenian women continued in their roles as priestesses of Greek cults in the Roman period, such as priestesses of Demeter. From the Late Hellenistic period onwards, however, new Oriental and Roman cults were introduced in Greece, where women had a prominent role in the religious activities, and where they could continue in their role as priestesses and have other important roles in various sanctuaries. How were Athenian women visible in religion and in religious cults of foreign origin in the Roman period? A new cult that was central in the Imperial policy of Roman emperors is the cult of Vesta, which was introduced in Augustan times to Athens. There are three inscriptions at the Acropolis attesting that the Athenians honoured Roman Vestals. 41 The oldest inscription honoured Vibidia, daughter of Sextus Vibidius Virro. 42 Three inscriptions in the seats of the Theatre of Dionysos refer to priestesses of Hestia. 43 There is, however, no evidence for the existence of the cult of Hestia in Athens before the Early Roman period, and two of the inscriptions refer to Hestia of the Romans, and the third one 39 Krumeich, 2008, p. 356. 40 See also Berg in this volume for significance of jewellery, dress and such objects for status of the person. 41 Kajava, 2001, p. 72. 42 IG II2 3532; Kajava, 2001, p. 72. 43 IG II2 5096, 5102, 5145; Kajava, 2001, pp. 73-74.

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to Hestia on the Acropolis, Livia and Julia. 44 Mika Kajava has pointed out that since the Roman Vestals had to stay at Rome, local girls in Athens may have become priestesses of Vesta at Athens, 45 which created an important connection between Rome and Athens. The cult of Vesta introduced thus a possibility to form a new religious identity for the Athenian girls and a new possibility to adopt an esteemed role in the local society. The introduction of the cult of Vesta and the building of the temple of Roma and Augustus on the Acropolis established the Roman rule in Athens. One of the foreign cults that became very popular among the Athenian women is the cult of Isis. As the cult of Isis was later connected with the cult of Tyche and Demeter, the popularity of the cult increased during the Roman rule. The popularity of Isis is clearly demonstrated by the numerous grave reliefs from the Roman period representing women in the dress of Isis, as devotees of the goddess. These provide evidence for the identities of the adherents of the cult from the first century bce to the 60s of the third century ce. Several of these reliefs have been found in the Athenian Agora. The Athenian women were depicted wearing the Knotenpalla dress and holding a sistrum or a situla. Among the few inscriptions that are preserved, concerning the cult of Isis in Athens, 46 two are dedications of daughters to Isis from the second century ce. In the inscription EM 396, Claudia is dedicated to Isis by her mother, 47 and in EM 8299, Noummia Kleo is dedicated to Isis by her parents.48 Elizabeth Walters has interpreted these individuals as members of the prosperous middle class. The popularity of the cult of Isis is highly visible in the Corinthia region, where the sanctuary of Isis was located at Kenchreai (the eastern port of Corinth), and at Athens, where the sanctuary of Isis has been located west of the Asklepieion. The sanctuary of Isis west of the Asklepieion was founded49 in the Hadrianic period by a female donor who set up a marble order, a pediment, and a screen, and repaired the cult statue of Isis and dedicated a statue of Afrodite to Isis. According to Susan Walker, the female donor held two offices in the cult of Isis: she was lykhnaptris, the lamp-bearer in sacred processions, and oneirokritis, interpreter of dreams. We know from inscriptions that women acted as lykhnaptria in the Egyptian cults also on Delos. This can be compared with the other cults in Athens where women 44 45 46 47 48 49

Kajava, 2001, p. 74. Kajava, 2001, p. 77. Walters, 1988, p. 57. Walters, 1988, p. 57, note 209 and p. 121. Walters, 1988, p. 57, notes 209, 210 and p. 121. IG II2, 4771.



had the responsibility for carrying sacred objects. The oneirokritis in the cult of Isis could be a woman or a man. Other women in this office are known from Delos.50 The female donor in Athens had an important role in the cult of Isis, and she was also a wealthy individual who had the means to be able to show her benevolence and to finance the restoration of the temple and the cult statue. Her dedication of a statue of Aphrodite to Isis shows the connection of old myths and cults to the new religious cults of Roman Athens, connecting the religious past to the contemporaneous local society. In Corinth, a large amount of coins, lamps, gems, and terracotta figurines depicting the Egyptian deities have been found, and several objects depict Isis as Isis Pelagia, as the goddess of shipping and navigation. Pausanias mentions two sanctuaries of Isis, and two of Sarapis at Corinth;51 this underlines the popularity of Egyptian cults in the Roman period. Both Isis and Sarapis have one Egyptian and one non-Egyptian temenos at Corinth in Pausanias’ text. The cult of Isis at Kenchreai had a central role in Apuleius’ Golden Ass, and Apuleius describes the participants of the festival of Ploiaphesia for Isis Pelagia, including women who carried baskets and lamps. Accordingly, a woman could participate in the procession as basket-carrier (kanephoros) or lamp-carrier (lampterophoros). The above-mentioned inscription and the remains of the sanctuary of Isis are an important example of the financial and religious activities of Athenian women in the Hadrianic period.

The divine identity of Sabina The personal life of Empress Sabina represents well the shifting identities of Imperial women in the Hadrianic period.52 Sabina, the grand-niece of Trajan, was married to Hadrian probably when she was only twelve to fourteen years old, to secure the family dynasty. However, the marriage was childless, and modern scholars have questioned the relationship between Sabina and Hadrian, suggesting that the marriage was only formal. In 112 ce, Sabina’s mother and grandmother received new Imperial titles. As a consequence, Sabina became the daughter of an Augusta (Matidia) and the granddaughter of a Diva (Marciana Augusta, Trajan’s sister).53 Hadrian’s mother-in-law, the Augusta Matidia, died in 119 ce and was declared ‘diva’ 50 51 52 53

See Walker, 1979. Paus. 2.4.6. See Brennan, 2018. Birley, 1997, pp. 2, 64; Hemelrijk, 2002, p. 112, and p. 302, n. 94.

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after her death. As a consequence, Sabina was granted the title ‘Augusta’ probably already the same year.54 Sabina was honoured with numerous coins with various portrait types and hair fashions, and she was depicted in statues as Juno, Venus, and Ceres,55 all reflecting the attributions of divine epithets and matronly virtues to the empress, in order to emphasize her importance in the Empire. Sabina received numerous dedications in the cities of the Greek East. In the Panhellenion, when Hadrian was identified with Zeus Panhellenios, Sabina was identified with the goddess Hera. She was revered together with Hadrian and even depicted in divine guise.56 In the theatre of Vaison-laRomaine in France, Sabina was represented as Pudicitia,57 interestingly enough, together with a statue depicting Emperor Hadrian in the nude.58 When Sabina was represented as a divinity or an allegorical figure, her image followed the well-known types of the Classical and Hellenistic periods in Greek sculpture, as Andrea Carandini has shown in his study,59 connecting her identity also to the Greek past of Rome, in the same way as Hadrian was identif ied with Pericles. The Imperial couple was thus legitimized as heirs of the golden age of Greece, reviving the memory of the famous past.

Antinoos – from human to divine and beyond Hadrian’s beloved, Antinoos, had a name that derived from the local legend connected to the foundation of Mantinea in Arcadia, since the founder of Mantinea was Antinoe, the daughter of King Cepheus.60 After Antinoos’ death, Hadrian founded in 130 ce a new city in Egypt in commemoration of Antinoos, Antinoopolis, giving several privileges to the settlers.61 The laws of Antinoopolis were transmitted from Naukratis, and the citizens were called Neoi Hellênes.62 Antinoites possessed the right of epigamia, that is, they were allowed to marry native Egyptians, 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62

Birley, 1997, p. 107; Opper, 2008, p. 203. Hemelrijk, 2002, p. 116; Opper, 2008, pp. 203-204. Fejfer, 2008, p. 341. Fejfer, 2008, pp. 342-343, fig. 263. Fejfer, 2008, p. 343, fig. 264. See Carandini, 1969. See Paus. 8.8.4; 8.9.5; see also Birley, 1997, p. 180. Zahnrt, 1988, pp. 690-701; Birley, 1997, pp. 253-254; Boatwright, 2000, p. 195. Bell, 1940, p. 134; Bowman and Rathbone, 1992, pp. 119-120.



thus making non-Greeks citizens of Antinoopolis.63 In Zahrnt’s view, this law stimulated the Hellenized Egyptians to move to Antinoopolis from elsewhere.64 Birley sees this as Hadrian’s way of promoting Hellenism, and as evidence that Hadrian did connect the Hellenistic identity to race and ethnicity. Mary Boatwright interprets Hadrian’s definition of ‘Roman’ as encompassing Greco-Roman culture, and ‘foreign’ as a definition of those cultures that either fell outside this or that rejected the Greco-Roman culture.65 However, Bell believes that this privilege of inter-marriage was one-sided: only the children of an Antinoite man with an Egyptian woman could become citizens.66 Since the city of Ptolemais had preserved its Greek character and culture, there is evidence that some of the inhabitants of Antinoopolis, the new city, were chosen from Ptolemais, another group from the Greek elite in the Arsinoite nome, and others from Oxyrhynchus.67 A third group of new citizens were army veterans, who could become citizens of Antinoopolis from the reign of Antoninus Pius onwards.68 Another central aspect connected to the foundation of Antinoopolis is the fact that the citizens of Antinoopolis were registered to ten tribes of the city and further to several demes; following the model created by Cleisthenes in Athens and connecting Antinoopolis to the historical past of Athens. The ten tribes were called after Hadrian and his family members, including Nerouanii, Traianii, Ailiei, Hadrianeii, Paulinii, Matidii, Sabinii, Sebasteii, Oseiroantinoeii, and Athenaiei.69 Furthermore, the demes received allegorical names, epithets, and adjectives appropriate to each tribe. The tribe of Hadrianeii included, inter alia, the demes Zenios, Olympios and Capitolieus, Sosikosmios, and Mousegetaios, all epithets connected to Hadrian himself. The Sabinioi include Heraieus, Gamelieus, Harmonieus, Trophonieus, and Phytalieus, emphasizing Sabina’s connection to Theban legends and Eleusis.70 Antinoos was identified with Osiris in Antinoopolis, and one of the tribes was named Oseiroantinoeii. The obelisk thought to 63 Bell, 1940, pp. 141-142; Zahrnt, 1988; Montevecchi, 1990, pp. 187-188; Birley, 1997, p. 254; Boatwright, 2000, p. 194. 64 Zahrnt, 1988, pp. 701-706. 65 Boatwright, 2000, p. 128. 66 Bell, 1940, p. 142. 67 Bell, 1940, pp. 136-138. 68 Bell, 1940, p. 139. 69 Calandra, 1996, p. 35; Birley, 1997, p. 254; Boatwright, 2000, p. 194. 70 See also Weber, 1907, p. 250; Bell, 1940, pp. 140-141; Calderini, 1966, I.2:102-109; Birley, 1997, pp. 254-255; Boatwright, 2000, p. 194, n. 124.

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come from Antinoopolis, now at Monte Pincio at Rome, is covered on four sides with hieroglyphs praising Hadrian, Sabina, and Osiris-Antinoos.71 In 1940, Bell regarded Hadrian’s grant of epigamia to Antinoopolis as an opening to Egyptianisation, and he considered the Hellenism of its citizens as insufficiently robust to withstand their Egyptian surroundings and the general decay of the municipal middle class in Late Antiquity, by the rise of Christianity.72 However, the city was the capital of the Thebaid, and a cultural centre that flourished until the eighth century. The creation of Antinoopolis gave new possibilities and special privileges for Antinoites and created a new Hellenized centre in Egypt. Michael Zahrnt has pointed out that Hadrian’s policy for the foundation of Antinoopolis was a political decision for the reorganization of Egypt. Besides this, if it was Empress Sabina who had drowned in Egypt instead of Antinoos, Egypt would probably have received a new city by the name of Sabinopolis.73 Be that as it may, the foundation of Antinoopolis and its administrative structure clearly show Hadrian’s ambitions concerning the importance of Greek culture and Greek identity: the foundation of the new city emphasizes the contexts Simon Price suggested as crucial for historical memory, the location of Antinoopolis in Egypt where Antinoos died, the associated myth connected to Antinoos, and the local foundation myth connected to the past history of Athens, Theban legends, and Eleusis, as well as the identification of Antinoos with the god Osiris.

Conclusions The multiple identities of Hadrian, Empress Vibia Sabina, the emperor’s beloved, Antinoos, and their contemporaries reflect the developments in Roman culture, society, and religion; how memory, identity, and gender acquired numerous interpretations, how they were reinterpreted anew in new and different social contexts. The Greek identity of Rome and the close relationship between Greece and Rome, between Athens and Rome, became the centre of attention in the second century ce. The Panhellenic Greek identity of Greek cities created a new renaissance of Greek culture, literature, and art, promoted by Hadrian, the honorary citizen of Athens, in his new role, which compared him with Theseus, the founder of Athens. 71 Birley, 1997, pp. 255-256. 72 Bell, 1940, p. 145. 73 Zahrnt, 1988, p. 706, n. 136.



Athenian women acquired new roles in the society and religious cults, when new cults arrived at Greece and the historical past, classical myths, and religious cults of Greece and Egypt were reinterpreted and adapted to the Roman society. This paper illustrated examples of four contexts where memories are constructed, as suggested by Simon Price, and discussed the various ways historical and religious memories of the Greek past were used and new identities established in the Hadrianic era and beyond. These four contexts include objects and representations, places, ritual behaviour, associated myths, and textual narratives, and involve what Price called ‘inscribed memory’ and performative ‘embodied memory’ (connected to rituals and behaviour). Indeed, this method of construction of historical and religious memories continued in Late Antiquity, when references to the memory layers of the Greek and Roman past were reused and presented in new contexts and combinations. A perfect example of a monument that utilized memories of the Greek and Roman past to create a new Late Roman and Christian narrative is the Arch of Constantine at Rome that was situated in a crucial position between the Temple of Venus and Roma and Colosseum. The Arch of Constantine combines reliefs, visual representations of objects, places, ritual acts, associated myths, and textual narratives from the age of Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius with inscriptions and images, textual and visual narratives, from the age of Constantine. The Arch of Constantine represents thus a further development of the visual and textual messages that the Arch of Hadrian presented in Athens, being a monument that articulates memories of the Roman past, linking the present with the past, the Battle of Pons Milvius with Trajan’s Dacian War, Constantine’s oratio at Forum Romanum to Marcus Aurelius’ speech to the troops. The arch articulates local identity, as well as religious and historical memory.

Bibliography Walter Ameling, Herodes Atticus, I Biographie; II Inschriftenkatalog (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1983). Harold Bell, ‘A Hadrianic Foundation in Egypt’, Journal of Roman Studies, 30 (1940), 133-147. Anthony Birley, Hadrian. The Restless Emperor (London & New York: Routledge, 1997).

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Mary Boatwright, Hadrian and the Cities of the Roman Empire (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000). Renate Bol, Das Statuenprogramm des Herodes-Atticus-Nymphäums (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1984). Alan Bowman and Dominic Rathbone, ‘Cities and Administration in Roman Egypt’, Journal of Roman Studies, 82 (1992), 107-127. Corey Brennan, Sabina Augusta: An Imperial Journey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). Elena Calandra, Oltre la Grecia – Alle origini del filellenismo di Adriano (Napoli: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 1996). Aristide Calderini, Dizionario dei nomi geografici dell’Egitto greco-romano, vol. I.2 (Milano: Cisalpino-Goliardica, 1966). Andrea Carandini, Vibia Sabina. Funzione politica, iconografia e il problema del classicismo adrianeo (Firenze: Olschki, 1969). Emma Dench, Romulus’ Asylum: Roman Identities from the Age of Alexander to the Age of Hadrian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Beate Dignas and Roland Smith, ‘Introduction’, in Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World, ed. by Beate Dignas and Roland Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 1-11. Jane Fejfer, Roman Portraits in Context (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2008). Daniel Geagan, ‘Hadrian and the Athenian Dionysiac Technitai’, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 103 (1972), 133-160. Maud Gleason, Making Space for Bicultural Identity: Herodes Atticus commemorates Regilla. Version 1.0 (Stanford: Stanford University, 2008). Evan Haley, ‘Hadrian as Romulus or the Self-Representation of a Roman Emperor’, Latomus, 64 (2005), 969-980. Emily Hemelrijk, Matrona Docta: Educated Women in the Roman Elite from Cornelia to Julia Domna (London and New York: Routledge, 2002). Volker Heuchert, ‘The Chronological development of Roman provincial coin iconography’, in Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces, ed. by Christopher Howgego and others (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 29-56. Marietta Horster, ‘Coinage and images of the imperial family: local identity and Roman rule’, Journal of Roman Archaeology, 26 (2013), 243-262. Christopher Jones, ‘The Panhellenion’, Chiron, 26 (1996), 29-56. Mika Kajava, ‘Vesta and Athens’, in The Greek East in the Roman Context. Proceedings of a Colloquium organized by the Finnish Institute at Athens, May 21 and 22, 1999, ed. by Olli Salomies (Helsinki: Suomen Ateenan-instituutin säätiö, 2001), pp. 71-94. Arja Karivieri, ‘The So-Called Library of Hadrian and the Tetraconch Church in Athens’, in Post-Herulian Athens, Aspects of Life and Culture in Athens A.D.



267-529, ed. by Paavo Castrén (Helsinki: Suomen Ateenan-instituutin säätiö, 1994), pp. 89-113. Arja Karivieri, ‘Just One of the Boys – Hadrian in the Company of Zeus, Dionysus and Theseus’, in Greek Romans and Roman Greeks: Studies in Cultural Interaction, ed. by Erik Nis Ostenfeld (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2002), pp. 40-54. Demetrios Kritsotakis, Hadrian and the Greek East: Imperial Policy and Communication (Columbus: Ohio State University, 2008). Ralf Krumeich, ‘Formen der statuarischen Repräsentation römischer Honoranden auf der Akropolis von Athen im späten Hellenismus und in der frühen Kaiserzeit’, in Athens During the Roman Period: Recent Discoveries, New Evidence, ed. by Stavros Vlizos (Athens: Benaki Museum, 2008), pp. 353-370. Ralf Krumeich, ‘Vor klassischem Hintergrund. Zum Phänomen der Wiederverwendung älterer Statuen auf der Athener Akropolis als Ehrenstatuen für Römer’, in Die Akropolis von Athen im Hellenismus und in der römischen Kaiserzeit, Internationales Kolloquium vom 16. Bis 17. Juni 2006 in Bonn, ed. by Ralf Krumeich & Christian Witschel (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2010), pp. 329-398. Orsolina Montevecchi, ‘Adriano e la Fondazione di Antinoopolis’, in Neronia IV. Alejandro Magno, modello de los emperadores romanos, ed. by J. M. Croisille (Brussels: Peeters, 1990), pp. 183-195. James Henry Oliver, Marcus Aurelius: Aspects of Civic and Cultural Policy in the East (Princeton: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1970). Thorsten Opper, Hadrian: Empire and Conflict (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008). Simon Price, ‘Memory and Ancient Greece’, in Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World, ed. by Beate Dignas and Roland Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 15-36. Ilaria Romeo, ‘Ethnic Identity in Hadrianic Greece’, Classical Philology, 97 (2002), 21-40. Antony Spawforth, ‘Families at Roman Sparta and Epidaurus: Some Prosopographical Notes’, Papers of the British School at Athens, 80 (1985), 191-253. Antony Spawforth and Susan Walker, ‘The World of the Panhellenion: I. Athens and Eleusis’, Journal of Roman Studies, 75 (1985), 78-104. Antony Spawforth and Susan Walker, ‘The World of the Panhellenion: II. Three Dorian Cities’, Journal of Roman Studies, 76 (1986), 88-105. Susan Walker, ‘A Sanctuary of Isis on the South Slope of the Athenian Acropolis’, Papers of the British School at Athens, 74 (1979), 243-257. Elizabeth Walters, Attic Grave Reliefs that Represent Women in the Dress of Isis (Princeton: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1988). Wilhelm Weber, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Kaisers Hadrianus (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1907).

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Michael Zahrnt, ‘Antinoopolis in Ägypten: Die hadrianische Gründung und ihre Privilegien in der neueren Forschung’, Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, II.10.1 (1988), pp. 669-706.

About the Author Dr Arja Karivieri is Professor of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Stockholm University and Director of Institutum Romanum Finlandiae (2017-2020).


Mental Hospitals in Pre-Modern Society Antiquity, Byzantium, Western Europe, and Islam. Some Reconsiderations Christian Laes

Abstract Historians of the pre-modern period mostly come up with early Islamic society as the ‘true’ inventor of mental asylums. To Michel Foucault, it was the rational response of the Age of Enlightenment that separated the mad completely from society. This paper argues that the famous quest for the prima causa has led historians to not seeing more fundamental issues: what was really going on in hospitals, or the profound impact of demonology and possession in different cultures alike. Moreover, I argue that the roots of the existential approach towards the mentally challenged at least go back to Late Antiquity: the miracles performed by Jesus, and subsequently by the saints, caused certain categories of disabilities to become more established and canonized than others. Keywords: hospitals, mental health, demonic possession, seclusion

Introduction Ever since the publication of Michel Foucault’s seminal work Folie et déraison. Histoire de la folie à l’âge Classique (1961), the treatment of ‘madmen’ and the phenomenon of mental hospitals have been at the centre of many discussions on identity. To Foucault, the rational response of the Age of Enlightenment to the mad consisted in separating them completely from society by confining them, along with prostitutes, vagrants, blasphemers, and the like, in newly created institutions all over Europe. This process

Rantala, Jussi (ed.), Gender, Memory, and Identity in the Roman World, Amsterdam University Press, 2019 doi: 10.5117/9789462988057_ch11

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of ‘the Great Confinement’ strongly contributed to ‘the madmen’ being labeled as a separate category, whose outcast condition was also seen as one of moral error. In this contribution, I argue that the roots of such existential approach towards the mentally challenged at least go back to Late Antiquity. The miracles performed by Jesus, and subsequently by a plethora of saints, caused certain categories of disabilities to become more established and canonized than others. The category of the possessed and the ‘mentally deranged’, who were excluded from miraculous healing before, in Christianity received proper attention. Christianity also placed greater stress on the moral responsibility and the personal belief of those receiving healing. Memory will play an important role in this chapter too, since the way charitable acts or institutions from the past were remembered to glorify a civilisation or to add to its reputation will be an important theme. From this aspect as well, it will appear that special care for the mad in specialized institutions goes back further than has been suggested by Foucault. Throughout this chapter, women will now and then be mentioned, and the gendered aspect comes up in mentions of separate sections for women in care centres. In all, we only have very limited information on women and mental impairment in Antiquity,1 and the paucity of the evidence is inevitably reflected in the present chapter.2 As the last chapter of this volume, this contribution takes a long time span approach, in which Greek and Roman Antiquity are confronted with later periods, up to the nineteenth century. The comparative approach will force readers to rethink conceptions of certain cultures being ‘unique’ in their approaches, and to question established opinions on matters as ‘the invention’ of the mental hospital. On a final note, I add that this comparative approach necessitated references to secundary sources only. Any attempt to bring the readers to the primary sources would not only have tripled the length of the study, but also encumber the article with very specific references to editions in many different ancient languages. However, the references are conceived as such that anyone who consults them gains immediate access to the primary source material.

1 Rose, 2018. 2 The absence if women is a recurrent phenomena in the sources of ancient history in general, but particularly when dealing with groups with very little importance for people – often elite males – who most often are behind these sources; cf. particularly the paper of Larsson Lovén in this volume.

Mental Hospitals in Pre-Modern Socie t y


Some necessary preliminary remarks Who were the first to have mental hospitals? Historians of the pre-modern period have gone to great lengths to prove the point they want to make. They mostly come up with early Islamic society as the ‘real and true’ inventor and promotor of mental asylums. In this paper, I argue that the famous quest for the prima causa, combined with a unnecesary wish to search for competition between different cultures, has led historians and the wider audience to not seeing more fundamental issues that were at stake. Indeed, this approach has obscured what was really going on in such hospitals, and has largely ignored the profound impact of demonology and possession in different cultures alike. Also, I believe that a confrontation with later periods makes clear why it is indeed justified to study the pre-modern era as a specific period for the treatment of mental health. I will therefore conclude this chapter with some reconsiderations about ‘doing’ pre-modern history and history of the modern period. The pre-modern era is understood as a vast time span, starting from Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisation about 3000 bce up to the beginning of the Modern Period in Western Europe about ce 1500. Geographically, the area under study is again enormous as to the point of appearing unmanageable at first sight. I look from the West of Europe up to Indian civilisation, and I even briefly consider the Chinese tradition – thus taking into account manyfold cultural and religious traditions, among which Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism in their many forms stand out as the most prominent. I define a hospital as an enclosure with personnel which gathered for a time (at least overnight) patients, who either hoped to be healed or, when such was not possible nor desirable, sought help and security for at least a while.3 I regard mental conditions as any form of behaviour which a society regarded as strange or undesirable. Obviously, such behaviour did not necessarily lead to seclusion in a separate institution. 4

Antiquity: from 3000 bce to the High Roman Empire It is relatively easy to summarize the history of taking care of those perceived as ‘madmen’ from 3000 bce up to the High Roman Empire in just a few lines. The family, the clan, and the home unit were the invariable locus of care, 3 4

Risse, 1999. Scull, 2015.

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while various and multiple ad hoc solutions must have existed for those who were destitute of close relatives (in 2 Kings 4:13 the Shunnamite woman tells Elisha that she is happy living with her own people). Wealthier fellow villages or citizens probably took care of them, networks of patrons or friends of the family might be of help, labour engagements in simple menial tasks or even begging or wandering around as an entertainer were other possibilities. The sources simply do not seem to be interested in cases like these, because they must have been part and parcel of daily life. Only extreme instances of poverty, and the misery of a life as a beggar seem to catch the eye of literary writers. Temples, shrines, and sanctuaries, often financially supported by local rulers, served as places where the poor, sick, or destitute gathered in order to find help. Infertility, leprosy, and terminal illness were the main motives for attending shrines in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Israel.5 However, madmen were mostly carefully held away from the sacred places, as they were considered impure.6 Surely, the thin line between a mental disease and a bodily disability must have caused certain ambiguities.7 In any case exorcism, which could be a way of healing the madmen, was meant to take place outside the sanctuary. Matthew 21:14 is exemplary for this. The blind and the crippled come to Jesus in the temple to be healed. No possessed persons are healed by Jesus inside a sanctuary. More than any other religious tradition, the Graeco-Roman world stands out for actually bringing the sick and what we would call the disabled into sacred places. The sanctuaries of Asclepius have often been mentioned in this context. The success of the sanctuary of Epidaurus was enormous: from the fifth century bce on, similar asclepeia were dispersed all over Greece and Asia Minor, while the cult reached Rome in 291 bce, when an asclepeion was established on the Tiber Island. During the Imperial period the Asclepius sanctuary of Pergamum was one of the largest and most influential temples of the entire Roman Empire. Ample archaeological finds, inscriptions on stones mentioning miracles and curing (the so-called iamata or healing reports), as well as votive tablets (small wooden or silver plaquettes with thanksgiving) provide a good picture of the daily goings in such sanctuaries. The sick and the hopeless flocked together from far and wide. They were often accompanied by attendants. Together, they had to sign in. The sick were cleaned ritually with mineral water and then deposited into an infirmary, the abaton. With a little imagination we can 5 Avalos, 1995. 6 Thraede, 1969, col. 45. 7 Kellenberger, 2011.

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imagine the night scenes in the halls for the infirm: rows of believers who were laid to rest after extinguishing the oil lamps. They were also allowed to sleep in the temple. In their dreams, they hoped to see the deity and to receive healing. All the material related to these healings has been carefully catalogued and studied. By now, it has become clear that people mainly attended the Asclepius sanctuaries for chronic cases that somehow put the medical doctors in despair.8 As for evidence of longer stay (more than one night), our evidence is rather silent, though it is most likely that at least some people stayed for longer periods, which explains the presence of attending personnel, perhaps also doctors in the sanctuaries. A case from Rome even mentions a stay of hundred days.9 While literally all sorts of diseases from head to toe are mentioned in the inscriptional documentation from the Asclepius sanctuaries, there is not a single case of what we label as mental diseases. One instance of hydrocephalus and one case of sleeplessness due to distress in the head come somewhat in the vicinity.10 Apparently, cures for mental diseases were not sought for in traditional healing sanctuaries. In this, the Graeco-Roman temples were not different from their counterparts in the ancient world. An explanation for this is not that easy to find. The incurability of what we now call intellectual disorders must have been an obvious fact to people in the ancient world too.11 There is no clear indication that a taboo on mental afflictions would have held these patients away from the sanctuaries. In fact, a passage in Aristophanes’ Wasps tells the story of Philocleon, who was frantic about being a judge (in fact, Athens did not know professional judges, and citizens were called upon daily to judge in the Heliaea).12 Nothing helped to heal the old man from his almost neurotic behavior: gentleness, purifying bathing and being handed over to the Corybantes. In the end, his son took him to the temple of Asclepius in Aegina and made him forcibly lie one night in the sanctuary (of course in vain, since before daylight he was to be seen again at the gate of the tribunal). Note that Philocleon’s behavior is called ‘an illness’ (nosos) twice.13 Next to temples and sanctuaries, was there not anything as more or less specialized workplaces where doctors or medical personnel provided help for a certain period of time? Do we find instances of treatment of people with mental conditions in such centres? 8 Wickkiser, 2006. 9 AE 2001, 212. 10 LiDonnici, 1995, p. 101 and p. 107. 11 van der Eijk, 2013, p. 310. 12 Ar. Vesp. 85-135. 13 Ar. Vesp. 87 and 114; see also Harris, 2016, pp. 36-37.

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Apart from some references to states or workplaces responsible for medical treatment and doctors attending the sick and injured in royal necropolis towns such as Giza in Egypt, hospitals, let alone specialized care centres for mental patients, do not seem to have belonged to any of the civilisations in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, or Egypt.14 In the ancient Persian tradition, the Zoroastrian Videvdad, which probably goes back as far as the eighth century bce, mentions a house of seclusion (armēshtgāh) for both men and women in a state of uncleanliness. The buildings original function was that of isolating individuals afflicted by serious diseases. The text cites a stay of three nights in which no contact with other humans, water, or fire was permitted, and cleansing of clothes and the body. Such measures point to the danger of contagion.15 After his conversion to Buddhism, fourth century bce Indian king Asoka claims to have provided medicine for men all around his Empire. The text mentions dispensaries for the sick. Whether this also implied hospitals, is unsure. However, by the fifth century ce, travelers report on charitable institutions in the town of Pataliputtra (modern Patna), where nobles and householders had founded hospitals within the city to which the poor of all countries, the destitute, cripple, and the diseased may repair. All help was provided gratuitously. Physicians were present to inspect the patient´s disease, and when healed, they were supposed to depart. A manuscript translated by the monk Fasheng (c. 406-479 ce), mentions a stupa that had been built a two days journey east from Taxila. Fasheng reported that there were ‘monks’ apartments, a preaching hall and a cloister’, and several thousand monks present. His further words are worth quoting: People from all countries who have illnesses of various kinds like leprosy, mental disease, deafness, blindness, or lameness in hand or foot, came to this stupa. They burnt incense, lit lamps, spread scented mud, repaired, and swept; and when they kowtowed and confessed, all diseases were become cured.16

A detailed history of early medicine and healing in Buddhist monasteries has noted the pre-eminence of Taxila in present-day Pakistan as a centre of medical education, from the first century ce until early in the fifth century.17 As 14 15 16 17

Kellenberger, 2017; Beal, 2017; David, 2017. Coloru, 2017, p. 66 Adapted from Miles, 2017, p. 95. Miles, 2017, p. 95.

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Buddhism spread via the Silk Route to China, we can imagine how organized care came to being also in the Far East. In ce 218, when the Han dynasty broke up, Cao Cao (155-220), the founder of the Wei dynasty, moved beyond simply offering one-off donations to a system of organized care specifically for the disabled. He enacted legislation whereby disabled people (defined specifically as the blind and those afflicted with injuries or disease affecting the hands and feet), who were in danger of finding themselves destitute, would have the cost of their upkeep devolved upon the state.18 Again, the evidence we have for treatment of mental illness in care centres is extremely meagre considering the vast geographical area and time span under scrutiny. We may rightly suppose that ‘madmen’ were among the crowds of all sorts of ill people gathering in buildings, sponsored by benefactors as aristocrats and rulers, who found it important to extend their wealthy patronage. Whether increased ethical demands fuelled by religion were a motive for this, is a question which cannot be confirmed neither answered negatively. Let us now again turn our attention to Graeco-Roman civilisation, which is much more documented as care for the mentally disabled is concerned. Graeco-Roman culture indeed had an extensive tradition of psychotherapy, starting from the Hippocratic doctors.19 In the ancient medical tradition, it was crystal-clear that mental illnesses were viewed as treatable, and thus subject to therapy. In all, there was not anything as the early Modern and mostly Cartesian distinction of mind and body. 20 Ancient doctors described pharmaceutical cures, which took into account the balance of the different bodily humours. Next to this, purges, special diets, and blood-letting are recommended, together with a wide and varied panel of behavioural therapy, ranging from relaxation, music therapy, comforting words, and stories, over shock treatment and beating, to sensory treatment with soft bed linen and reassuring pictures on the wall, reading, travelling, and even theatre. Physicians as Celsus, Galen, and Aretaeus in the first and second century ce more than once mention patients, some of whom are clearly in a room, and in bed. For Late Antiquity, Caelius Aurelianus who worked and lived in fifth-century ce Numidia offers a goldmine of information on treatment of mental disease. His humanising approach (the medicus amicus) has sometimes been ascribed to Christian influences, but is also very much in line with this predecessors. Be this as it may be, also 18 Milburn, 2017, p. 114 19 Stok, 1996; Goodey and Rose, 2013. 20 Thumiger, 2017.

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with Caelius Aurelianus no indication of special institutions or care centres for his patients is found, and the rooms and beds he discusses were in all likelihood situated in private homes of the patients.21 The Graeco-Roman system of charity and social aid worked on euergetism and patronage. Help for others was provided rather because they were considered fellow citizens, than because of an ethical claim of charity required towards fellow humans.22 What we know about ancient benefactors is often found on inscriptions about donations of grain, wine, or other food, as well as the organisation of events for the mob. Some patrons probably provided shelter for destitute clients without family. Traditionally, apart from temples and shrines some other Graeco-Roman institutions have been viewed as predecessors of hospitals.23 Roman military hospitals or valetudinaria come to the mind. Contrary to what has been suggested, they existed up to Late Antiquity, when military units indeed got smaller. It is now clear that legislation also had an eye for psychological conditions of soldiers and veterans, even up to attempts for suicide and taedium vitae after battle trauma, but again, no separate sections for such treatment existed.24 The same goes for private valetudinaria, which Roman slave owners organized for their slaves: although there did exist a discourse on the mental state of slaves, no separate treatment for mental conditions seems to have existed. Finally, there is ample evidence on prisons in Antiquity, and imprisonment of the insane is attested and suggested in several legal sources. Again, no special institutions seem to have existed for this, and we should rather think of private confinement, often in the context of family members taking care of ‘their own madman’.25

Late Antiquity as a turning point. The Christian East and its legacy As specialized institutions for taking care of the insane was concerned, I see two crucial changes happening in the period of circa 300 to 600 ce. First, demonic possession was as it were brought into the spheres of sanctuaries and shrines. Second, Christian faith initiated the development of hospitals; 21 22 23 24 25

Gourevitch, 2017. Veyne, 1976. Harig, 1971. Van Lommel, 2013. Krause, 1996, pp. 87-88.

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the ‘birth of the hospital’ indeed needs to be situated in this period. The combination of both elements might even lead to shrines where the possessed gathered, which in that way became a sort of de facto asylums for the insane. The attention to the phenomenon of demons and possession was surely not an exclusively Christian matter. The belief in demons causing illness was widespread all over the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean world, including Graeco-Roman civilisation, where also doctors occasionally resorted to demonology, surely in case of perceived insanity.26 However, historians have referred to an increased interest in demonology from the late second century ce on. Indeed, later Judaism viewed belief in demonic powers as a particular feature of Judaeo-Christian circles, while examples are found already in the Old Testament.27 The New Testament mentions a few cases involving the healing of ‘disturbed behaviour’ caused by a demon. Most but not all stories also involve physical illness caused by demons.28 Surely, exorcisms take a prominent role in the Christian literature beginning in the third century ce; again, ‘mental’ cases and behaviour appear next to instances we might rather view as physical diseases, and also demonic possession was sensed as a bodily phenomenon, since the malign spirit dwelled inside intestines. But the fact remains that patients with perceived mental and/or behavioural problems, who previously were not supposed to be healed in pagan sanctuaries, could now hope for help within churches and shrines, possibly by ‘charismastic healers’ who were ecclesiastically ordained as demonologists.29 There seems to be large scholarly consensus that the first attempts of what we define as a hospital saw the light around the year 350.30 Various explanatory factors have been adduced: urban monasticism, concurrence with the arians, and developing Imperial patronage. The first hospitals seem to have spread out first in medium-sized towns in Asia Minor, then to Greece and Armenia, and subsequently into the West, with a famous example from Visigothic Spain. All around the Mediterranean, from Italy (Ostia and Rome) and North Africa (Augustine’s Hippo) – all areas in contact 26 Thraede, 1969, col. 51. 27 Ferngren and Amundsen, 1996, pp. 2965-2968 28 Mark 9:17-20 is on epileptic seizures; Mark 5:1-20 on a possessed man who lives in complete social isolation due to the Legion of demons which took control of him; Mark 1:21-28 has a possessed madman screeming at Jesus inside the synagogue; Mark 7:24-30 on a Phoenician woman with a possessed daughter kept at home. 29 Thraede, 1969, col. 75. 30 Miller, 1997; Crislip, 2005.

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with Byzantium – the hospital was viewed as ‘something new’.31 Under the influence of a strong monastic movement, both Egypt and Ethiopia from the fourth upto the sixth century had a strong tradition of caring institutions and hospices.32 Led by Christian philanthropy and the teaching of the Church Fathers, the Byzantine state and society established and developed a remarkable system of institutional care for the sick and suffering. Patients were treated in charitable foundations sponsored by the state, the Church, or a monastery. Moreover, hospitals repeatedly appear in the sources in a remarkable line of continuity (from the fourth century to at least the sack of Constantinople in 1204) and in different corners of the Empire outside the major urban centers (Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, Thessaloniki). The most famous cases were the Sampson hospital in Constantinople, and an hospice attached to the Imperial monastery of Christ Pantokrator in Constantinople, founded by Emperor Ioannes II Komnenos (1118-1143). The danger with such ‘unique’ cases is that they are perhaps not that typical for a reality which seems to have existed throughout the Byzantine Empire. But even the big hospitals testify of per capita supply of about fifty hospital beds in Constantinople. Such would hardly meet the needs of the city which was at that time the most populated Medieval town in Europe. Though there are some indications of medical staff, most attendants seem to have been monks. The treatment seemed to have been curative, rather than functioning as a hospice for those suffering from a chronic disability.33 On the other hand, houses for the poor (ptochotropheia) cannot and need not be distinguished that sharply from institutions we would view as medical. In all, we are poorly informed about the flow and the number of sick people receiving treatment in Byzantine health care foundations. The circumstances under which people could find a place in them, let alone the potential duration of their stay is mostly unknown. Surely, admission to a hospital was not a self-evident and recurrent reality for every sick person: family care remained the first option. We should imagine favoritism and social patronage as key elements in the decision to take patients in.34 As for specialisation of such Byzantine hospitals, very practical criteria of categories easily discernable seem to have played a role: brephotropheia taking care of young infants (orphans), tuphlokomeia for the blind, houses for fallen women (the rehabilitation of prostitutes), as well as hospices who provided carer for the lepers, the 31 32 33 34

Horden, 2005, pp. 365-369. Downer, 2017, pp. 367-368. Efthymiadis, 2017, pp. 392-395. Horden, 2008, pp. 45-74.

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so-called leprokomeia, as St Sampson’s hospital, the most famous leprosarium in the City of Constantinople.35 No special mental asylums seem to have existed, despite the claim about a morokomeion in late ancient Jerusalem; the term does not even exist in Byzantine Greek. There is no doubt that the insane were sometimes included in the institutions as described above, though it rather looks as if the chronically possessed were explicitly excluded from Byzantine hospitals, the sanctuary or the home being preferable.36 Some spaces could de facto evolve into gathering places where an amalgam of people suffering from a wide array of ‘mental’ diseases, be it viewed as caused by disturbed bodily humours or by demons, gathered. A sixth-century provision for a monastery in Jericho for demented ascetics by Saint Theodosius might have somehow resembled a mental asylum, but we also learn that their dementia was caused by their being over-zealous.37 Any Byzantine hospital could be turned into a house where the possessed where in the majority, as witnessed in in the seventh-century Life of Theodore. Other hospitals were connected to shrines, and some became places where especially people ‘tortured by spirits’ gathered and found healing, as the clinic of Cosmas and Damian or the Anasteseion (the church of St Anastasia) in Constantinople.38

Islamic cultures: taking up the tradition, and further specialising? The early Islamic tradition took over the institution of the hospital and the Greek medical tradition. At the same time, it seems as if this tradition was specific on at least one point: special asylums for the insane apparently existed in various towns of the Islamic East. Greek medicine spread to the East. As such, the existence of a hospital (bimārestān) is attested in the Sasanian period in Iran: it was founded in the city of Gondēshāpur possibly under the order of Khusro I Anushirvān (531-579). This hospital also consisted of a medical school which received philosophers from the Eastern Roman Empire, after Justinian had closed the School of Athens in 529. At the same time, the institution hosted Syrianspeaking professionals who had been deported. The School of Gondēshāpur 35 36 37 38

Constantelos, 1991. Horden, 2008, pp. 185-186. Horden, 2008, pp. 185-186. Wittmann, 1967; Horden, 2009, pp. 271-273 and, in general, Ivanov, 2006.

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soon became one of the most important scientific centres of the period where Greek and Indian medical traditions were studied and developed.39 Scholars of early Islam have pointed to the fact that early ninth century Islamic hospitals of Baghdad were modelled on the East Christian xenodocheia. In 790, Timothy who was the patriarch of the Eastern Church in Baghdad, and an important figure at the Abbaside cour, describes a hospital which he refers to with the Greek name xenodocheion and the Persian bimārestān, as a large building which he had accommodated.40 The earliest evidence on specialized care for the insane comes from Cairo in the year 872-873, when Ahmad ibn Tulun, the Abbasid governor of Egypt, is said to have founded a welfare institution where also insane were guarded. 41 The sad everyday reality of the madmen in Basra is attested with anecdotical details for the year 953 by at-Tanukhi. 42 During the years 1160-1173, the Medieval traveller Rabbi Benjamin reports on a large building in Baghdad, called Dar al-Maristan, where the demented who had become insane due to the great heat of summer had been imprisoned. They where kept in iron chains, until they were restored by winter time (and consequently released? the text does not tell). The charity of the caliph of Baghdad for the sick or the insane is explicitly mentioned by this Jewish author. 43 In 1183, the Muslim traveller Ibn Jubayr described the Nasiri hospital in Cairo, again a building for confinement of the insane, with a system of treatment for the madmen, who were enchained. In 1185, the same traveller mentions two hospitals, one old and one new, with treatment for confined lunatics, in Damascus. 44 In 1354, the governor of Mamluk sultan al-Nasir founded a hospital in Aleppo. For this hospital flowers, pools, and music are mentioned as well as separation of male and female patients; a rare instance in which the gendered aspect of the matter is touched upon. 45 The most famous hospital throughout the Islamic world is the Bimaristan al Mansuri, a house of healing founded in 1284 by the Egyptian sultan al-Mansur Qala’un, a large and sumptuous complex which attracted the attention of (Ottoman) visitors up to the nineteenth century. Seventeenth-century Turkish traveller Evliya Chelibi has described the place in great detail: specialized medical personnel with apprentices (even gathered in a guild), various sorts of treatment 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Coloru, 2017, p. 66. Dols, 1992, pp. 114-117. Dols, 1992, p. 117. Dols, 1992, pp. 117-119. Dols, 1992, pp. 119-120. Dols, 1992, pp. 120-121. Dols, 1992, p. 121.

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(including unpleasant and gloomy conditions), the insane being cured after forty days, a separate section for women, possibilities for visitors. 46 A last description is due to Leo Africanus, who depicts the hospital of Fez in Morocco which he saw around 1517. Here the insane were bound in strong iron chains, and repeatedly thrashed by means of a whip. 47 Despite all these descriptions, it is impossible to estimate the numbers of insane patients in such institutions, but even the biggest of all, the Mansuri hospital, contained only a few dozen patients at one time; a very small number compared to the entire population of Cairo. After such descriptions one would like to know whether these Islamic asylums for the insane were really so distinct from the Westerns tradition, and, if such is the case, how to explain this marked Islamic tradition. As will be clear from paragraph about the Latin Medieval West, one should be careful in overemphasising the uniqueness of the Arabic cases. In all, the account on the undoubtedly rather big and impressive Islamic hospitals should be explained by various factors: the attention paid to them by travellers in their narrations on conspicuous consumption, sumptuous buildings, and freaky inhabitants; the larger population of Medieval Islamic cities; and the keenness of rulers to emphasize both their own charity and wealth. By sponsoring such care centres, these rulers proudly continued Byzantine and Persian practice. Indeed, they liked to view themselves as such continuators. Be this as it may, scholars have been tempted to search for specific differences between the Christian tradition and the Islamic tradition as madness is concerned. 48 A first explanation runs as follows. The Islamic tradition did not view insanity as a consequence of sin. Therefore, the insane were more likely to be of subject of medical healing. This, however, is a gross simplification of both the Christian and the Islamic views on sin and healing. In fact, both traditions now and then viewed (mental) illness as a divine punishment, but more often they emphasized rather the contrary, with God not being directly responsible for suffering, surely in the case of children. 49 Another explanation departs from the strong survival of Graeco-Roman medicine in Islamic hospitals. This caused Islamic doctors to go on in the tradition of the ancient physicians, while western practice rather categorized mental patients in the category of the possessed. Again, this interpretation 46 47 48 49

Dols, 1992, pp. 121-127. Dols, 1992, pp. 127-128. Dols, 1984. Ghaly, 2009; Kelley, 2009.

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does injustice to both traditions. Also the Latin West discerned between madness as a case for doctors, and possession as a case for priests, though in practice such distinctions were not easy to make.50 Moreover, western monasticism to a certain extent emphasized the importance for monks to study the ancient herbal and medical lore. On the other hand, the Islamic tradition had always known the jinn as the possessed. It is somehow anachronistic to distinguish too sharply between folk medicine and belief on the one hand, and science on the other hand. The Islamic hospitals should rather be seen as melting pots of practices, where one could find folkloric practices alongside the most learned Greek approaches to treatment. One particularly resilient form, practiced then and today, is prophetic medicine, that was rooted in pre-Islamic Arabia and heralded as a spiritualist alternative to the non-Muslim Greek school of medicine.51

What happened in the Latin West? The Middle Ages Both scholarly opinion and popular perception has held for a long time that the West did it less better. It was claimed that there were hardly any hospitals in the Early Middle Ages in the West of Europe, that they never reached the scale of their Byzantine or Islamic counterparts, and that there surely were no mental asylums in this part of the Medieval world. In this section, I will argue that such claims, though not entirely wrong, need to be nuanced. Also, I will try to explain the difference between East and West, which will turn out to be partly a matter of perception, and partly based on demographic facts. The harder one searches, the more one finds. This might be a suitable motto for research on hospitals in the Merovingian and the Carolingian Middle Ages. Indeed, Merovingian writers even referred to hospitals as a phenomenon they recognized as typical for the East: orientalium more secutus. In all, Merovingian Gaul counted no less than 34 guesthouses or xenodocheia, connected to cities all over the country. They existed next to the institution of the matricularii, those inscribed for help on the list of monasteries, regularly getting help from the monks and living in the close environment of the cloister.52 As monks were allowed and sometimes 50 Metzler, 2016; note also the careful distinction between madness and possession made in canon law in West and East, Pickett, 1952, p. 54-55 and Trenchard-Smith, 2010, p. 44. 51 Gaumer, 2017, p. 413. 52 Sternberg, 1991.

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encouraged to read the ancient physicians, we may suspect that they had some medical lore to help patients with all sorts of treatment.53 We know very little on concrete numbers of people in these institutions, but the evidence we have suggests no more than some tens per centre.54 Regions which somehow kept the urban traditions despite the shrinking population numbers, seem to have had a continuing tradition of hospital like charitable institutions, as was the case for Italy and more specifically for the City of Rome.55 Even the possibility of specialisation cannot be ruled out, though obviously most of the charitable institutions were concerned with the rather vague category of debiles, which included the poor and needy homeless, as well as the chronicly ill or what we would call the mentally or the physically disabled. Now and then, we read about the possessed gathered together at an atrium of a shrine for a longer time.56 Already around year 400, there were the chronically possessed who gathered at the shrine of St Martin of Tours, and two hundred years later Gregory of Tours describes a shrine madman, who cured himself after a protracted diet of four months.57 The leprous were the first category to be consigned in special houses or care centers.58 But the Merovingian authors also point to young children (in brephotropheia) and old aged people gathered together in special places.59 As for mental asylums, there is Gregory’s the Great report of a priest miraculously curing an insane by the laying on of hands and prayer. The patients stayed in ‘a house of the sick’, where he disturbed the other sick people with his immense clamour and screams.60 It is perfectly possible to imagine the insane being housed next to other patients in these Merovingian hospitals, with or without them being viewed as possessed by demons. On a practical level, they might have benefited from some support, cure, or treatment. The story of hospitals in the Medieval West continues as follows. In the Carolingian age, most of such institutions were attached to big monasteries, and evolved into guest houses where pilgrims were hosted. Indeed, at least the Frankish lands were rural in character, with only a few small cities. The 53 Sternberg, 1991, p. 166; see also Horden, 2009, pp. 263-266 on Galenic theories on causation of madness with Christian writers. 54 Sternberg, 1991, p. 36. 55 Horden, 2009, p. 269 and Dey, 2008 on Rome. 56 Sternberg, 1991, pp. 99-100. 57 Horden, 2009, pp. 273-274. 58 Sternberg, 1991, p. 171 and pp. 217-221. 59 Sternberg, 1991, p. 269 and 252. 60 Horden, 2009, p. 261.

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new rise of cities in Flanders and Italy and to a less extent in England in the eleventh and twelfth century meant an increase of hospital institutions. They were mostly concerned with the care for the ‘sick poor’. This ‘medecine without doctors’ was often practiced by religious orders, and processes of religious healing (relics, confession) intermingled with non-doctoral doctoring, which nevertheless might have attained a degree of efficiency.61 Specialisation was again a matter of practical approach. In fourteenth century England, an abortive attempt was made to found a hospital for insane priests, or those who had lost their memory. The project failed by lack of money.62 The Ospedale degli Innocenti, the famous institution for orphaned infants and foundlings in Florence, stands out as the most known and best documented instance of specialized care centres. At the end of the Middle Ages, institutional care for the mentally ill became more acceptable across Europe, though still in very small scale. An analysis of literature on Medieval charitable institutions in Britain c. 1066-1600 suggests that a popular concept of intellectual impairment did exist. Some people with intellectual impairments were found in facilities as almshouses. Examples include St. John the Baptist in Chester or the Priory of St. Mary of Bethlehem hospital, which took in mentally incapacitated persons as well as the poor.63 However, the support was neither extensive nor based on any medical or psychological construction of intellectual impairment. Rather, this support was on the basis of poverty.64 Both for the East and the Latin West, the phenomenon of hospitals was profoundly connected with the urban environment. This already explains a first difference. Since no cities in the West before the fourteenth century ever reached the numbers of population which we see in the Byzantine or the Islamic East, no comparable big charitable institutions can reasonably be expected up to the late Middle Ages. In the largely feudal West, no rulers of empires of the scale and organisation as the Byzantine, the Abbasid, or the Mamluk dynasty existed. As wealthy patrons, such emperors have been known to stress their evergetism; again, no such thing can reasonably be expected for the West. A third difference lies in the sources: up to the High Middle Ages, no detailled travellers’ accounts, cherishing the memory of the mirabilia of towns as we encounter them for the East, have been preserved. This may be a matter of different emphasis, since after all there 61 62 63 64

Horden, 2007. Metzler, 2017, p. 463. Turner, 2017, p. 387. Stainton, 2001.

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were charitable institutions in the West which although smaller in scale and less lavish in appearance could be compared. But again, behind this lies a reality of towns of smaller scales and rulers of lesser means.

The Modern Period: a brief comparison By the beginning of the Modern Age, various factors slowly and gradually lead to modified attitudes towards the insane in the West of Europe. Indeed, the Cartesian and Lockian approach which stressed the separation of the mind and the body, and the increasing distancing of the individual towards the world need to be understood in a New World, where wit and fast thinking became essential features of the economic and administrative structures of society.65 Famously, Norbert Elias has pointed in his civilizing theory to the way in which particular individual psychic structures were molded by social attitudes. To Elias, post-Medieval European standards regarding violence, sexual behaviour, bodily functions, table manners, and forms of speech were gradually transformed by increasing thresholds of shame and repugnance. Such internalized ‘self-restraint’ imposed by increasingly complex networks of social connections developed the distancing and ‘psychological’ selfperceptions.66 Also, the Reformation sometimes fostered the idea that one needed to work in order to gain his life (based on 2 Thess 3:10). In the early Modern Age, more examples of specialized mental hospitals are known. Sixteenth century Hohen hospitals in Hessen only accepted people with chronic infirmities, and those with mental conditions formed the major part.67 The second part of Don Quixot, published in 1615, in the first chapter contains the story about the madman from Sevilla, who was detained in a house for the mad (la casa de los locos). Here, one reads revealing information about madmen held in cages, their being naked, or having special cloths during the time of detention. Tellingly, it is presumed that after an enquiry in the form of a conversation, it could be proven that a lunatic had returned to his senses. In such case, he was free to go. Processes of state formation, with new states longing for healthy citizens, combined with growing demographic and economic pressure, due to industrialisation in the eighteenth century, contributed to what has been called the economy of madness. Of course, cities in the past had always seen 65 Goodey, 2011. 66 Elias,1969. 67 Vanja, 2017.

318 Christian L aes

an amount of needy and insane people in towns, who did not have family support to rely on. But now, we see the numbers obviously increasing. It is exactly such process, combined with the intellectual attitudes which had spread in the Modern Period, that gave rise to first specialized mental institutions in the eighteenth century, be it by bourgeois initiative or by religious orders.68 The term psychiatrics was only coined in 1808. For really larger institutes, endowed with medical personnel who took care of the insane, we have to wait till the nineteenth century, with the London Royal Earlswood Hospital, founded in 1853 as the most obvious example.69 But the process seems to have been identical all over Europe, from the Low Countries and France up to Scandinavia and Russia: first came demographical expansion and industrialisation, followed by pressure on expanding cities, at which moment the new approach of psychology took over. Specialized mental hospitals came in the nineteenth century, and they were closely connected with social phenomena as the birth of a new middle class, the awareness of public space, liberal discourse on human progress, and the sanitary discourse which linked health with wealth, focused on hygiene and marked fellow humans as potential transmitters of disease or bad habits. There is thus no need to overstress a new process of exclusion, as Foucault sees it starting in the seventeenth century: in a way, both exclusion and the communal aspect have always been part of the history of the madmen. In the end, pragmatical solutions shaped the new approach to madmen’s colonies and institutions, which were either founded in mental hospitals in towns, or on safe and separate places as islets. But such approaches had indeed long been prepared in the shaping of western psychology, which needs to be understood in the profoundly changed context of the New World. In the Ottoman Empire, madmen asylums continued to exist as they had been there for centuries, but due to the later industrialiation and the absence of the western concept of psychiatry, this medicine of the soul was profoundly different from what was taken place in the West.

Conclusions At least three factors seem to have played a decisive role in the formation of specialized institutes for those whose behaviour was somehow considered insane. These three elements may have interplayed in various degrees and 68 Andrews and Scull, 2003. 69 Shorter, 1997.

Mental Hospitals in Pre-Modern Socie t y


to different extents in a variety of cultural environments, which makes the search for the first mental hospital ever a rather fruitless enterprise. Indeed, recent research not only reveals that instances may still be found when one delves deeper into not yet well explored sources. It also makes clear how some texts only hint at situations which were taking place and were taken for granted, without the writer being really interested in fully describing the matter. Other writers such as the oriental travellers were much more keen on offering elaborate descriptions, giving us rich accounts and anecdotes of everyday reality in large mental hospitals. Religious-ethical motivations, fueled by ambitions of mighty rulers might have played a role in the Buddhist (and maybe the Zoroastrian) attempts for charity at a larger scale. The Christian tradition undoubtedly initiated the institution of hospitals. Muslim hospitals came of dawn in the ninth century, and the Islamic writers themselves acknowledged the roots of such hospitals lying in Christian and Persian culture. Here, memory plays an important role: not only to emphasize the lavishness and luxury of one’s own culture, but also to stress the continuation of a tradition of Late Antiquity. Contrary to these civilisations, we see other sophisticated societies as the Sumerian, the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, or Graeco-Roman, which knew de facto gathering together of sick and poor people at temples, and perhaps in very specific contexts as a military camp or a slave holders cazern, but never acknowledged the explicitly ethically imposed intention of providing care for the destitute for a longer period. The inclusion of the possessed into the numbers of those who could possibly be healed by the Christian God thanks to prayers or by the interference of saints or relics was a second crucial factor. We may imagine such people gathering in churches, shrines, or houses which were known to perform exorcism, and staying there for a more or less extended times span. All this was different from previous civilisations, where the insane were usually kept far away for sanctuaries. Here, identity was very much at stake: madmen were now acknowledged as one of the categories (together with the lame, the blind, the deaf, the mute, and the leprous) who might expect healing from attending shrines or meeting saints, who imitated the miracles of Christ. Moreover, the decision of whether people had to be permanently kept in a hospital for the mad could add to their being stigmatized and excluded as ‘hopeless’ cases. The references to the mad of Baghdad returning home in winter, after the heat of the summer had gone, or to the madman of Sevilla in Don Quixot whose sensible talk could have released him from the house of the lunatics surely point in this direction. From the Christian perspective, the observation that apparently nothing helped to receive

320 Christian L aes

healing possibly constituted another form of exclusion. It somehow shifted the burden from the doctors/healers to the sick individual, who was judged as an ‘hopeless’ case. Numbers and demographics were a third factor of decisive importance. Not that they explain everything. We may imagine cities as sixth century bce Babylon and Alexandria in Roman times as environments with about 500,000 inhabitants, while Rome reached the enormous number of about one million. None of these cities had anything as hospitals, and apart from a single reference to madmen wandering around in the streets as beggars or entertainers, or just trying to make a living; there is not a single clue about such lives at the border of society. The big cities of the Middle Ages as Constantinople, Cairo, Damascus, or Baghdad had a similar amount of population. For these environments, hospitals even with possible specialisation for the madmen are attested, though it is again most unsure whether the numbers of patients whom the personnel or monks took care of in any way matched the amount of madmen who were wandering around in the streets or being kept inside the houses of their families. The actual separation of the mentally deranged in specialized care centres is a western late eighteenth and mostly nineteenth century phenomenon, to be explained by demographic explosion and massive migration to the urban centres with the collapsing of family ties and obligations which had been reigning the rural areas for over thousand years. Such seclusion was indeed prepared by the shaping of psychology in Early Modern Europe. As such, the big mental hospitals of the nineteenth century can in no way to be compared with their Medieval Islamic predecessors. The comparison with developments of the last centuries makes clear how the study of pre-modern history is firmly and deeply imbued with morals as the decisive explanatory factor for historical change. As such, most of our ancient accounts on houses for the madmen insist on the goodness of enlightened rulers providing care, or on exemplary saints and patrons somehow specialising inn the matter. The study of such motives is valuable in its own way. But ultimately, it is sociological and demographical factors that gave rise to the big change for mental hospitals. Pre-modern historians often and as it were unconsciously rely on vice and morals as explanatory factors. Modern historians count on sociology. To an historian of premodern societies, the comparative encounter is sobering, but also revealing. It sets their subject of study in a new and different light. It explains why it is indeed justified to study a phenomenon as mental hospitals in such a broad period and a wide geographica area. And it clearly sets out why and how pre-modern practices and societies were indeed fundamentally

Mental Hospitals in Pre-Modern Socie t y


different from the later context. More of such encounters are needed. It is to be hoped that they will be enlightening and illuminating, to historians of all periods and cultures. In the end, that is why we need comparative history.

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About the Author Dr Christian Laes is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manchester, and Professor of Ancient History and Latin at the University of Antwerp.

Index Aeneas 141, 181-182, 187-191, 193-199, 209 Antony 158, 161-165, 166-171, 174-175 age 21, 50, 99-100, 107, 110, 114, 116, 121, 135, 138, 157-168, 170-176, 204, 209, 256 agency 41-44, 46, 48-51, 55-59, 63-65, 86, 107, 118, 270 agrarian (farm) economy 89-101 Anna (of Carthage) 30, 181-184, 186-191, 193-194, 196, 199 Antoninus Pius 72, 107-111, 115-117, 119 Athens 252, 284-293, 295-297, 305, 311 Atticus 162-164, 172-176 Attis 65, 73-78, 81, 83, 85, 209 bars 31-32, 97, 203-206, 208 Alexander the Great 28, 131-153, 159-160 Antinoos 33, 283-284, 294-296 Augustus (see also Octavian) 29-30, 69, 71, 98, 108, 119, 134-135, 139-140, 148, 153, 157-160, 164, 167, 169, 170-176, 182-185, 194-196, 292 authority 20-22, 24, 26, 41-44, 46-47, 49-50, 53, 55-59, 68, 85, 99, 140, 257 Bellona 65, 73-74, 78-80, 85 Bona Dea 65-71, 84-85 boys 112, 114-115, 138, 158, 160, 162-166, 171, 176, 194, 217, 270 brother 109-110, 113, 115, 117-119, 121, 161-162, 164, 169, 188, 196, 248 Byzantium 206, 245, 301, 310-311, 313-314, 316 Caesar, Julius 134, 147, 151, 159, 161-166, 168, 170-171, 174 Carthage, Carthaginians 30, 181-182, 184, 187-193, 196-199, 260-261, 264, 284, Cato (the Elder) 89-96, 191 childhood 138-141, 145-146, 160, 274, 289 celebrations 21, 30-31, 66-67, 85, 116-117, 185-187, 196, 245, 251-255, 261, 263-272 children 26, 44, 46, 50-54, 56, 94, 99-100, 107-108, 110, 112-113, 115, 117, 119, 121, 125, 138, 145-146, 160, 169-170, 191, 223, 248, 254, 263, 265-266, 269-270, 273, 295, 313, 315 Christianity, Christians 21, 23-24, 28, 32-34, 45, 53, 63-65, 81, 132, 141-147, 150-153, 239, 241-242, 246, 250, 256-257, 262-263, 266, 268, 275-276, 283-284, 296-297, 302-303, 307-310, 312-323, 315, 319 Cicero, Marcus Tullius 45, 68-69, 160, 162-168, 171-174, 176, 198, 210, 259 city, city-state (see also polis) 29, 47, 57, 63-65, 70, 82, 98, 106, 114-116, 118, 122-125, 149, 151, 187, 189-190, 193-194, 196, 198, 210-211, 227, 241, 247, 251-252, 257, 260, 263-264, 270-271, 274, 286-287, 289, 294-296, 306, 310-311 church 26, 151, 239-240, 245, 247-251, 257, 265, 268-270, 274, 309-312, 319

citizens, citizenship 29, 34, 48, 64, 73, 77, 99, 114, 116, 120, 122-123, 135, 141, 162-163, 170, 195, 197, 244, 251-252, 263, 269, 272, 276, 285-288, 290, 294-296, 304-305,0308, 317 clothes, clothing 31, 95-96, 98, 161, 204-208, 210, 212-214, 217, 219, 230, 306, 317 coins 31, 108, 111-112, 114, 117, 121, 139, 170-171, 185, 261, 293-294 Columella 90-93, 95-98 cults 25, 32, 49, 56, 67, 72-73, 83, 105-125, 143-144, 161, 170, 172, 193-194, 257-158, 261, 269, 290-294, 309 culture 19-35, 51, 55-56, 58-59, 65, 108, 125, 131-133, 136, 141-142, 146-148, 150, 152-153, 159, 161, 175, 181-186, 192, 196, 198-199, 203-205, 208-213, 217, 231, 239-255, 257-259, 262-263, 265-268, 270-276, 283-284, 286, 288-289, 295-296, 301-303, 307, 311, 319, 321 daughters 26, 32, 49, 56, 67, 72-73, 83, 105-125, 143-144, 161, 170, 172, 193-194, 257-258, 261, 269, 290-294, 309 Demeter 32, 86, 116, 239, 241, 257-264, 266, 275-276, 287-288, 291-292 demonic possession 308-309 Diana 84, 207, 217-218, 231 Dido 30, 181-182, 187-191, 193, 196, 198-199 dress 30-32, 170, 203-207, 209-210, 212-213, 215, 217, 219, 221-222, 225, 230-231, 248, 264, 266, 268, 270, 287, 291-292 effeminacy 28, 148, 208-210 Egypt, Egyptian 44, 50-51, 53, 58, 65, 74, 81-83, 85, 143, 187, 226, 228, 292-297, 303, 306, 310, 312, 319 emperor 21-22, 24, 26, 28-30, 33, 71-73, 80-82, 98, 105-106, 108-118, 120-125, 132, 134-142, 144, 147-150, 153, 160, 170, 172, 174, 183-185, 195, 205, 283-286, 289-291, 294, 296, 310, 316 empress 26, 71-72, 106, 111-116, 119, 124-125, 283-284, 293-294, 296 epigraphy 24-25, 44, 52, 56, 58, 63, 65-66, 70-71, 75, 77, 81-82, 84, 90, 95, 97-99, 101, 106-107, 114, 117, 120, 123 ethnicity 34, 4148, 63, 65, 73, 108, 131-133, 147, 150, 152, 204, 208-209, 211, 221, 270, 283, 285, 295 family 24, 27, 30, 33, 42, 47-49, 51, 54, 57, 59, 63-64, 68-73, 76, 79-82, 84-86, 93-94, 99-100, 105-106, 108-122, 124-125, 135, 139, 144, 173, 189-190, 195, 202, 248, 258, 260, 262, 269-270, 288, 291, 293, 295, 303-304, 308, 310, 318, 320 Faustina (the Elder) 72, 119 Faustina (the Younger) 106-111, 113-122, 125 femininity 35, 42-46, 52-53, 55, 88-89, 70, 249


Gender, Memory, and Identit y in the Roman World

festivals 21, 30, 64, 66, 69, 77, 170, 185.187, 196, 240, 267, 273, 275, 293 forgetting 21, 284-285 gender 21-22, 24-27, 30-32, 34-35, 41, 46, 49, 55, 83-85, 89-90, 93, 97, 101, 105-108, 124, 131-133, 141, 143-146, 152, 181-182, 198, 203-204, 206, 209, 211, 224, 239, 244, 247-248, 270-271, 273, 283-284, 290, 296, 302, 312 girls 72, 96, 105, 108, 115-116, 125, 195, 203, 207, 210-211, 213, 217, 247-249, 255-256, 258, 261, 265-266, 268, 270, 272-275, 292 Greco-Roman 33, 54, 72, 147, 153, 222, 239, 295, 304-305, 307-309, 313, 319 Greece 33, 116, 133, 136, 153, 210, 252, 285-288, 290-291, 294, 296-297, 304, 309 Greek 23, 26, 31-34, 47, 50, 83, 105, 107, 114, 118, 122, 132, 134-135, 142, 144, 147, 152, 187, 194, 198, 203-204, 208-211, 213, 239-242, 244-247, 249-253, 256-257, 259, 261-262, 266, 274-275, 283-291, 293-297, 302, 311-312, 314 Hadrian 33, 82, 117, 139, 160, 283-287, 289-290, 292-297 heritage 147, 153, 239, 241-243, 252, 255, 267-269 historians, historiography 19, 28, 33, 75, 107, 110, 113, 135, 142, 147, 159, 192, 194, 198, 301, 303, 309, 320-321 homosexuality 161, 272 hospitals 34, 265, 268, 301-303, 305-320 husband 25, 30, 47, 52, 71-73, 76, 78-79, 81, 86, 91, 93-94, 107-108, 110-111, 113, 119, 121-122, 144-145, 169-170, 172, 191, 195-197, 199, 219, 247-248, 256, 258 iconography 31, 90, 95, 97-98, 203-204, 207208, 214, 217, 220-222, 226, 255-256, 258, 261 identity 19-22, 25, 27-35, 56-57, 59, 63-64, 73, 75, 79-80, 85, 89-90, 99, 107-108, 115-116, 120, 125, 131-133, 146-147, 149-152, 157, 175, 181-183, 185, 187, 191-194, 198-199, 203-207, 209-211, 220-221, 230-231, 239, 242, 244, 246-247, 249-252, 255, 258-260, 262, 267-272, 274-276, 283-285, 288-290, 292-297, 301, 319 inns 31-32, 303-207, 209, 211-214, 230 inscriptions 24, 26-27, 29, 31, 51-53, 56-58, 65-67, 69-70, 72-73, 57-84, 98, 113, 115, 117-124, 160, 171, 176, 256, 284, 286, 288-293, 297, 304-305, 308 Italy 28, 44, 46-47, 53, 66, 71, 90, 106, 122, 148, 169, 187-189, 190, 194, 197, 239-240, 243-244, 253-254, 265-266, 271-274, 309, 315-316 Isis 81-85, 212-213, 228, 231, 292-293 Islam 301, 303, 311-314, 316, 319-320 jewellery 31-32, 203, 205-206, 222-231, 248, 291

Kore 32, 116, 239, 241, 248, 257-259, 261-264, 266, 275-276, 287 Lavinia 187, 193-199 Lepidus 158, 161, 168 Lucilla 106-107, 109, 111-116 law 22, 30, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50-51, 94, 184, 195-196, 288, 294-295, 314 life stages 30, 107, 157-158, 165, 174-175 Macedonia 137, 143, 147-149, 153 Magna Mater 73-78, 80-81, 83-86, 211 Marcus Aurelius 105-107, 109-114, 116-125, 297 marriage 30, 51-52, 63, 68, 71-72, 84-85, 93-94, 97-99, 101, 108-112, 116-117, 121-122, 125, 161, 169-170, 172-173, 175, 181, 184, 191, 193-199, 247-248, 255, 258, 262, 264, 273, 288 masculinity 27-28, 35, 45, 131-135, 138-142, 144, 147, 152, 182, 231 memory 20-22, 24, 26-28, 30-32, 34-35, 41, 44, 56-57, 63, 89, 107-109, 114-115, 117, 125, 133, 139, 147-148, 152, 157-160, 173, 175, 181-182, 192, 198, 203-204, 208, 217, 239, 263, 267, 283-285, 289-291, 294, 296-297, 302, 316, 319 men 25, 27-30, 34, 44, 49-49, 51, 55, 57, 66-68, 70-71, 74, 79-80, 82-86, 89-91, 95-97, 99-100, 107, 110, 112, 118, 123, 131-139, 141-146, 152-153, 157-159, 161-162, 164, 166-168, 170-176, 186, 189, 194-197, 214-215, 221-222, 229, 248, 258, 263, 270, 272-273, 284, 288, 293, 298, 305-306, 309 mental health 34, 301-307, 309-311, 313, 315-316, 320 military, militarism 28, 45, 134-135, 138-140, 148, 151, 161, 166, 182, 207, 249, 260, 264, 308, 319 Mithraism 84, 209 monuments 21, 24-27, 30-31, 34, 56, 105, 107, 109, 112, 114-118, 125, 173-174, 182, 185, 217, 241-242, 247, 250-251, 253, 259, 289-290, 297 morality 27, 30, 34, 98, 132, 142, 145-147, 149, 182-184, 192, 195-196, 204-205, 208, 214, 302, 320 mythology 32, 139, 141, 185, 187, 197, 207-208, 219, 231, 241, 257 Octavian (see also Augustus) 140, 157-158 old age 158-159, 161-162, 164, 167, 173-176, 187, 189-203, 213, 222, 229, 274, 305, 315 Olympias 131, 133, 139, 143, 145 Ostia 25, 49, 63-86, 107, 118-120, 189, 216, 219-220, 309 Ovid 30, 181, 183, 190, 192-194, 196-199, 207, 209 paganism 21, 28, 32, 142-143, 145-147, 150-152, 240-242, 246, 262-263, 268, 271, 284, 309 panhellenism 283, 285-287, 289, 296



papyri 24, 44-45, 51, 56-58, 187 Parthia 148, 161, 169, 208 patriarchalism 22-25, 54, 58, 108, 131, 133, 141, 144, 146, 182, 248-249, 255, 272-273 Persephone 258-260 Persia 135, 141-143, 148, 150, 153, 306, 312-313, 319 polis (see also city) 115-116, 252-253 poetry 181-190, 196-197, 199, 303, 217 Pompeii 7, 203, 205, 213-217, 219, 222-228, 230-231 power 21, 26, 29, 43-44, 46, 48, 55-56, 76, 86, 92, 105-106, 108, 110, 112, 114, 117, 120-122, 124, 139-143, 149, 167, 169, 171, 174, 185, 192, 198-199, 241-242, 246 prostitution 203, 205-207, 210-211, 213, 231, 301, 310 public space 25-26, 41-43, 46, 57, 59, 64, 114, 118, 239-240, 242-243, 246-247, 250-252, 256, 262-263, 268-270, 290, 318 religion 21 23-25, 32, 42, 63-66, 68-69, 71, 73, 75-77, 81, 83-86, 116, 143, 146, 150-151, 153, 182-183, 185, 195, 240-242, 246-247, 250-253, 255-257, 261-263, 265, 270-272, 274-276, 283-284, 291-293, 296-297 representation 25-26, 31, 34, 45-46, 49, 65, 95, 105-107, 109-112, 114, 118, 120-121, 125, 131-132, 137-138, 141, 147, 151-153, 157-158, 189, 191, 193, 195, 199, 204, 207, 215, 217, 219-220, 230-231, 242-243, 247, 251-252, 255, 262-264, 269, 272, 274, 283-284, 286, 288, 291-294, 297 Roman Empire 21-24, 26-35, 41, 45, 47-49, 53-54, 57-58, 63, 70, 75, 85, 105-106, 108-109, 113-115, 121, 125, 132-136, 138-140, 142-144, 146-153, 158, 176, 187-188, 197, 203, 226, 246, 284, 286, 288, 294, 303-304, 306 Roman Republic 21, 23, 28-29, 63, 65-68, 71, 84, 86, 108, 135, 162, 164, 171-175, 182, 184, 192, 194, 197 Rome (city) 47, 64, 71, 74, 118, 167, 197, 315 Sabina 33, 106-107, 110, 113, 118, 122-125, 283-284, 293-296 Saint Lucia 32, 239, 242, 244-253, 255-257, 259-272, 274-276 sanctuary 24, 65-70, 75, 79, 82-86, 253, 256, 259, 264, 271, 288, 291-293

seclusion 301, 303, 306, 320 Serapis 81-83, 293 sexuality 19, 35, 133, 139, 142, 145, 161, 170, 186, 210, 239, 248-249, 255, 257-258, 262, 264-265, 272-273, 275-276, 317 sister 82, 108, 110, 112-114, 119-120, 122-123, 125, 144, 169, 181-182, 187-191, 193, 198, 248, 291, 293 slaves 27, 34, 46, 64, 70, 78, 84, 86, 91-100, 133, 160, 203-205, 207-208, 213, 223, 226, 308, 319 sons 54, 106, 108-110, 112, 114, 122, 124, 137, 139, 143-144, 146, 149, 168-170, 172-174, 195, 259, 290-291, 305 Sweden 33, 239, 255, 265-271, 273-275 Syracuse 208, 239-242, 244-247, 249, 251-253, 256, 259-264, 271-276 Syria, Syrians 121, 148, 208-211, 311 temple 64-71, 74, 78, 80, 82-83, 85, 140, 160, 170, 173, 176, 195, 195, 198, 239-242, 244, 246-247, 250, 252, 256-257, 260, 264, 285-286, 292-293, 297, 304-305, 308, 319 textile production 89, 94-96, 98-99 tourism 239-240, 242, 255, 271-272 tradition, traditionalism 20, 24-25, 27, 29-30, 32-35, 42, 45, 47-48, 51, 58-59, 63, 65, 69, 71-72, 74, 85-86, 96-99, 101, 132, 134, 140-147, 149-151, 162, 172, 174, 181-182, 185, 193, 197-198, 239-240, 243, 245-246, 248, 250, 2252, 254257, 260-261, 265-274, 303-308, 310-315, 319 Varro 90, 92, 95, 100, 159, 164, 174-176, 209 Virgil 30, 181, 183-185, 187-194, 196, 198-199, 209 wife 25, 33, 52, 67-69, 71-73, 75-76, 78, 83, 86, 93, 97-98, 101, 111-113, 143-145, 169-170, 172, 193-194, 197, 199, 248, 256, 288, 290-292 women 22-28, 30-31, 34-35, 41-59, 63-71, 73-75, 77-86, 89-101, 105-108, 111, 114-116, 119-121, 123-125, 131, 133, 141-147, 152, 182, 184, 186-187, 193-197, 204-210, 213-215, 219-223, 230-231, 249, 258, 262-263, 266, 268, 272-273, 275, 288, 290-293, 295, 297, 302, 304, 306, 309-310, 313 youth 29-30, 136, 138, 157, 162, 166-167, 170, 173-174, 176, 191, 151, 175