Roles of Women In Ancient Rome

Women were considered citizens of Rome who could not vote or hold political office.

Weddings

Wedding dresses were traditionally red, orange, or yellow. The wedding veil was usually flaming orange-red. There was a tradition of putting a gold ring on the bride's "wedding finger", which is similar to today's engagement traditions. One could have a "wedding" in many different ways, each still resulting in marriage: one was simply a consent of both parties, one was cohabiting for one year without the woman being absent for a total of three nights, or there was a symbolic form of purchase in the presence of a holder of a pair of scales and five witnesses, or having a ceremony in front of the Pontifex Maximus.

Marriage

The dowry for the bride would match the social standing of the prospective bridegroom. Women were usually married off anywhere from 12-14, some were married into their late teens, and sometimes more powerful families would have their children betrothed to increase social standing. Once a woman was married she was ruled by her husband's will instead of her father's. If both parties agreed, they could divorce without any real problems, other than minor gossip. Remarriage was also acceptable.

Roman Clothing

The dress for a Roman woman was called a stola. Usually this could be decorated or dyed depending on how wealthy the woman was. If it was cold, they could wear a pulla over their stola to keep warm. Belts were a very popular accessory, as were bracelets and necklaces. One could usually tell a woman's social standing by what she wore; a girl wearing short undyed clothing was usually poorer than a woman wearing longer, more colorful and more adorned clothing.

Roman Hairstyles

Many women, who could afford it, would have a slave specifically to do their hair. Many women would keep their hair long and simply put it up using pins or a hair band. Women would cut their hair short so they could wear a variety of wigs. Hair dye was popular in blonde and red.

Households

It was traditionally a woman's job to attend to the household. Wealthier women would simply hire slaves to do the work for them. But most women were in charge of raising the children, sewing, weaving, sweeping, tending the fire, and washing the clothes. Women were expected to have children (boys were encouraged), three was applauded but many only had one or two.

Vestal Virgins

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