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Big Era Four: Closeup Unit 4.5.3

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Women’s Life in Ancient Rome
200 BCE – 250 CE

Why This Unit?

Women in republican and imperial Rome had few rights. Among other things, they could neither vote nor hold magistracies (public offices). Yet, on occasion, some of them influenced politics, either individually or collectively.

Women’s contribution to the economy was not negligible. Some elite women owned and ran large businesses, and others were benefactors of their communities. More than a few non-elite women owned small stores. And many free and slave women labored in economically-productive jobs.

Whatever historical era or society students address, they should remember that women made up half the population, and they should be encouraged to ask the question: “What were women of all social classes doing?” In surveying the lives of free and slave women in ancient Rome from 200 BCE to 250 CE, students may consider changes that have occurred between that era and our own in the legal, social, political, and cultural position of women.

 

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Explain the contradictions in the ways both the law and the population generally viewed women within and outside their families.

2. Evaluate the roles of women of different classes in the economy, society, and religion.

3. Describe how some women participated in public life and the significance of this involvement.

4. Assess the reliability of primary sources as historical evidence.

 

Time and Materials

This unit should take 5 to 7 class periods to complete, depending on the length of the class and whether teachers choose to teach all parts of each lesson.

Materials required are textbooks and an LCD projector to show the PowerPoint presentation. For some activities students may need access to library books or the Internet.

Table of Contents

Why this unit?

2

Unit objectives

2

Time and materials

2

Author

2

The historical context

3

This unit in the Big Era timeline

8

Lesson 1: Women in Rome: Several Views

9

Lesson 2: Private Life

18

Lesson 3: Public Life

25

Lesson 4: Women's Occupations

31

Lesson 5: Religion and Magic

36

This unit and the Three Essential Questions

44

This unit and the Seven Key Themes

44

This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

44

Resources

45

Correlations to National and State Standards

47

Conceptual links to other teaching units

48

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

 

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer, download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.