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Title: Female Religious Officials in Republican Rome
Authors: DiLuzio, Meghan Jean
Advisors: Flower, Harriet I
Contributors: Classics Department
Subjects: Classical studies
Ancient history
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the evidence for female religious officials in the city of Rome during the period of the Republic. Official religious service has often been characterized as the exclusive preserve of the male elite. Indeed, many historians have argued that Roman women (with the exception of the Vestal Virgins) were categorically excluded from participating in public religion in an official capacity. The ancient evidence, on the other hand, clearly demonstrates that Roman religion required the participation of men and women of various social statuses. In addition to the Vestals, many women held official and often high profile positions in the public religious system. Those specifically attested in the ancient record include the sacerdotes of Ceres, Liber, Bona Dea and Fortuna Muliebris, the flaminica Dialis and the flaminica Martialis, the regina sacrorum, the wives of the thirty curiones, and magistrae and ministrae of various other cults. In Rome, numerous women were actively involved in public religion at the highest levels. Indeed, I argue in this dissertation that official religious service is the one area of public life in which Roman women assumed roles of comparable legitimacy and status to those of men. Although the specific ritual context was often different, female religious officials performed many of the same priestly acts - including animal sacrifice - carried out by their male colleagues. Official religious service allowed men and women to participate in the public life of the community on behalf of the Roman people. The dissertation is organized according to type of religious office. The first four chapters focus on the Vestal order, the only Roman collegium composed entirely of female members. The fifth and sixth chapters consider joint offices filled by married couples. The most familiar officials of this type are undoubtedly the rex and regina sacrorum and the flamen and flaminica Dialis, though I argue that the remaining flamines maiores and minores also had wives who held the official religious title "flaminica." I also discuss evidence for married priests who served the Roman curiae and perhaps the communities of the Seven Hills as well. In the final chapter, I examine religious offices filled by individual women, including the sacerdotes of Ceres, Fortuna Muliebris, Bona Dea, Liber and Bacchus. The chapter concludes with a consideration of evidence for female support personnel and religious specialists who are typically excluded from studies of the Roman "priest," but were nonetheless integral to the practice of Roman religion. The material in this dissertation provides a more complete picture of official religious service at Rome, one that emphasizes its complex and gender inclusive nature.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Classics

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