Women's Lives, Women's Voices
Roman Material Culture and Female Agency in the Bay of Naples
Sales Date: November 23, 2021
Literary evidence is often silent about the lives of women in antiquity, particularly those from the buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Even when women are considered, they are often seen through the lens of their male counterparts. In this collection, Brenda Longfellow and Molly Swetnam-Burland have gathered an outstanding group of scholars to give voice to both the elite and ordinary women living on the Bay of Naples before the eruption of Vesuvius.
Using visual, architectural, archaeological, and epigraphic evidence, the authors consider how women in the region interacted with their communities through family relationships, businesses, and religious practices, in ways that could complement or complicate their primary social roles as mothers, daughters, and wives. They explore women-run businesses from weaving and innkeeping to prostitution, consider representations of women in portraits and graffiti, and examine how women expressed their identities in the funerary realm. Providing a new model for studying women in the ancient world, Women’s Lives, Women’s Voices brings to light the day-to-day activities of women of all classes in Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The editors have assembled a group of talented researchers who span a couple of scholarly generations, from established names to newcomers who grant novel insights. The result is an impressive collection of essays that can and should take its place on the bookshelves of Roman social historians, Pompeianists, and scholars of women’s lives across other times and places.
— Jeremy HartnettThis volume challenges the reader to look for women in the archaeological record—even where they are not immediately visible—and to hear them in the silences. Giving voice to a wider cross-section of Pompeiian women, this volume makes an excellent contribution not only to Roman material culture studies of Pompeii, but also to female agency in the Roman world more broadly.
— AntiquityThese essays do much to make the fascinating archaeological material accessible.
— ShepherdA pathbreaking collection of essays that challenge us to rethink gender-based occupational stereotypes, Roman women’s identities and public participation in spheres exclusively associated with Roman elite men...Challenging familiar elitist-classicist standards dominating past scholarship, this book pushes women’s and gender studies, feminist art history, urban materiality, women’s local involvement and daily lives into a new era of research...this book is very useful for researchers as well as students, with enormous potential to shape future research on Roman women.
— CLARAWomen’s Lives, Women’s Voices is an incredibly important and enlightening volume for which its editors and contributors should be commended...Each chapter returns agency to one or another group of women in the Bay of Naples, and these re-centering efforts involve women of many more classes, statuses, and communities than is typical...The volume’s extensive bibliography, high production quality (including seventy-six figures and sixteen full-color plates), and relatively affordable price only enhance its utility and accessibility.
— Woman's Art JournalThe contributors bring novel approaches and interpretations to well-studied evidence...This volume offers innovative ways of looking at evidence, helps to correct the scholarly blindness of the past and unveils the diverse lives of the women who dwelt in Pompeii and Herculaneum.
— Journal of Roman Culture
- List of Illustrations
- Introduction. Negotiating Silence, Finding Voices, and Articulating Agency (Brenda Longfellow and Molly Swetnam-Burland)
- Part I. Public and Commercial Identities
- Chapter 1. Pompeian Women and the Making of a Material History (Lauren Hackworth Petersen)
- Chapter 2. Women’s Work? Investors, Money-Handlers, and Dealers (Molly Swetnam-Burland)
- Chapter 3. From Household to Workshop: Women, Weaving, and the Peculium (Lauren Caldwell)
- Chapter 4. Buying Power: The Public Priestesses of Pompeii (Barbara Kellum)
- Chapter 5. Real Estate for Profit: Julia Felix’s Property and the Forum Frieze (Eve D’Ambra)
- Part II. Women on Display
- Chapter 6. Contextualizing the Funerary and Honorific Portrait Statues of Women in Pompeii (Brenda Longfellow)
- Chapter 7. Portraits and Patrons: The Women of the Villa of the Mysteries in Their Social Context (Elaine K. Gazda)
- Chapter 8. “What’s in a Name?” Mapping Women’s Names from the Graffiti of Pompeii and Herculaneum (Erika Zimmermann Damer)
- Chapter 9. The Public and Private Lives of Pompeian Prostitutes (Sarah Levin-Richardson)
- Part III. Representing Women
- Chapter 10. Women, Art, Power, and Work in the House of the Chaste Lovers at Pompeii (Jennifer Trimble)
- Chapter 11. The House of the Triclinium (V.2.4) at Pompeii: The House of a “Courtesan”? (Luciana Jacobelli)
- Chapter 12. Sex on Display in Pompeii’s Tavern VII.7.18 (Jessica Powers)
- Chapter 13. Drawings of Women at Pompeii (Margaret L. Laird)
- Epilogue. The Complexity of Silence (Allison L. C. Emmerson)
- List of Contributors