Category: Women in Rome

Dr G is a specialist in Roman women, particularly the Vestal Virgin cult. In these episodes, we explore the representation of women that we can reconstruct from the source material and consider the implications of these representations.

June 4, 2018 /

The History of Ancient Greece and The Partial Historians Ryan Stitt, the host of the incredibly detailed and popular The History of Ancient Greece Podcast was kind enough to invite Dr G to discuss all things women and religion! In this special episode, we compare and contrast all kinds of elements of the women’s participation in rites and rituals. Bona Dea and the Thesmophoria We talk all things Bona Dea. We consider the ritual component of the…

April 19, 2018 /

Would any Ancient Roman podcast hosted by two women be complete without a very special episode on one of the most famous women in the City’s history, Livia Drusilla? Obviously not and here we are 🙂

November 22, 2017 /
July 21, 2017 /

Over the last few months, Dr G has been working with TED-Ed to spread the word about Vestal Virgins. Herein are the fruits of that collaboration! I’m super excited to have been part of this project and bringing the world of ancient Rome to others is a real treat   🙂 This TED-Ed lesson explores one aspect of the Vestals’ lives: the possibility of live burial. You can check out all the details here: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/who-were-the-vestal-virgins-and-what-was-their-job-peta-greenfield…

January 23, 2015 /
September 8, 2014 /

In this vast topic we focus on women’s health. A consideration of menstruation is central to understanding how women’s health was conceptualised by ancient Greek and Roman medical writers, while the advent of Christianity influences new considerations of what it means to be ‘pure’…

November 24, 2013 /

Cybele, also known as the Magna Mater (the Great Goddess) is an Eastern deity brought to Rome in the wake of the Punic Wars. In this listener request episode, the Doctors delve into background of this goddess. We consider her divine areas of influence, and follow her progress from the East into Rome.

October 18, 2013 /

Claudius is dead, and who should emerge as the new imperator … none other than Nero, the son of Agrippina. While we explore the early years of Nero’s rule under the guidance of his mother Agrippina the Younger, we also consider the influential roles of Seneca and Burrus.

October 3, 2013 /

With Messalina dead, Claudius begins the process that any good Roman man would: choosing a new wife. As emperor, Claudius just happens to be the most eligible bachelor in town. He has a pick of the ladies and decides on Agrippina.

This is an unusual match in a number of respects, not least because she is his niece! In this episode, Doctors R and G explore the various intricacies of the relationship between Claudius and Agrippina.

September 18, 2013 /

Valeria Messalina was a cousin of Claudius and there was quite an age difference between them. He was born in 10 BCE, while she was born in c. 20 CE. This thirty year age gap may go some way to explaining the character of the marriage as it developed over time. In this episode, your intrepid Doctors explore the myth, the legend, and the history that is her legacy.

August 7, 2013 /

We take a detour from the Julio-Claudian emperors to examine one of the women pivotal to Augustus’ family and the future of his family line: Julia Maior, Augustus’ biological daughter. Who was Julia exactly? And why was she important?

May 8, 2013 /

Sex workers in the ancient world deserve our attention in part because they reveal the differences between our world and the world of ancient past. In this episode, we explore some of the issues on the topic of sex work in ancient Rome. CW: The language and terminology in this episode reflects in part when the episode was recorded and in part the differences in the way this subject is discussed in history rather than cultural studies.

April 26, 2013 /

If you are interested in further reading on sex in ancient Rome, the Partial Historians have compiled a list for your reading and thinking pleasure below:   Sources: Sex in Ancient Rome   Chrystal, P. 2015. In Bed with the Romans (Amberley Publishing Limited) Edwards, C. 1993. The Politics of Immortality in Ancient Rome (Cambridge University Press) Gardner, J. F. 1991. Women in Roman Law and Society (Indiana University Press) MacLachlan, B. 2013. Women in Ancient Rome:…

April 26, 2013 /
April 12, 2013 /

Dr Greenfield is a specialist in the Vestal Virgins and in this episode we consider the cult in more depth. The trials and tribulations of the Vestal Virgins and their (possible) sexual escapades serve to create interest around the cult in the popular imagination – but what are some the implications for the priestesses?

March 29, 2013 /

Dr Greenfield introduces the Vestal Virgins! These priestesses are one of the stand out colleges of women participating in ritual in Ancient Rome. When we understand their place in the greater scheme of Rome we can start to appreciate their connection with the politics of the City.

In this episode we look at: the background of the cult of Vesta; the role that the Vestals played in Roman religious thinking; and, staying on the broader theme of sex in Ancient Rome, we’ll consider the reasons why these particular women weren’t getting any action.

February 28, 2013 /

What better subject to start an ancient Roman podcast with than sex? In this episode Dr Radford and Dr Greenfield address the most pressing issue in Ancient Roman history! We consider some infamous exploits and some of the major differences in the way the Romans thought about sex from society today. With passion and knowledge, we discuss, laugh, and spar our way through the ancient world.