Domi mansit, lanam fecit: Was That All? Women’s Social Status and Roles in the Early Latial Communities (11th–9th Centuries BC)
Journal: Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology
Seven female tombs from ancient Lazio dating from Latial period I (Final Bronze Age, 11th-10th centuries BC), and some 250 tombs dating from Latial period II (Early Iron Age, 10th-9th centuries BC) from the cemetery of Osteria dell’Osa, Rome, are analyzed from a gendered perspective. The sample shows a few significant features, which seem to differentiate it from the male component of the same contexts:
1. Gender specific personal ornaments are given to women from birth.
2. Some age specific artefacts and roles can be identified for all age classes.
3. A small number of female outfits includes some special indications of prestige; however, neither a systematic formalization of prestige features, nor specific correlates of roles or functions, can be identified.
4. ‘Priesthood’ is the only vertical role apparently given to women; in this case, too, there is some consistent indication that it was appointed from birth.
5. Secondary religious functions also seem to have been performed by some women.
6. Witchcraft might be the only self-appointed female role, which, however, apparently implied a diminished degree of integration in the community and kin group.
Author: Anna Maria Bietti Sestieri