cover of book

Women's Lives, Women's Voices: Roman Material Culture and Female Agency in the Bay of Naples
edited by Brenda Longfellow and Molly Swetnam-Burland
University of Texas Press, 2021
eISBN: 978-1-4773-2360-1 | Cloth: 978-1-4773-2358-8
Library of Congress Classification DG70.P7W725 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.4093772568


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.

Nearby on shelf for History of Italy / Ancient Italy. Rome to 476 / Local history and description: