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Demonstration of Roman women

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

In 215 BCE Roman Republic was experiencing a powerful political and economic crisis. The defeats suffered from Hannibal in the Second Punic War cost Rome a great deal of lives and money. Therefore, the Senate began to look for different ways to save the state.

One of such decision was to pass a law prohibiting wealthy Romans from possessing more than half an ounce of gold, wearing multicolored clothes in public, and traveling in horse-drawn carriages a mile away from Rome and other cities – the exception was a trip for religious purposes.

This law was due to the dissatisfaction of men who, seeing that when their homeland needs financial support, patricians flaunt their wealth. Moreover, two years earlier, the Senate ordered women to support the war effort financially, but without major results.

Women demonstrated their opposition after the war, when in 195 BCE there were two demonstrations against still valid laws. Women took to the streets, the besieged houses of senators and expressed demands to all men they encountered in the capital. According to Livy, the law striking a woman’s fortune was eventually revoked.

Sources
  • Thomas R. Martin, Starożytny Rzym. Od Romulusa do Justyniana, Poznań 2014

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