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Don’t lie to Roman woman

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Portrait of a Roman woman, Jean-Léon Gérôme
Portrait of a Roman woman, Jean-Léon Gérôme

In ancient Rome, it was allowed passive participation of senatorial sons in the deliberations of the senate, which was also part of the educational program. Of course, they were to be kept secret.

Well, when one of these young people, a certain Papirius, was unable to free himself from his mother’s insistent questions, which was the subject of the Senate’s deliberations, he gave a made-up, incidentally witty version that the problem was considered whether it would be better to introduce a law allowing men to have two wives or a woman two husbands. The aftermath of this innocent lie was surprising for the senators: a crowd of women gathered in front of the Senate, protesting against the first draft, and advocating a law authorizing a woman to live with two men.

The women’s invasion surprised the senators – Papirius explained the situation and confessed to the lie, which he used to protect himself from breaching the secret of the deliberations. This event explained the ban on bringing young people to the Senate session.

  • Winniczuk Lidia, Ludzie, zwyczaje i obyczaje starożytnej Grecji i Rzymu, PWN, Warszawa

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