Women and voting in Rome

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,320
Dispargum
#31
I dont think this is a fair statement

Probably more pragmatically, men and women were seen to have different roles... For example women were not required to do military service/fight in wars and this was a primary consideration for having the right to vote/have a voice in many societies.... I guess the thinking was 'if you are not ready to die for your city/country then why should have a say ?"
I agree with a lot of this. Voting was something the state gave to its citizens in exchange for taxes and military service. As one of the previous posters noted, Roman women were at least to some extend exempt from taxes and they were certainly exempt from military service, so Roman women had no claim to a right to vote.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,294
#32
Women and voting in Rome??? Women didn't vote anywhere until the late 19th century. No one would have thought about it. In the few places where there were elections, usually most men couldn't vote either.

The only places where women had political power were monarchies, when there was a queen.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,303
#33
Fulvia and Cornelia Africana were not rulers, but politically active because they were born into the ruling class. On their own, they would have been nothing.
The only one who ruled in her own right was Cleopatra.
Women born into the 'ruling class' (I assume you mean the Patricians?) were no more eligible to vote in Ancient Rome than the great unwashed. There are examples of individual ladies who took advantage of circumstance to avoid some of the barriers against female freedom and rights, but the reality is that Roman society treated women as under the protection and guidance of fathers, guardians, or husbands. Some women inherited businesses from their dead partners - a loophole in Roman society. But nonetheless the chauvinistic Romans preferred to keep women in their place. I should point out however that Rome had evidence of women who were quite outspoken - even Tarquin's wife is supposed to have driven a chariot over the former kings body - her own father.

The Senate remained off-limits to women. Those who spoke out politically were more likely to have emerged in the Principate, when wealth and Roman inheritance law improved opportunities for them to exploit - but the restrictions remained officially in place. A wife might conceivably have spoken as her husbands representative but she would have to be a stalwart character to operate what was in those days a male dominated sphere.

Cleopatra (I assume you mean the 7th?) was only sole monarch (Pharoah I suppose, but then the female holders of that title were obliged to dress as men) of Egypt because of deals struck with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Without their help, she would not have had the military support and financial backing to assert her dominance over her siblings, both male and female.
 
Nov 2018
347
Denmark
#34
Women born into the 'ruling class' (I assume you mean the Patricians?) were no more eligible to vote in Ancient Rome than the great unwashed. There are examples of individual ladies who took advantage of circumstance to avoid some of the barriers against female freedom and rights, but the reality is that Roman society treated women as under the protection and guidance of fathers, guardians, or husbands. Some women inherited businesses from their dead partners - a loophole in Roman society. But nonetheless the chauvinistic Romans preferred to keep women in their place. I should point out however that Rome had evidence of women who were quite outspoken - even Tarquin's wife is supposed to have driven a chariot over the former kings body - her own father.

The Senate remained off-limits to women. Those who spoke out politically were more likely to have emerged in the Principate, when wealth and Roman inheritance law improved opportunities for them to exploit - but the restrictions remained officially in place. A wife might conceivably have spoken as her husbands representative but she would have to be a stalwart character to operate what was in those days a male dominated sphere.

Cleopatra (I assume you mean the 7th?) was only sole monarch (Pharoah I suppose, but then the female holders of that title were obliged to dress as men) of Egypt because of deals struck with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Without their help, she would not have had the military support and financial backing to assert her dominance over her siblings, both male and female.
I am familiar with Roman women's rights or rather lack of rights. My answer was a quick note to another user who IMHO came with some rather unscientific comments.
However, as far as Fulvia is concerned she could not vote or run for public office, but except for that, nothing stopped her from being a political force.
Cornelia Africana's influence on her two sons was more subtle, and it was more like a model example of a venerable and virtuous Roman woman that she became known.
Cleopatra, yes, I mean the seventh. She was designated as heir with her brother in the father's Ptolemy XII will, which designated Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII as his joint heirs, and she ruled on the mercy of the Romans, but so did her father.