Essay On Valerius Maximus's 'Memorable Deeds And Words'

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Women in Ancient Rome were valued for their purity and loyalty to their husbands, yet still valued less than men in general. Latin writer and author Valerius Maximus, in Memorable Deeds and Words, expresses that it was perfectly acceptable to beat your wife to death, if she drank wine immoderately. For when she did this, he reasons, “[a woman] closes the door to all virtues and opens it to all vices” (Doc 58). Apparently a woman who drank was neither pure nor chaste, and would be open to immoral, criminal activities; the woman had not actually committed a crime, but just the chance that she might commit one was enough for her to receive punishment. It seems there was a clear double standard, since men were not held to the same expectations of purity and chastity as women, and were allowed to punish their wives who did not meet the standard.…show more content…
(Doc 54). This woman is deemed virtuous because of the loyalty and affection she possesses for her husband, valued for neither her intellect nor talents. It is foolish to base a woman’s value on her chastity and dedication to a man, the saddest part being that she was still less valued than the man she was so loyal to. In a letter from Hilarion to his wife, Alis, he emphasizes, “If you have the baby before I return, if it is a boy, let it live; if it is a girl, expose it” (Doc 31). Females were less valued than males in Ancient Rome, as many female infants were exposed because they could not carry on the family name and they required a dowry at their marriage. The practice of exposure greatly reduced the female population of Ancient Rome, and you would think this would increase their
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