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Kadın / Woman 2000

Yıl 2004 , Cilt 5 , Sayı 1

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Roman freedwomen as patrons: memoria et familia, the construction of identity

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Although the art of freedmen in the early Imperial period has received much scholarly attention, the aim of this study is to reexamine the funerary monuments with respect to the specific interests of freedwomen as patrons who commissioned these reliefs. The Augustan Legislation, lex Lulia Maritandis, lex Aelia Sentia, and lex Papia Poppaea, formed legal restraints and implicit threats that seemed to have created an atmosphere in which legal marriage and freed status became a catalyst for the commissioning of enduring monuments to family status. Since slave unions, contubernales, were unrecognized in Roman law, Roman freedwomen commissioned reliefs proudly proclaiming the family relationships between husband, wife and offspring. In summation, the inventive variety of mechanisms demonstrated in these selected examples of patronage by freedwomen reveals a spectrum of specific intentions with regard to social and legal status. The predominant intention expressed in these monuments concerned the legitimization and recognition of the status of the newly freed family. Additionally, the social and financial security of the family was also addressed in the examples of funerary reliefs commissioned by freedwomen.

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