Text Roman women: following the clues

TLF ID M011206

This resource is about Roman women. It examines sources of evidence about the lives of women in ancient Rome, given that there is little written material describing their lives. Sources include examples from literature, state inscriptions, tombstones and the bases of statues, Roman paintings and sculpture, all of which often provide either formulaic or sentimental depictions of women. It includes text, extracts from primary sources and still images.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This resource is useful for addressing the Australian Curriculum: History content description in year 7 relating to the role of key groups in ancient Roman society (such as patricians, plebeians, women, slaves), including the influence of law and religion. It highlights the role of women as wives and mothers and the importance of feminine virtues, such as chasteness, housewifery, weaving and needlework.
  • The resource is useful for its examination of the types of work undertaken by women as revealed by the ruins of Pompeii. The work of lower-class women is recorded on the graffiti from walls in workshops showing names of women who were working with wool; other graffiti recorded the names of nurses and midwives. It shows that sewing and laundering were respectable, but that work as a barmaid, actress or prostitute was disreputable.
  • This resource is valuable for the development of historical skills. It includes a discussion about the sources of evidence about women in ancient Rome, a period when women themselves left few written records. It analyses each source in terms of its author, audience and purpose, assessing the likelihood of it presenting a realistic, complex view of women and their lives.
  • The resource may also make a contribution to students attaining the history achievement standards in year 7 in relation to explaining the role of groups in society and has some relevance to the critical and creative capability.
Year level

7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • History

Other details

  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • Organization: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk
  • Publisher
  • Name: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • Organization: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • Description: Publisher
  • URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Text
  • Image
  • Resource: BBC © 2012, except where indicated otherwise. You may download, copy and communicate this material for free, and use it in digital and hardcopy format for non-commercial educational use in Australian schools and TAFE institutions, provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material. 'Interactive' image: © Education Services Australia Limited 2012. You may copy, communicate and adapt this image for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the image.