Theextent to which women`s influence in the Roman society is adequatelydocumented by some of their then male authors like Plutarch, Livy andPolybius. For instance, Plutarch, in his works, expressed that the exercised some control over their reproduction. Romanwomen took the initiative in having more than one husband for thesake of producing children who would inherit from more than onefather (Hansen & Kenneth 182). Therefore, Plutarch isrealistically expressing that women were in charge of their fertilityin his works. In addition to this, Plutarch represents the Romanlady`s right to own and control real property including land. In hisworks, Plutarch also mentions the fact that ancient wouldown land and dispose of whenever they deemed fit (Hansen &Kenneth 183). Furthermore, Plutarch`s works express a realisticportrayal of the Roman woman as an enforcer of societal norms. Womenwould advise their husbands and sons on matters regarding life (184).Plutarch, in his works, correctly depicts the influence of women onthe society by mentioning that the Priestesses of Orthia controlledthe intensity with which boys were whipped by their seniors,signaling women`s leadership and power over men throughout Spartanhistory (Hansen & Kenneth 185). To this extent, Plutarch is rightin describing the influences the Roman ladies had on the society inancient Rome.
Anotherauthor that realistically depicts the influence the women exerted onthe Roman society in his works is Livy. Livy acknowledges the factthat women were dispensable ornaments to be adorned by their malecounterparts, but had their "dirty tricks" in assistingthem to achieve influence (Pomeroy 189). Most of these tricks were asin the contemporary society, "political." Rather thansubmissive and passive victims, Livy paints a picture of the early as everyday facilitators in the process of thedevelopment of Roman politics. In a sample of his works, Livy talksabout Lavinia, the Italian wife of Aeneas, and how she played asignificant role in the establishment of Roman power (190). Livyexplains that Lavinia uses her charms to seduce her husband andinfluence his decisions and decrees instituted by the counsels. Evenafter the death of her husband, Lavinia manipulates who takes overfrom his man to gain some mileage to her political influence (Pomeroy192). Therefore, to this extent, Livy is realistic in representingthe fact that women had an impact on the Roman society.
Polybiusis the third male author from Rome that realistically presents theextent to which women exerted their influence on the society.According to Polybius in his composition "Histories", womenmight be admirable, but have a dominant tendency to cause disturbingirrationality and pandemonium (Craige 139). To achieve this, womenuse their emotions to spoil the order of nature by manipulatingpeople around them, particularly in politics. Polybius in his worksdepicts women as selfish individuals that seek to influence powerfulmen through sensuality. In his compositions, Polybius also accountsthat women were allowed to own, inherit and pass on property in theirrights, but under the strict stewardship of her husband or a maturemale relative (Craige 144) . Polybius, also realistically representswomen`s influence in his work by documenting the fact that either manor woman had the legal power to initiate a divorce (163). Therefore,to this extent, Livy illustrates that a woman is empowered enough tohave the liberty to decide if she wants to be in a marriage or not.Consequently, Polybius realistically represents the influence womenexerted on the Roman society.
Champion,Craige Brian. CulturalPolitics in Polybius`s Histories.Berkeley: U of California, 2004. Print.
Hansen,Valerie and Kenneth Robert. Curtis. Voyagesin World History.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2013. Print.
Pomeroy,Sarah B. Women`sHistory and Ancient History.Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina, 1991. Print.