By their social and material context as markers of graves, dedications and public signs of honour, inscriptions offer a distinct perspective on the social lives, occupations, family belonging, mobility, ethnicity, religious affiliations, public honour and legal status of Roman women ranging from slaves and freedwomen to women of the elite and the imperial family, both in Rome and in Italian and provincial towns. They thus shed light on women who are largely overlooked by the literary sources. The wide range of inscriptions and graffiti included in this book show women participating not only in their families and households but also in the social and professional life of their cities. Moreover, they offer us a glimpse of women's own voices. Marital ideals and problems, love and hate, friendship, birth and bereavement, joy and hardship all figure in inscriptions, revealing some of the richness and variety of life in the ancient world.
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