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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: November 2020

2 - Legal Status, Citizenship and Ethnicity


The second chapter focuses on women's legal status and ethnicity grouping together the partly overlapping categories of female slaves, freedwomen and women of foreign (non-Roman) background on the basis of their funerary inscriptions. The first part starts with female slaves followed by the more abundant evidence for freedwomen and discusses their employment within large households, their relationship with their (former) masters, including marriages between owners and their (former) slaves, their relationships with their fellow slaves and freedpeople, and their achievements. It ends with issues of manumission and the benefits of Roman citizenship (such as the ius liberorum freeing female citizens with three of more children from guardianship). The second part on citizenship and ethnicity focuses on women in the regions along the northern and western frontiers of the Roman Empire, where we find non-Roman citizens adopting Roman burial customs but at the same time underlining their ethnic identity by their local dress or the record of their ethnic origin in the inscription. The chapter also includes local citizenhip and ends with the various relationships between local women and the Roman army.