Public and private
IdentifiersPermanent link (URI): http://hdl.handle.net/10017/5620
Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. Servicio de Publicaciones
Polis : revista de ideas y formas políticas de la antigüedad clásica, 2000, n.12, p. 181-228. ISSN 1130-0728
In this article we will try to give an answer to the question of changes in the visibility of women in the public sphere. The fact that élite women played a more energetic role in public life firom the late Hellenistic epoch on has been established by our research on the available sources (mostly epigraphical) in some regions of the Greco-Roman East, in particular W. Asia Minor (lonia and Caria) and in Aegean islands such as Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Teños, Syros and Paros. Nevertheless, the inscriptions, being brief summaries of the decrees which were put in the archives, fail to comment on the issue of the honorand's actual fiílfilment of the office, though sometimes they give indirect information on the lady's presence, eg in the stadium. But even if the female raagistrates were visible, did that have any effect on other women? Did the free, or at least the citizen women in the cities of the Román East enjoy more freedom in their raovement outside the oikos? Could women move freely in the agora, the theatre or any other public place? And if they did so, what about their mingling with men and regulations about their clothes and personal behaviour? Literature is important on that subject because it provides indirect information on all the aspects of the problem, but the archaising style and subject matter of many literary works, the hallmark of the Second Sophistic, throws doubt on their relevance to the era in which our research is located. Notwithstanding those problems, the combination of literary texts and inscriptions sheds some light on the obscure subject of women's presence in the pubUc sphere.