- Fictive motherhood and female authority in Roman cities
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
This paper discusses the meaning and function of female kinship titles in the Latin West, focusing on the title of mother of a city or a collegium, on the basis of a small corpus of Latin inscriptions recording mothers of cities and collegia in the cities of - mainly central - Italy and a few cities in the Balkan and Danubian regions in the second and third centuries AD. It is argued that the title of mater implies a lasting and hierarchical relationship between a locally prominent woman of wealth and the city or collegium she fostered. Like the title mater patriae (or mater castrorum et senatus et patriae), which was granted to some women of the imperial family in the second and third centuries, it is characterized both by authority and loving care. Thus, metaphorical motherhood indicated a position of female authority in male institutions, cast in socially acceptable terms.
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