Strong Ancient Roman Women Posted by on Sep 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

The general assumption is that ancient Roman women were helpless pawns of a patriarchal society. There is some truth to this, for there are many examples of women being pawned off to powerful men through a political marriage. However, there were few cases where women showed extraordinary courage and even exerted military power.

Cloelia was a young Roman girl, who was part of an entourage of hostages. To fulfill a peace treaty, the hostages were given to an Etruscan king. Before the hostages reached the king, she ran away. The Etruscan king was impressed by her bravery and told her he would free her if she returned. She did, and requested the freedom of the other hostages. The king agreed and Cloelia returned to her family.

Fulvia Flacca Bambula was the third wife of Mark Antony. When Mark Antony was away in Egypt, Octavian was in Rome. Fearing that Octavian would gain power, she raised an army against Octavian. The Perusine War lasted two months, with Octavian being the victor. After she died, Mark Antony blamed Fulvia for the war and reconciled with Octavian. Essentially, Mark Antony betrayed Fulvia.

Triaria was the second wife of Lucius Vitellius the Younger, who was the younger brother of Emperor Aulus Vitellius. She is known for raiding, plundering, pillaging and ransacking the town of Tarracina. Soldiering was considered a man’s role. Therefore women were vilified when they took on male roles, such as subduing a town.


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  1. Charles Laster:

    Ah, tough women! Love these gals!