Matronae e repudium nell’ultimo secolo di Roma repubblicana
The meaning that matrimonial dynamics have acquired in the development of the late republican political conflicts and in parallel the role played by the matronae in those contexts have been repeatedly explained, both in a prosopographic key and from the gender studies perspective. However, more or less recent historiography does not seem to have given particular importance to the peculiarity of the circumstances and modalities that in the last century of the Roman Republic accompanied the planning of marriages and their dissolution. A careful analysis of the cases of repudium involving key figures such as Silla, Pompey, Caesar, Cato of Utica, Cicero, Antony and Octavian reveals that the reasons underlying their decisions to break their marriage bonds were not always consistent with earlier practice. This was witnessed in paradigmatic terms by memorialist and antiquarian sources (Valerius Maximus and Gellius), according to whom the dissolution of a marriage would be allowed in the case of female sterilitas or would not be considered inappropriate in the case of licentious behaviour of the women. Nonetheless, certain episodes involving the above mentioned major figures of the late Roman Republic denote a use dictated by a concern for protecting their public image and their need to regain the faculty of contracting new marriages that would be politically or financially more advantageous. Overall, the male tendency to make an instrumental use of repudium, in the context of marriages contracted from time to time according to contingent convenience, in addition to revealing a marked change from the older tradition, can be considered a direct reflection of the unilateral nature of the dissolution of marriage in Roman practice. It is also an indication of the reduced scope for action of the matronae, occasionally forced away from their domestic domicile by their spouse, despite their important role in the context of marriages arranged in view of the utility of marriage in the public sphere.
Polymnia. Collana di Scienze dell'Antichità. Studi di Storia romana
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Gilda Mastrorosa "Matronae e repudium nell’ultimo secolo di Roma repubblicana" in: Francesca Cenerini e Francesca Rohr Vio (a cura di), "Matronae in domo et in re publica agentes - spazi e occasioni dell'azione femminile nel mondo romano tra tarda repubblica e primo impero", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016, pp. 65-87