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Classics and Ancient History

The Female Roman Life Course (FRoLiC)

Tim Parkin is in the process of developing an international network based around the theme of the female life course in the Roman world – the life course extending from conception to the grave.

There has been good deal of research in recent years on the Roman male's life course, particularly in terms of literary sources, as well as on children, but much remains to be done on the gendered life course; there is also much unexploited potential in the non-literary evidence. This interdisciplinary network brings together experts in the analysis of human skeletons (including through isotope analysis) and those working on not only literary and historical texts but also epitaphs and iconography. The network places great emphasis on considering material culture as well as written records; it is also keen to pay proper attention to regional variations, and is particularly interested in exploring the life course of the non-elites.

Rather than adopting a simple chronological or geographical division into topics, or indeed an approach based on progression through the life course, the network aims to identify and investigate particular topics representing key aspects of the female life course. For example:

  • Females in the economy
  • Women and fertility
  • Females and mobility
  • Relationships within the family
  • The older woman in Roman society
  • Women and care
  • Females and continuity across the generations
  • Females in religion

A highly successful workshop was held over three days at Manchester in July 2013. The network is now in the process of identifying further suitable individuals who will add to and enhance the study of this subject through their own expertise, with a view to holding international conferences on particular aspects of the overall theme.