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Women And Sacrifice In The Roman Empire

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Chapter Summary

Women in the Graeco-Roman world were formally excluded from political and military functions and responsibilities, but their relation to the third main area of ancient society, religion, was ambiguous. Here, they were both included and excluded: included in some cults and rituals, excluded from others, privileged in few. This chapter deals with one aspect only: the participation of women in sacrifice, especially blood sacrifice. It analyzes two questions: first, did women participate in sacrifice, more particularly in the sacrifice of an animal victim? Second, did the Empire affect their participation in sacrifice and, if so, how? The chapter then focuses on the imperial period and sees whether their participation was somehow affected by changes under the Empire.

Keywords: Roman Empire; Roman law; Women



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