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Women And Gender In Roman Egypt: The Impact Of Roman Rule

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Chapter Summary

This paper discusses the disdain of the ruling class for Egyptian women with the information found in the Greek and Egyptian papyri. The central focus of the paper is the impact of Roman rule on women in Egypt. The paper focuses on the legal position of women (mainly the aspect of guardianship) and on their social mobility. The paper, in its discussion on the impact of Roman rule on the women of Egypt, focuses on the largest group, the Greco-Egyptian women of the countryside (chora), called 'Egyptian' women by the Romans. Although Roman soldiers were unable to contract a legal marriage, they were not expected to abstain from sexual relationships with women. The papyri and military diplomas confirm that the existence of these unions during military service was accepted and that no punitive actions were taken against it. The chapter concludes with a note on tradition and transformation.

Keywords: Egyptian women; Greco-Egyptian women; legal position of women; papyri; Roman Egypt



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