The Roman Empire which existed in a large part of the ancient world on three continents was one of the largest empires in human history. It had a profound impact on both the ancient and the modern world in various fields. Many concepts which we take for granted in today’s time have actually been bestowed upon us by Roman culture which existed during the Empire. Ancient Rome during the Roman Republic preceded the Roman Empire and also made many contributions to Roman society.
Roman women had an important role in Roman society especially as homemakers and mothers. Though women were not equals of men with regard to public and private life, there were many examples of Roman women doing things in fields which were dominated by men. 7 such facts about Roman women which may not be widely known are mentioned below:
- Nursing of babies
Wealthy women in Rome generally didn’t nurse their own children. They gave them to a wet-Wealthy Roman women did not usually breastfeed their own children. Instead, they handed them over to a wet-nurse – usually a slave or hired freedwoman – who was contracted to provide this service. Soranus, influential author of a second-century work on gynaecology, prescribed that a wet-nurse’s milk might be preferable in the days after the birth, on the grounds that the mother could become too exhausted to feed. He did not approve of feeding on demand, and recommended that solids such as bread soaked in wine should be introduced at six months. Soranus also pointed to the possible benefits of employing a Greek wet-nurse, who could pass on the gift of her mother tongue to her charge.
Yet this flew in the face of advice from most Roman physicians and philosophers. They suggested that mother’s milk was best – both for the child’s health and moral character – on the grounds that wet-nurses might pass on servile defects of character to the baby. These same men opined that women who did not suckle their own children were lazy, vain and unnatural mothers who only cared about the possible damage to their figures.