Graduation Year

2013

Location

Room E105, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

20-4-2013 10:00 AM

End Date

20-4-2013 11:00 AM

Description

From humble beginnings, the Vestal Virgins were able to create a foothold in political life through the turbulence of the transition from Republic to Principate. In part due to the violent and perilous transition, the Vestal Virgins of Rome began to represent a sense of what it meant to be Roman. The manifestation of the symbolization of Rome gave the Vestals great power, which they expressed in political and social venues. In order to describe these expressions, this presentation explains the religious and social roles of the Vestals established before the Late Republic. This is necessary because most of the evidence is focused around the turn of the millennium, and concrete evidence for earlier Vestals is rare. Yet, a discussion of the traditions that were accepted as ancient is still necessary to establish the social expectations for the Vestals up until the Late Republic. The second phase details how the transitions from Republic to Principate resulted in a change in social and political roles for Vestals. The Vestal Virgins were originally placed in a liminal status set between the state and individual families. The third and final part demonstrates that the powers that the Vestals gained, and were perceived to have gained, were dependent upon the social consciousness of contemporary Rome. By placing these power dynamics in the context of a Roman consciousness, I show that Vestals gained power by virtue of their unique social and political positions.

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Apr 20th, 10:00 AM Apr 20th, 11:00 AM

Vestal Virgins of Rome: Images Of Power

Room E105, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

From humble beginnings, the Vestal Virgins were able to create a foothold in political life through the turbulence of the transition from Republic to Principate. In part due to the violent and perilous transition, the Vestal Virgins of Rome began to represent a sense of what it meant to be Roman. The manifestation of the symbolization of Rome gave the Vestals great power, which they expressed in political and social venues. In order to describe these expressions, this presentation explains the religious and social roles of the Vestals established before the Late Republic. This is necessary because most of the evidence is focused around the turn of the millennium, and concrete evidence for earlier Vestals is rare. Yet, a discussion of the traditions that were accepted as ancient is still necessary to establish the social expectations for the Vestals up until the Late Republic. The second phase details how the transitions from Republic to Principate resulted in a change in social and political roles for Vestals. The Vestal Virgins were originally placed in a liminal status set between the state and individual families. The third and final part demonstrates that the powers that the Vestals gained, and were perceived to have gained, were dependent upon the social consciousness of contemporary Rome. By placing these power dynamics in the context of a Roman consciousness, I show that Vestals gained power by virtue of their unique social and political positions.