Friday, December 6, 2019

Challenging Gender Norms: Elagabalus, SHA Vit. Elag.IV.1-3

Deinde ubi primum diem senatus habuit, [Elagabalus] matrem suam in senatum rogari iussit. Quae cum venisset, vocata ad consulum subsellia scribendo adfuit, id est senatus consulti conficiendi testis, solusque omnium imperatorum fuit, sub quo mulier quasi clarissima loco viri senatum ingressa est.

--SHA Vita Elagabali IV.1-4

When he entered the Senate for the first time, Elagabalus ordered his mother to be brought in. When she arrived, she remained at his side on the consul's bench as a secretary--indeed, she witnessed the creation of a senatorial decree! Of all the Roman emperors, Elagabalus was the only one who allowed a woman to enter the senate as if she were a man [loco viri].

Name:  ???
Date:  4th c. CE
Works:  Historia Augusta

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans

 Little is known about the author(s) of the Historia Augusta; even internal evidence within the text is either falsified, skewed or utterly fictitious. Although attributed to six different authors, the text was likely written by a single author living during the 4th century CE. It is a series of imperial biographies modeled after the works of Suetonius; these biographies cover the reigns of the emperors Hadrian through Carus.

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE