Saturday, January 2, 2021

Challenging Gender Roles: The Rights of Vestal Virgins, Caius, Inst. 130, 144, 145

130. Praeterea exeunt liberi virilis sexus de parentis potestate, si flamines Diales inaugurentur, et feminini sexus, si virgines Vestales capiantur. 

144. Permissum est itaque parentibus liberis, quos in potestate sua habent, testamento tutores dare: Masculini quidem sexus inpuberibus, feminini vero inpuberibus puberibusque, vel cum nuptae sint. Veteres enim voluerunt feminas, etiamsi perfectae aetatis sint, propter animi levitatem in tutela esse. 

145. Itaque si quis filio filiaeque testamento tutorem dederit, et ambo ad pubertatem pervenerint, filius quidem desinit habere tutorem, filia vero nihilo minus in tutela permanet: Tantum enim ex lege Iulia et Papia Poppaea iure liberorum a tutela liberantur feminae. Loquimur autem exceptis virginibus Vestalibus, quas etiam veteres in honorem sacerdotii liberas esse voluerunt: Itaque etiam lege XII tabularum cautum est.’’

--Caius, Institutiones I.130, 144, 145

130. A male child shall be liberated from their parents if he becomes a Flamen Dialis; a female child shall be liberated from their parents if they are chosen to become a Vestal Virgin.

144. It is allowed for parents to provide a guardian for the children under their care, including minor male children, and women of any age, even if they are married. For our ancestors wished for women (despite reaching the age of maturity) to be in the care of a guardian due to the fickleness of their mind.

145. And so if someone leaves their son *and* their daughter in the care of a guardian in their will, when both reach the age of maturity, the son will stop having a guardian, but the daughter will remain in the guardian’s care. This is how it is in the Lex Julia & Papia Popaea, that a woman is only freed from guardianship by the right of motherhood [iure liberorum].  I must add this: this does not apply to Vestal Virgins, whom our ancestors wished to remain free as a perk of their priesthood, as per the Twelve Tables.



Name:  Caius / Gaius [?]

Date:  2nd c. CE

Works:  Insitutes



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 life of Caius / Gaius, except that he was an expert on Roman law. His citation of laws from the 2nd century CE serve as an indication of the time period during which he lived. His four volume work, the Institutes, provide crucial insight into primary sources of Roman law.


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

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