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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how law contributed to the definition and establishment of gender in the Roman world, and ways that gender shaped the law. Lawmakers and jurists established distinct legal statuses for men and women, and it was critical to elucidate precisely how individuals fit into this legal framework. Even when not deliberately defining gender to clarify law or legislating overtly gendered matters, legal sources reveal gendered thinking. In establishing the specific rules governing Roman society, lawmakers and jurists drew upon and reproduced prevalent and entrenched assumptions and beliefs about the nature of men and women and their place in the world. The final section of the chapter outlines the legal regulation of sexuality, critical to defining gender norms in the Roman world. The proper performance of sexual conduct was an important element of gender archetypes; those individuals who deviated from established standards were deemed problematic and potentially dangerous.

Keywords: gender, sexuality, legal sources, social reality, masculinity, femininity

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