Women didn’t have most of the rights of men – they couldn’t vote, for instance, but some of them did make a name for themselves. In Pompeii, Eumachia set up a magnificent public building for the wool workers in the forum. She probably was running a wool business. Naevoleia Tyche put up a huge tomb for herself decorated with images of the shipping trade. 

 The ideal of the upper class wife, though, was much more private. We can tell what sort of qualities these women should have from the tomb inscriptions their husbands set up for them, praising their chastity, obedience, weaving and, above all, fertility. Women would have run the households, so would have spent lots of time with the slaves, supervising them.


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