The Dichotomy of Pudicitia

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Harvey, Amber L.
Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity; History of Religion; Women's History
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The lives of women in the Roman Republic were incredibly restricted and controlled by their male counterparts, yet key counters to this restriction are often overlooked, mainly that of a woman’s pudicitia. Pudicitia was a defining moral quality that encompassed state, familial, sexual, and other duties, a woman held in society. These qualities, are shown in the mythical Rape of the Sabines, and allow female participation in the Conflict of the Orders and the defiance of the Vestal Virgins. These allowances are countered by aspects of pudicitia that restricted rights and participation, ultimately yielding a system that paradoxically encouraged and prohibited female political and social action.