TURIA: A ROMAN WOMAN’S CIVIL WAR

Classics for All Reviews

By Josiah Osgood

OUP (2014) p/b 215pp £18.99 (ISBN 9780199832354)

Trying to gain real insight into the character of Roman women can be a challenge: filtered through the lens of their menfolk, Roman women can fade until they are mere shadows. In that light, the Laudatio Turiae—a lengthy, eulogising tombstoneboth charms and intrigue: the woman who earned it from a grief-stricken husband strikes us as remarkable by any standard. O.’s fascinating book takes this Laudatio and sets about bringing this woman (whatever her name actually was) back to life: a woman, we read, who among much else avenged her parents’ murder (!) and offered her husband a divorce because was unable to bear children. O. begins with the painstaking gathering of the fragments. Frustratingly, since none of the fragments mention either the wife’s name or that of her husband, O. elects to refer to the couple without…

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