What Life Was Like For Women During Pax Romana

Just in case you fell asleep during your History of the Roman Empire class, the "Pax Romana" or "Roman Peace" was the unprecedented period of time between 27 BC and 180 AD, when Rome was at peace and its leaders were probably all bored out of their minds. During the Pax Romana, there were no major wars, piracy, or slave revolts.

Anyway, life in Ancient Rome must have been pretty awesome during those years, but was it awesome for everyone? Well, there were no slave revolts, which means that slaves were pretty much existing the same way they always had, so life clearly wasn't super awesome for them. What about women? Meh. Life got a little better for women, but you can't exactly say it was super awesome for them, either

Women's lives improved, sort of

According to Purdue University, women did gain some autonomy during the Pax Romana. Weirdly, scholars think that the shifting attitudes rose in part out of the fact that it wasn't as macho to be a soldier anymore. The Roman army was all-volunteer, disciplined, and stationed outside of the city centers, so their political and social status wasn't as high as it used to be. At the same time, patriarchal traditions declined somewhat, and women started serving on city councils and becoming benefactors for important city projects. 

Women who were married to powerful men during the Pax Romana started to get some power of their own, and women in the lower classes did, too. They could work as lawyers, teachers, doctors, or philosophers and they had a say in who they married. 

Not everyone was cool with all the change, though. Roman men were seriously annoyed by all the female autonomy, and fundamentally there wasn't much of it anyway. Most women still had to have a male family member act in their interests in matters of property and finance. So compared to other eras, life was okay for women in Pax Romana, but not really much more than just okay.