Sample Essay on 1986 Women in Roman Law and Society

The legal position of women as was the custom in the ancient Rome was exceptionally complex (Gardner, 1986). The fact that there was actually no clear distinction between slave, freed woman and a free woman meant that the delineation of their legal position was over and over again heard. Drawing from her lively exploration on comprehensive study of epigraphic and literary materials, Gardner analyzes how the Roman laws related to women in their provisions. This paper presents a review of Gardeneer’s work, with a particular focus on treatment of women in in Roman law and society.

The family actually has a history that can be traced to very many years back, and to judge by, the study of the Roman family’s history has come a very long way (Gardner, 1986). There is a history for the Roman family, which is not really dramatic. This implies that the date and the real cause are viewed as the origin of the affectionate matrimonial family. When viewed in  a much more elusive sense, it comes out that the Romans made use of legal customs and institutions in given patterns to accomplish some given family goals with the political, social, demographic and economic perspectives of their time (Gardner, 1986). The goals, situations and institutions transformed, though gradually, and their formation, varied from those seen in other societies. Owing to the fact that the family was considered to be the principal social group that transmitted legal status and treasures, its antiquity is associated with the various facets of institutional, political, and military history and thus should draw the interest of the mainstream historians to a greater degree than it actually has.

. Gardner  (1986) wrote this book with a major objective of bringing into view the different ways in which the laws impacted on women all through their lives. This ranges from the families, where they could be either daughters, wives, or parents to when they stood as heiresses and testators, in which they acted as property owners and controllers, and finally to such cases when the women were workers who were tasked with serving their masters. She keenly examines the criteria that were followed in modifying, softening, circumventing, and even changing the stringent letter of the law. She notes that the laws themselves said it all regarding the economic situation of the women in the Roman society and also the kind of opportunities accessible to them when it came to affairs that were not home based.

The author’s choice of words is very clear and well supported. The author is actually a socio-political historian: the theme revolves around the Roman law, making it political, and how women were generally perceived, which in this case, is the social aspect of the story. To develop the story, Dr. Gardner made use of past scholarships including Buckland’s Roman Law of Slavery and Corbett’s Roman Law of Marriage (Gardner, 1986). She used these texts by reviewing them to understand what the Roman laws really meant for the women in Rome.

Gardner exacerbates in several ways the difficulty in spelling out an all-inclusive view. It is not very easy to come by a legal detail that is too inconsequential to disregard. Lack of discrimination results from the fact that Gardener fails to constantly start by inquiring on the major social behavioral patterns and then emphasizing consequently the laws did possibly affect most women most regularly. Assessing the effect of the law requires not only the systemic consideration of the social and demographic certainties but also deliberation on the legal procedure and machinery. All issues here should be revolving around the question on how and whom the rules are actually enforced for.  Reference

Gardner, J.F. (1986). Women in Roman Law and Society. London: Croom Helm.