In Part 1 of Women and Wool Working in the Ancient Roman Empire, we discussed the practical matters of textile production in domestic and commercial contexts. In this second episode, we look at the performative ways that textile production was used to construct women's identities. This includes the incorporation of textile tools and production into rites of passage such as marriage, childbirth, and death as a symbol of the virtuous matron. We further discuss religious use and association of textile production through the stories of the Fates, Arachne, and the Virgin Mary. We then come around to weave the rest of the narrative together: could the piece that fits in the women-shaped hole of textile production in ancient Rome be... women?
This episode is dedicated in loving memory of Laura Callahan-Hazard and Sigrid Steinbock, both enthusiastic supporters of Morgan's dissertation, themselves both textile artists, and who both had wanted to read Morgan's dissertation but left this world too soon.
Trinkl, Elisabeth. 2004. "Zum Wirkungskreis einer kleinasiatischen Matrona anhand ausgewählter Funde aus dem Hanghaus 2 in Ephesos." In Jahreshefte des Österreichischen archäologischen Instituts in Wien. 73:281-303
Roman version of the Arachne Myth by Ovid, The Metamorphoses VI Content Warning: suicide, oblique mentions to rape, gods being jerks to mortals
Roman description of the three fates or Parcae by Catullus, 64, scroll down to line 305.
Roman version of the Europa Myth by Ovid, The Metamorphoses, II, 833-875 Content Warning: abduction, gods taking other forms to seduce women, gods being jerks to mortals
A summary of the mythology of Leda and the Swan, very brief Roman summary in Hyginus, Fabulae 77, scroll down to § 77. Content Warning: rape, gods taking other forms to seduce women, gods being jerks to mortals
Roman version of the Danae Myth by Hyginus, Fabulae 63, scroll down to § 63. Content Warning: rape, gods taking other forms to seduce women, gods being jerks to mortals