Review by Choice Review
Evans focuses on the last two centuries of the Roman Republic, arguing that the ceaseless wars of the period led to a steady increase in the legal, social, and economic independence of Roman women. In this he differs from the two leading works in the field, Sarah Pomeroy's Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves (CH, Dec'75), and J.F. Gardner's Women in Roman Law & Society (CH, Dec'86). The evidence and arguments on both sides are presented clearly. A number of well-known passages and inscriptions are discussed in great detail, in effect constituting a series of model essays in interpretation. This is a lucid, learned, and forceful exposition of an original thesis, an important contribution to the social history of Antiquity. Evans's findings help to explain the leading role played by women in the early church. Evans is well known for his studies of Roman agriculture and peasant society, and in this work he shows himself a master of every aspect of social history. There are ten apposite illustrations, three useful indexes, and a splendid bibliography. Strongly recommended for all academic libraries, community college level up.-R. I. Frank, University of California, Irvine
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.