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Document Details :
Title: On Her Own
Subtitle: Practices of Female Benefaction in the Western Roman Empire
Author(s): MEYERS, Rachel
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 49 Date: 2019
Circumstances regarding the practice of civic munificence by women in the ancient Roman Empire have been obscured by scholars who focus primarily on literary accounts or the body of legal opinions. In this article I take a quantitative approach in analyzing a corpus of about 400 inscriptions from the western provinces, and in applying a high level of scrutiny, assumptions about the types of benefactions women made can by dispelled. By examining the variety of gifts over time and place, I show that women had the financial resources to afford costly expenditures and, overwhelmingly, women undertook projects of munificentia publica on their own, rather than jointly with family members as others have suggested. Women acted in public in ways that were socially and legally accessible to them. In certain donations, such as public feasts and cash distributions, women followed the same civic ideals as male donors.