Reese Askins and Rachel Fairchild: Roman Women

Reese’s paragraph

Women living in Ancient Rome lived simple but important lives.  During the day, most women stayed indoors and maintained the household. Most Roman girls were married by the age of fourteen, if not earlier.  If they were wealthy, they had slaves that helped them. Another job that a Roman Woman was expected to do was teach the children.  Maintaining their house and teaching their children was the main job of any woman that lived in Ancient Rome. Another aspect of life for women was the way that they dressed. Most women wore a rectangular piece of cloth that tied around them like a tube, called a tunica. Another article of clothing, called a stola, was worn by married woman and worn over the tunica. This was seen as a sign of respect. Colors and fabrics used in each tunica was a symbol of the woman’s social class. Brighter colors usually meant a lower class, and darker colors usually meant a higher class. Although they led simple lifestyles, Roman Women still played an important role in Roman society.



“Romans: Family and Children.” BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

“Women’s Daily Life and Work in Ancient Rome.” Women in Ancient Rome: Women’s Daily Life and Work. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

“ROMAN FASHION.” ROMAN FASHION. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

“Ancient Roman Women: A Look at Their Lives.” – Women’s Rights, Rome, Citizenship, Cornelia, Oppian Laws, Divorce, Aristocracy. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.


Rachel’s paragraph

Women in Ancient Rome were very important to the civilization. Their main role was to take care of the household and children, and it was their most important responsibility to have children. Women could move about somewhat freely and participate in some public activities, but the center of their world was supposed to be household. Women had no political rights and they were not allowed to vote or make speeches. Women were indirectly involved in politics because of their influence on their husbands. They were forbidden to participate in politics and war, which were the two central activities of the Roman state. Women did not serve in the army, and it was considered improper for a woman just to watch military maneuvers. Men did not consider men their equals, and women were expected to be obedient to their husbands. They were supposed to be modest, show self-control, and always remain faithful. The finest quality that a Roman woman could possess was pudicitia, which, for an unmarried girl meant purity, and for a wife meant faithfulness and devotion to her husband. The women of Ancient Rome played a very important role to society.



Moulton, Carroll. Ancient Greece and Rome: An Encyclopedia for Students. New York: Scribner, 1998. Print.

“Ancient Roman Women: A Look at Their Lives.” – Women’s Rights, Rome, Citizenship, Cornelia, Oppian Laws, Divorce, Aristocracy. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.


Reese Askins Survival Letter

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA 23223

Dear Lucille E.:

Hello, my name is Reese Askins. I am a curator at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia. The museum is currently working on an exhibit about the Holocaust. While doing research on the photos we will be displaying, I came across one showing an aerial view of the Birkenau Extermination Camp in Auschwitz. I also found your survival story ( and noticed that you, your family, and your friend Ellie all experienced living and working at the Birkenau Extermination Camp in Auschwitz. The use of your story would be greatly appreciated and would help explain the picture.

The aerial picture of the Birkenau Camp simply shows the barracks where the prisoners were kept, and shows a separation of women’s and men’s camps. During your interview, you told of the separation that occurred when you first got off the train, and how people were shoved into different groups. The picture also shows a section in the middle of the barracks that was used for transportation. Similarly, you said that after receiving new clothes you had to march through into Birkenau. You said that the barracks had squares on them, and every five people were given a square to sleep and stand on.

Because your story of survival greatly explains the picture of the Birkenau Camp and what it was like on the inside, would you be willing to let the Virginia Holocaust Museum use your story in our upcoming exhibit? If you don’t mind, I also have a few questions to ask you. While reading your story, I noticed an odd detail about the barracks. You said that during your walk to the barracks, you and the rest of the people passed an orchestra playing Beethoven. Why do you think that there would be an orchestra playing during this? Also, during another selection of how healthy each person was, were you aware that the sick people would be taken to the gas chambers instead of an infirmary? Last, you said you saw dark, black smoke that smelled very bad. Did you know that was coming from the crematory after the prisoners were forced into the gas chambers, and that the gas chambers themselves were right next to the camp?

Thank you so much for your time and cooperation. Your story will help further explain the horrific events that went on in Auschwitz, and will help educate people on what it was really like to experience it.


Reese Askins


Link to photograph