Podcast Season 2, Episode 12 – Breaking the Bond: Forced Marriage and Cursed Freedom in Ancient Rome with Katharine Huemoeller

Dr. Katherine Huemoller on excavation standing in a trench with her child strapped to her chest.
Dr. Katharine Huemoeller

On this episode of the Peopling the Past podcast, we are joined by Dr. Katharine Huemoeller, an Assistant Professor of Roman History at the University of British Columbia, where she works on gender and slavery in Rome. She is an active field archaeologist currently working as a team member of the Contrada Agnese Project excavating Hellenistic and Roman Morgantina in Sicily. She is also working on a book on the sexual labour of enslaved women in Roman households.

Listen in, as Dr. Huemoeller takes us through a discussion of the lives of enslaved and freedwomen in ancient Rome and the ways in which status affects a woman’s position and role within the Roman household economy. She also highlights the role that material culture plays in framing our understanding of enslaved and freedwomen in the Roman world.

Interested in learning more? Check out this related article by Dr. Huemoeller:

Huemoeller, K.P. (2020). Freedom in Marriage? Manumission for Marriage in the Roman World. Journal of Roman Studies, 110, 123-139.

Looking for a transcript of this episode? Click here.
Marble altar in honour of Julila Procula showing an image of a young girl with foliage underneath the depiction.
Altar in honour of Junia Procula. Front. Image: Uffizi Gallery.
The back of the altar of Junia Procula which contains a curse enacted by Euphrosinus on his cheating wife.
Altar in honour of Junia Procula. Back with explanation of curse. Image: Uffizi Gallery.
Additional Resources Related to this Podcast

Evans Grubbs, J. 2002: ‘Stigmata aeterna: a husband’s curse’, in J. F. Miller, C. Damon and K.S. Myers (eds), Vertis in Usum: Studies in Honor of Edward Courtney, Munich, 230–42.

Graf, F. 2007: ‘Untimely death, witchcraft and divine vengeance: a reasoned epigraphical catalog’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 162, 139–50.

Kamen, D. and C. W. Marshall (eds). 2021: Slavery and Sexuality in Classical Antiquity. Madison, Wisconsin.

Kleijwegt, M. 2012: ‘Deciphering freedwomen in the Roman Empire’, in S. Bell and T. Ramsby (eds), Free At Last! The Impact of Freed Slaves on the Roman Empire, London, 110–29.

Perry, M. J. 2013: Gender, Manumission and the Roman Freedwoman, Cambridge.

Other Useful Materials

P. Gabrielle Foreman, et al. “Writing about Slavery/Teaching About Slavery: This Might Help” community-sourced document, accessed September 1st, 2021, 8:15pm.

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