Podcast Season 3, Episode 8 – Not a Puella, Not Yet a Femina: Roman Girlhood with Lauren Caldwell

A selfie of Dr. Lauren Caldwell, a white woman with blond hair, wearing a lime green sweater.
Dr. Lauren Caldwell

Dr. Lauren Caldwell is a lecturer in Classics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she works on Roman social history from the Imperial period, specifically the lives of women and girls, as well as health and medicine. She has published on a variety of topics, most notably her 2015 book, Roman Girlhood and the Fashioning of Femininity. And she is currently working on a project provisionally titled “Health and Healing in the Roman Empire”. Dr. Caldwell also has a special interest in Latin pedagogy and teaches and mentors future Latin teachers at UMass Amherst.

Listen in, as Dr. Caldwell takes us through her work on puberty and girlhood and the practices that surround these life stages in the Roman Empire.

Interested in learning more? Check out these related works by Dr. Caldwell:

Caldwell, L. (2015) Roman Girlhood and the Fashioning of Femininity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Caldwell, L (2016) “Gynecology.” In G. Irby, ed., A Companion to Science, Medicine, and Technology in Ancient Greece and Rome, 360-371New York: Wiley Blackwell.

Looking for a transcript of this episode? Click here.
Mosaic depicting two tiers of young women exercising. Some are playing ball games, one holds a palm leaf, all of whom are wearing brassieres and loin cloths.
Mosaic from a Roman villa near Piazza Armerina, Sicily (Villa Romana del Casale) showing young women exercising (4th c. CE)
(attribution: M. Disdero, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)
Two images, one showing the front and the other the back, of a naked female doll made of ivory. The doll has visible jointed limbs.
Ivory doll with jointed limbs, one of several items found in the sarcophagus of the young woman Crepereia Tryphaena (2nd c. CE, Rome) (attribution: public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Additional Materials Related to this Podcast

Dolansky, F. (2012) “Girls, Dolls, and Adult Ideals in the Roman World.” Classical Antiquity 31: 256-292.

Harlow, M. and R. Laurence (2001) Growing Up and Growing Old in Ancient Rome. New York: Routledge.

Letts, M. (2014) “Rufus of Ephesus and the Patient’s Perspective in Medicine.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22: 996-1020.

Olson, K. (2009) “The Appearance of the Young Roman Girl.” In J. Edmondson and A. Keith, eds., Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture, 139-157. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

McClure, L. (2020) Women in Classical Antiquity: From Birth to Death. New York: Wiley Blackwell.

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