The glitter and cynicism of Rome under Mussolini provide the background of what is probably Alberto Moravia’s best and best-known novel — The Woman of Rome. It’s the story of Adriana, a simple girl with no fortune but her beauty who models naked for a painter, accepts gifts from men, and could never quite identify the moment when she traded her private dream of home and children for the life of a prostitute. One of the very few novels of the twentieth century which can be ranked with the work of Dostoevsky, The Woman of Rome also tells the stories of the tortured university student Giacomo, a failed revolutionary who refuses to admit his love for Adriana; of the sinister figure of Astarita, the Secret Police officer obsessed with Adriana; and of the coarse and brutal criminal Sonzogno, who treats Adriana as his private property. Within this story of passion and betrayal, Moravia calmly strips away the pride and arrogance hiding the corrupt heart of Italian Fascism.
The first biography in any language of one of the most celebrated Italian writers of the twentieth century. Born in 1912 to an unconventional family of modest means, Elsa Morante grew up with an independent spirit, a formidable will, and an unshakable commitment to writing. Forced to hide from the Fascists during World War II in a remote mountain hut with her husband, renowned author Alberto Moravia, she re-emerged at war's end to take her place among the premier Italian writers of her day. When Rome was film capital of the world, she counted Pasolini, Visconti, and the young Bertolucci among her circle of friends. She was charismatic, beautiful, and fiercely intelligent; her marriage, a passionate union of literary giants, captivated a nation; her love affairs were intense and often tragic. And until now few Americans have known of this remarkable woman and her powerful, original talent.
These two essays explore sexual tropes, rituals, and mores of Roman antiquity from a thoroughly modern perspective. While attentive to the historical interpretations of the mythical meeting of Diana and Actaeon, and the sexual rituals of ancient Rome, Klossowski's studies bring to the reader the affinity the author has for his subject matter.
Drawing from a broad range of documentation this book vividly characterizes eleven royal women who are brought visually to life through photographs of over 300 ancient coins and through the author's own illustrations. Spanning the period from the death of Julius Caesar in 44BC to the third century AD, and with an epilogue surveying empresses of later eras, the author's compelling biographies reveal their remarkable contributions towards the legacy of Imperial Rome. Examining the wives, daughters, sisters and mothers of emperors, the study includes: a pregnant Roman princess who saves a Roman army through an act of personal heroism three third-century empresses who rule the most powerful state on Earth, presiding over unprecedented social and political reform an empress, though revered by her husband, is immortalized in history for infidelity and corruption by students of her greatest enemy. Jasper Burns paints portraits of these exceptional women that are colourful, sympathetic, and above all profoundly human. This book will be highly valuable to numismatists, students and scholars of Roman history or women’s studies.
Example in this ebook CHAPTER IMaria Montalto was dressed as a Neapolitan Acquaiola and kept the lemonade stall at the Kermess in Villa Borghese. The villa has lately changed its official name, and not for the first time in its history, but it will take as long to accustom Romans to speak of it as Villa Umberto as it once did before they could give up calling it Villa Cenci. For the modern Romans are conservative people, who look with contempt or indifference on the changes of nomenclature which are imposed from time to time by their municipal representatives. The lady was selling iced lemonade, syrup of almonds, and tamarind to the smart and the vulgar, the just and the unjust alike; and her dress consisted of a crimson silk skirt embroidered with gold lace, a close-fitting low bodice that matched it more or less and confined the fine linen she wore, which was a little open at the throat and was picked up with red ribband at the elbows, besides being embroidered in the old-fashioned Neapolitan way. She had a handsome string of pink corals round her neck, Sicilian gold earrings hung at her ears, and a crimson silk handkerchief was tied over her dark hair with a knot behind her head. She was very good-looking, and every one said the costume was becoming to her; and as she was not at all vain, she enjoyed her little success of prettiness very much. After all, she was barely seven-and-twenty and had a right to look five years younger in a fancy dress. She was not really a widow, though many of her friends had fallen into the habit of treating her as if she were. It was seven years since Montalto had left her and had gone to live with his mother in Spain. They had only lived together two years when he had gone away, and observant people said that Maria had not grown a day older since, whereas they had noticed a very great change in her appearance soon after she had been married. It was quite absurd that at twenty she should have had a little patch of grey by her left temple just where the dark hair waved naturally. At that rate we should all be old at thirty. The observant ones had noticed another odd thing about Maria Montalto. Her girl friends remembered especially a certain fearless look in her eyes, which were not black, though they were almost too dark to be called brown, and used to be most wonderfully full of warm light in her girlhood. But she had not been married many months, perhaps not many weeks, when a great change had come into them, and instead of fearlessness her friends had seen the very opposite in them, a look of continual terror, a haunted look, the look of a woman who lives in perpetual dread of a terrible catastrophe. It had been there before her boy was born, and it was there afterwards; later she had been ill for some time, after which Montalto had gone away, and since that day her eyes had changed again. There was no terror in them now, but there was the perpetual remembrance of something that had hurt very much. I once knew a man who had been tortured by savages for twenty-four hours, and his eyes had that same expression ever afterwards. In the Middle Ages, when torture was the common instrument of the law, many persons must have gone about with that memory of suffering in their eyes, plain for every one to see. Maria looked as if she had undergone bodily torture, which she remembered, but no longer feared. After all, her trouble had left no lines in her young features, nor anything but that singular expression of her eyes and that tiny patch of white in her hair. Her face was rather pale, but with that delicious warm pallor which often goes with perfect health in dark people of the more refined type, and the crimson kerchief certainly set it off very well, as the corals did, too, and the queer little Sicilian earrings. To be continue in this ebook
Like their modern counterparts, the 'first ladies' of Rome were moulded to meet the political requirements of their emperors, be they fathers, husbands, brothers or lovers. But the women proved to be liabilities as well as assets - Augustus' daughter Julia was accused of affairs with at least five men, Claudius' wife Messalina was a murderous tease who cuckolded and humiliated her elderly husband, while Fausta tried to seduce her own stepson and engineered his execution before boiled to death as a punishment. In The First Ladies of Rome Annelise Freisenbruch unveils the characters whose identities were to reverberate through the ages, from the virtuous consort, the sexually voracious schemer and the savvy political operator, to the flighty bluestocking, the religious icon and the romantic heroine. Using a rich spectrum of literary, artistic, archaeological and epigraphic evidence, this book uncovers for the first time the kaleidoscopic story of some of the most intriguing women in history, and the vivid and complex role of the empresses as political players on Rome's great stage.
Despite a common perception that most writing in antiquity was produced by men, some important literature written by women during this period has survived. Edited by I. M. Plant, Women Writers of Ancient Greece and Rome is a comprehensive anthology of the surviving literary texts of women writers from the Graeco-Roman world that offers new English translations from the works of more than fifty women. From Sappho, who lived in the seventh century B.C., to Eudocia and Egeria of the fifth century A.D., the texts presented here come from a wide range of sources and span the fields of poetry and prose. Each author is introduced with a critical review of what we know about the writer, her work, and its significance, along with a discussion of the texts that follow. A general introduction looks into the problem of the authenticity of some texts attributed to women and places their literature into the wider literary and social contexts of the ancient Graeco-Roman world.
Rome is a subject of endless fascination, and in this new biography of the infamous Empress Livia, Matthew Dennison brings to life a woman long believed to be one of the most feared villainesses of history. Second wife of the emperor Augustus, mother of his successor Tiberius, grandmother of Claudius and great grandmother of Caligula, the empress Livia lived close to the center of Roman political power for eight turbulent decades. Her life spanned the years of Rome's transformation from Republic to Empire, and witnessed both its triumphs under the rule of Augustus and its lapse into instability under his dysfunctional successor. Livia was given the honorific title Augusta in her husband's will, and was posthumously deified by the emperor Claudius—but posterity would prove less respectful. The Roman historian Tacitus anathematized her as "malevolent" and a "feminine bully" and inspired Robert Graves's celebrated twentieth-century depiction of Livia in I, Claudius as the quintessence of the scheming matriarch, poisoning her relatives one by one to smooth her son's path to the imperial throne. Livia, Empress of Rome rescues the historical Livia from the crude caricature of popular myth to paint an elegant and richly textured portrait. In this rigorously researched biography, Dennison weighs the evidence found in contemporary sources to present a more nuanced assessment. Livia's true "crime," he reveals, was not murder but the exercise of power. The Livia who emerges here is a complex, courageous and gifted woman, and one of the most fascinating and perplexing figures of the ancient world.