• yinfol

Gender Roles in Ancient Rome and Today


From Favoring Women and Discriminating Men to Shaping modern Feminism as Misandry!

  1. Our recollection of events begins here about the year 431 in ancient Rome. Herein, the Right Honorable and Illustrious Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius wrote a series of books for his son. With these books, the father offered his son “a fund of knowledge {scientiae supellex},” an “accumulation of things worth knowing” {noscendorum congerium pollicetur}.” Macrobius didn’t simply pile together bits of ancient knowledge. He delicately well-organized them, blended them and assimilated them so that they would provide enthusiasm in learning and harmony of wisdom.[1] Such transmission of knowledge was crucially important for men in fifth-century Rome, just as it is for men today. For dessert after a banquet of knowledge, Macrobius arranged a series of jests. Macrobius’s concern for verecundia (modesty, discretion, and decorum) prevented him from discussing directly important aspects of gender under gynocentric society. [2] Jests provide an opportunity for communicating aspects of reality not otherwise discussable.

  2. Furthermore, a man visiting Rome from a province attracted crowds because he appeared as if he were Caesar Augustus’s brother. Caesar summoned him and asked, “Was your mother ever in Rome?” The man answered, “No, but my father was many times.”[3] The bite of this resemblance jest comes from underlying Gynocentric reality. If Caesar’s father had an illegitimate child with a provincial woman, that would matter little to Caesar. But if Caesar’s mother had an illegitimate child with a provincial man that would make Caesar’s father a fool or a cuckold. That “edged barb {iocus asper}” became notorious. Caesar Augustus’s indulgence of it was widely discussed with amazement. The purity of matrilineal descent was crucial for social status. What women did mattered much more than what men did.

  3. Either way and as standing opposed to modern widespread feminist myths, women in the ancient world and in particularly in Geocentric Rome weren't oppressed at all, they were less subject to social control and generally could express themselves and their femininity much more freely than the Roman men. Julia, the daughter of Caesar Augustus, wore extravagant and provocative clothes. She was known for licentiousness. Caesar himself behaved more modestly. When asked why she didn’t behave soberly as her father did, Julia saucily replied, “He forgets that he is Caesar, but I remember that I am Caesar’s daughter.”[4] Julia ignored her political responsibility to model normative behavior simply by the virtue of being a woman. Unlike Caesar, she acted as her privilege allowed. From the most privileged to the least privileged groups of men and women, men have less privilege and are more constrained in the exercise of it.

  4. Moreover, the cultural construction of gender roles forces men to struggle to be virtuous and to be recognized as men. Men are commonly disparaged as pigs, dogs and in general as animals; they are even not considered human while women are seen as pure and angelic. The western Gynocentric ideal of the beast and the beauty may have been more a later construction of Christian Europe, "Das (Christlich) Anebdland" (if we want to use the German terminology) but it takes its origin and rests upon this older Roman ideal which polarizes the sexes in a dual way of good and bad, the animal (the beast) and the beauty or the inhuman male versus the angelic and innocent female. Those deep currents of old Roman Gynocentric heritage were maybe not always evident but as we've seen they survived hundreds and thousands of years only to emerge later in the medieval times and the modern feminist Gynocentrism - especially in the works of the knight Ulrich (servitude to women), Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa that have blended them with the Jewish Qabbalistic thought and modern feminism which exalted them all together

  5. Furthermore, Macrobius recorded for his son a jest that Julia made:

  6. "When people aware of her outrageous behavior expressed surprise that her sons looked just like Agrippa {her husband}, though she had been so free in letting others enjoy her charms, she said: “I take on a passenger only when the ship’s hold is full.” [5].

  7. Here we should of course bear in mind and remember that the point of this jest isn’t merely Julia’s shrewd and heartless technique of birth control! Hence, the narrator immediately instructs the reader:

  8. "Compare the mot of Marcus Popillius’ daughter:

  9. When someone wondered why other animals sought a mate of the species only when they wished to become pregnant, she replied:

  10. Because they’re animals!

  11. In other words, being the modern parallel dynamic for those ancient undercurrents women being sexually promiscuous are celebrated today in modern elite culture exactly as they were in ancient Rome. In the authoritative mainstream media of today, slut walks, articles and pseudo-psychology justifying female infidelity, women protesting naked and many more signify in a perverted way that women are strong, independent human beings! So, immediately following the women’s jests about being promiscuous while pregnant, Macrobius placed a jest about public contempt for a man. Vatinus was stoned for not offering the public a sufficiently entertaining gladiatorial show. Roman officials subsequently issued a decree that only fruit could be thrown in the arena. When an official was asked if a pine cone was a fruit, he ruled: "If a person is going to throw it at Vatinus, it’s a fruit"

  12. As we see throwing stones at men, or at boys, like joking about men getting raped, doesn’t violate decorum in Gynocentric society. Publicly criticizing women, in contrast, is extremely dangerous. Adopting the misandrist feminist ideology and double standards viciously degrading, demonizing and de-humanizing men is considered a progress, that's not misandry; however, saying anything against female behavior is considerd misogyny and old fashioned. Therefore, men’s subordinate social status generates tighter constraints on men’s sexuality than on women’s. This is very evident today in the feminist mass media. Men can't say anything in public debate unless they vomit the usual feminist man hating narrative. Anyway, the dessert discussion session ends with an uninvited guest, the aristocratic, bullying Evangelus, urging the men to “act like men”: "As in battle, then, we have to square up to the enemy — pleasures and indulgence in wine — and fight them at close quarters, so that we fortify ourselves against them not by flight or evasion, but by relying on mental exertion, unswerving resolution, and moderate indulgence to preserve our balance and self-restraint. Unlike women, men must respect norms to be socially recognized as different from animals: "We understand that the two pleasures of taste and touch — that is, food and sex — are the only ones that human beings share with the beasts, and that’s why anyone wholly in the grip of these pleasures is counted among the animals of the fields and the wilds; all other pleasures, which derive from the three remaining senses, are peculiar to human beings. … Will anyone with a shred of human decency, then, exult in these two pleasures, of sexual intercourse and gluttony, which human beings share with swine and asses?" [6]

  13. Women can and do exult in those pleasures. Julia and another elite woman were examples that Macrobius recounted under the cover of jests. Men, in contrast, face more social pressure to uphold verecundiaand the gynocentric construction of virtue. Macrobius’s son probably would have understood the lesson better than most modern readers have. Today, men’s sexuality is broadly criminalized, men have no reproductive rights, and cuckolding of men is institutionalized in official paternity establishment procedures. Today, with freedom of expression more constrained in Western countries than it was in the early Islamic caliphates or in medieval Europe, few dare to discuss men’s significant social and political disadvantages. Macrobius points to the importance of men getting together in men-only environments and jesting.


Attribution: the post here is based on a discourse by Douglas Ghalbie on "Purple Motes" published under CCA

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