Fertility, Ideology, and the Cultural Politics of Reproduction at Rome


Winner of the 2024 Mark Golden Book Prize
Roman women bore children not just for their husbands, but for the Roman state. This book is the first comprehensive study of the importance of fecunditas (human fertility) in Roman society, c. 100 BC - AD 300. Its focus is the cultural impact of fecunditas, from gendered assumptions about infertility, to the social capital children brought to a marriage, to the emperors’ exploitation of fecunditas to build and preserve dynasties. Using a rich range of source material - literary, juristic, epigraphic, numismatic - never before collected, it explores how the Romans shaped fecunditas into an essential female virtue.

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Angela Hug, Ph.D. (2014), York University (Toronto), teaches at that university in the Departments of History and Humanities, and at Glendon College. She is the co-editor of The Roman Emperor and His Court (Cambridge, 2022).
List of Figures and Tables
Abbreviations and Conventions


1 The Place of Marriage and Children in Roman Society

2 Gendering Fecunditas

3 Exploiting Fecunditas

4 Lacking Fecunditas: Overcoming Involuntary Childlessness

5 Fecunditas and the State

6 Fecunditas and the Imperial Family

Appendix: Latin Inscriptions Commemorating Women Who Likely Died in Childbirth or While Pregnant
Index of Sources
General Index
This book is aimed at a scholarly audience. It will appeal to Roman historians, as well as historians of other periods whose research interests include fertility and the family.
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