Exceptional women of Roman history (M. Jallet-Huant)

Exceptional women of Roman history (M. Jallet-Huant)

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The Exceptional Women of Roman History offers a journey through time, from the founding of Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire of East and West, enlightened by the action of women in decisions and actions of this civilization. The history of Rome, in fact, has long been told through politics and wars, reserved for men. So who are these influential women that history has forgotten? How did they act in the shadow of men? So many questions that the book promises to answer.

Monique Jallet-Huant, passionate about Italy and in particular the ancient period, has written numerous works on the small and large characters who, by their actions, have left an undeniable imprint in history as it has come down to us.

In her book Exceptional Women of Roman History, from the Louve to Gallia Placidia, the author offers, after a brief reminder of the major events in the history of Rome and the women who marked this period, a chronological reading in three parts: the first two centuries, marked by the legendary foundation of Rome and the first conflicts with the peoples of Italy, the Roman Republic and finally the Empire, until the fall of Rome. Thus, Monique Jallet-Huant gives us a list of men of influence for nearly a millennium, and relies on many Latin authors to illustrate their actions and their consequences, notably through historical anecdotes. The author provides us with a complete chronology of ancient Rome, enlightened by the action of a few Roman women who had a political impact through their relationships with men of power. Women or lovers, mothers or sisters, some women have irreparably affected the future of Rome by instilling revolutionary ideas, or by instigating murders which will have an impact on the politics in place.

Our opinion

Through the various powerful men who have succeeded at the head of Rome and their military or political actions, the author addresses an informed reader who already has a knowledge of the history of Rome, the ancient peoples and the major events. This series of names and stories can lose the uninitiated reader in the general history of Rome, forgetting to situate each event in relation to the others.

To sum up, the title suggests an important place given to women, but on reading, it is a fairly complete chronological list of men and events on the history of Rome, illuminated by the influence of a few women. It is important to note that these women are presented according to male Latin authors exclusively, through numerous text excerpts, and never questioned by the author. We also find in the book sentences in italics that are difficult to identify, such as extracts or as a personal opinion of the author, this somewhat disturbs the already very linear reading. Interesting book for anecdotes and very complete but very dense!

Exceptional Women of Roman History, by Monique Jallet-Huant. Presses de Valmy, September 2014.

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