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Historical Mysteries

Rome/Greece - Second Century A.D.

©1996-2013
womeninworldhistory.com

The Murder of Regilla

A Case of Domestic violence in Antiquity

by Sarah Pomeroy

Pomeroy, a well established historian of ancient history, provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of women of the highest social class in Imperial Rome. Appia Annia Regilla Atilia Caucidia Tertulla married a very rich husband but one who was somewhat alien because of his Greek lineage. When Regilla follows him to live in one of his massive estates outside Athens, things fall apart. After giving birth to at least five children, she suffers a brutal murder, kicked in the stomach at the age of 35 while eight months pregnant. Her husband is implicated, is tried in Rome, and is acquitted.

We know of Regilla’s fate in the beginning of this tale. What we learn from then on is everything Pomeroy can tease out of the few extant sources regarding Regilla - the possible reasons for the murder, the tenuous position of even wealthy women in this age, and the social milieu in which Regilla lived her short life.

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