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Full Version: A Feminist Approach to Caesar\'s Conquest of Gaul
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Before Caesar invaded Gaul, Italian traders had already visited the country. There were trade networks, and we might be able to establish the nature and reach of these networks by investigating the spread of Italian jewelry and other typically "female" objects. After that, we may conclude whether Caesar used these networks.

In other words, military history may benefit from feminist archaeology. However, I am not aware of any such study.

That usually means that I haven't read enough. What did I miss?
Hello, Jona

That's an interesting idea as a way to determine "Caesar's trail." The only drawback is establishing an accurate time-frame for feminine jewelry (any item, really) to within his campaigns with carbon 14 dating, which might be 100 years + or -, some of it traded AFTER Caesar. But, it seems highly likely that a military campaign would use existing trade routes anyway, whether they supplied women, men, or neuters.
Jona I don't think you have missed anything in particular. There are many sides to an argument and archaeological interpretation is what makes the mix of science and art so enthralling.

My only concern would be that feminist archaeologists - and some male colleagues from the more orthodox study - may just have to learn to live with the fact that soldiers as well as other men wore jewellery too(including beads in all their many and vaired forms and uses)and that "female" articles such as bone and bronze needles and hair pins have many uses other than that for which they were originally designed.

Then there's always the soldiers' sweet hearts and mothers to be remembered...
Quote:soldiers as well as other men wore jewellery
Good point.
Sounds interesting and vaguely familiar but I would drop the "feminist" immediately.

I seem to remember that much of the trade was based on organic goods, however, e.g wines for things like skins, meats, ores etc? Combined with the paucity of dating and the Romanisation that occurs heavily post Claudium? It seems an unlikely proposition over all.
Since it is well? documented that there was thriving trade between Rome and Gual,
And it would appear that the trade must have occurred over anetwork of trackways and road in existence before
Caesars foray into Gaul, it would seem alogical thing to follow, to some extent, these existing routes, improving them where necessary and expedient? Most invading armies utilise the existing networks, even today!
would the finds of jewellery be abetted indicator than the amphora or other Roman products
Found archaeologically at native sites?
In itself a very interesting topic for research, but with the usual pitfalls.

Another such study was done on the earliest Anglo-Saxon jewellery appearing in Britain, allowing to determine the onset on Anglo-Saxon settlement. It was argued that when the first women began to appear, this meant that the immigrants meant to stay. Of course, the time between arrival and burial was not taken into account 9which can differ by 30 years), whilst on the other hand the spread of foreign jewellery among the indigenous Romano-Britons was also neglected (whereas it's always supposed that the Celtic women DID like to wear Roman jewels).
Quote:My only concern would be that feminist archaeologists - and some male colleagues from the more orthodox study - may just have to learn to live with the fact that soldiers as well as other men wore jewellery too(including beads in all their many and vaired forms and uses)and that "female" articles such as bone and bronze needles and hair pins have many uses other than that for which they were originally designed.
Hi,

I think this response is probably much closer to actual feminist archaeology than simply looking for women! Modern feminism is better labelled gender studies, and Roman society is certainly a rich vein for discussion of this nature. In the context of the OP (which isn't really invoking feminist archaeology as such) this could turn to the question of who in Gaul was buying Roman jewellery, for whom, and why, and then turn to what the Romans made of that trade. Of course, answering that is probably going to rely more on finding ethnographic parallels than historical indicators...
Quote:Modern feminism is better labelled gender studies, and Roman society is certainly a rich vein for discussion of this nature. In the context of the OP (which isn't really invoking feminist archaeology as such) this could turn to the question of who in Gaul was buying Roman jewellery, for whom, and why, and then turn to what the Romans made of that trade. Of course, answering that is probably going to rely more on finding ethnographic parallels than historical indicators...
Yup.
Quote:Yup.
'Yup' to the body of my post or just to my last assertion?

I've just read your blog which is a fascinating and informative read - I hope I didn't sound too condescending in my last post... I'm afraid I can't speak for gender roles and identities in pre-conquest Gaul, but the possibilities of feminist archaeology in relation to Roman military studies as a whole is addressed in the collected papers of Archaeological Dialogues 13(1), 2006. I don't know how relevant that will be to your initial question, but I think it's a fascinating area of debate.
This has been bothering me for a while and finally found it (...on page one of Book One de Bello Gallico :roll: )

Caesar's own opinion perhaps?

"Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae, propterea quod a cultu atque humanitate provinciae longissime absunt, minimeque ad eos mercatores saepe commeant atque ae quae ad effeminandos animos pertinent important..."

"Of all these people the Belgae are the most courageous because they are farthest removed from the culture and the civilization of the Province, and least often visited by merchants introducing the commodities that make for effeminacy..."

So, in the context of the thread are we discussing effeminate objects or products which make the hostile tribes of Gaul soft by making their lives easier?
In that context, I think definitely the latter (note that 'effeminacy' and 'feminine' are not the same thing, and Caesar is unlikely to have worried unduly about feminine women in Gaul).

It's a common trope among Roman writers that contemporary Roman society was too luxurious and peaceful for its own good, and that an ideal state of being was a (materially) primitive one, of self-reliance and independence. So although it could be referring to the brooches and perfumes that are associated with women but which may have been worn by the 'wrong sort' of male, it may also simply be referring to the trade (rather than production) of commodities such as wine, exotic foods, textiles etc, and the implication that closer tribes focused more on agriculture and trade as a source of wealth than raiding and warring.

Still it's definitely an indication that Caesar himself saw the trade routes as an important factor in terms of identifying military strength, even if ultimately it just meant the more obscure tribes were those most feared.
Quote: ...it may also simply be referring to the trade (rather than production) of commodities such as wine, exotic foods, textiles etc, and the implication that closer tribes focused more on agriculture and trade as a source of wealth than raiding and warring.

I'd certainly agree with that.

Quote: So although it could be referring to the brooches and perfumes that are associated with women but which may have been worn by the 'wrong sort' of male,

May I ask what you mean by "wrong sort" of male?
Quote:May I ask what you mean by "wrong sort" of male?
This is certainly not a personal belief (hence the quote marks) but rather a reference to Roman elite attitudes to those soldiers who did not live up to the established Roman ideal (expressed in extant literary sources) of how a proper Roman man should act. Essentially, the 'wrong sort' of man used perfume, luxurious dress, comfortable furnishings, ate exotic foods, and played the submissive role in sexual relationships (not the same as simply being homosexual). Generally these men are written of disparagingly within the sources (usually in contrast to an appropriately masculine commander), although rarely at the level of hatred you see in some modern Christian polemics. However, the fact they are described at all is noteworthy.

I can't remember specific sources, but Sara Elise Phang's 'Roman Military Discipline' and Myles McDonnell's 'Roman Manliness: Virtus and the Roman Republic' both discuss the ideal behaviour of the Roman male, and thus the Roman soldier.
I understand.

The pernicious Eastern influences that got Mark Antony into trouble...
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