Accounting for Affection: Mothering and Politics in Early by C. Castiglione

By C. Castiglione

Accounting for Affection examines the multifaceted nature of early glossy motherhood by way of concentrating on the information and techniques of Roman aristocratic moms in the course of familial clash. Illuminating new methods to the maternal and the familial hired by means of such girls, it demonstrates how interventions received expanding want in early smooth Rome.

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A study based exclusively on legal records would highlight the adversarial aspect of family life, which was certainly present. However, a close scrutiny of the evidence in family archives reveals that judicial interventions influenced but did not define familial dynamics and connections. 76 A full understanding of Roman family life has to account for this ambiguity, which presents itself in a variety of ways behind the scenes of litigation – the half-hearted pursuit of lawsuits, the appropriation of the language of maternal love to describe an uncle’s or a father’s affection, the refusal to make out a will that would have obliterated many aristocratic mothers’ possibilities for litigation.

For instance, one Roman aristocratic mother, Ippolita Ludovisi, argued in favor of allowing all of her many daughters to marry if they wished, rather than placing most of them into the convent, as had been the family practice. Ippolita’s affection for her daughters triggered a crisis of religious meaning regarding the highest ethical choices possible in family life. Her defense of her daughters’ free will became for her a matter of conscience that she also believed was in the best interests of the dynasty.

It was evoked to explain why an individual would do something that was socially or politically illogical, such as loving a person below his or her social rank78 or insisting that the wishes of a child for her future should be considered. 79 Love for children was considered necessary, although too much parental love was viewed as a sin. In popular sayings of the day, the death of a child could be attributed to the mother’s excessive love for her or him. A parent’s wish to allow a child to marry as s/he wished was tempered by the fact that such a marriage might threaten the financial ruin of the family.

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