Talk: The Social Life of Roman Soldiers: the role of wives, children and families in Roman military communities  - BNSS

Event date: 7th September 2021 at: 7.30pm via Zoom

Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Greene

Research over the past few decades has shown quite clearly that women and children were part of life in the Roman army far more often than had ever been considered before. The evidence and spatial patterning of material within and outside Roman forts makes this clear, especially at the site of Vindolanda along Hadrian’s Wall, where Dr. Greene has excavated and researched for the past two decades. However, research on the social role of these individuals still remains under explored. This presentation concentrates on Dr. Greene’s current research into the social aspects of life in the Roman army, considering the evidence that illuminates the varied roles of non-combatants within these somewhat unique settlements. The presentation highlights the very different realities for the wives and children of officers and the family members of, for instance, a foot soldier, who was paid far less and was not legally allowed to contract a marriage while serving. The talk primarily uses the rich and varied archaeological evidence from Vindolanda, including leather shoes and writing tablets, to illuminate the presence and social roles of women and families in this military environment.

Dr. Elizabeth Greene is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Roman Archaeology at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Dr. Greene has been part of the archaeological team at Vindolanda since 2002, leading excavations in the North Field area of the site from 2009-2017 and focusing research on different aspects of the collections.