11.5.2020 at 17:00
Andrew Riggsby (University of Texas at Austin): Could There be Argentariae?
It is often asserted, on the basis of a single text in the Digest, that Roman law prohibited women from becoming bankers (argentarii), and this has (despite occasional puzzlement) been taken as an unsurprising feature of Roman patriarchy. In this paper I suggest an alternative reading of the text in question. From a purely formal point of view the provision actually frees female bankers from certain obligations. In a practical context, however, the end result would be restrictive, but in a different and more nuanced way than has conventionally be understood. Such a reading fits better with what we know about the role of gender in Roman law in the area.
Professor Andrew Riggsby is the Lucy Shoe Meritt Professor and Graduate Adviser in Classics, Professor of Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. His current work focuses on the history of information (its production, organization, and storage) in the Roman world (and the broader ancient Mediterranean), applications of cognitive science, and Roman law. He also continues to work in the cultural history of Roman political institutions.