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Quote of the day: Our ancestors wanted Janus Quirinus to b
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 33: Wifes and campaigning[AD 21]
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During this debate Severus Caecina proposed that no magistrate who had obtained a province should be accompanied by his wife. He began by recounting at length how harmoniously he had lived with his wife, who had borne him six children, and how in his own home he had observed what he was proposing for the public, by having kept her in Italy, though he had himself served forty campaigns in various provinces. "With good reason," he said, "had it been formerly decided that women were not to be taken among our allies or into foreign countries. A train of women involves delays through luxury in peace and through panic in war, and converts a Roman army on the march into the likeness of a barbarian progress. Not only is the sex feeble and unequal to hardship, but, when it has liberty, it is spiteful, intriguing and greedy of power. They show themselves off among the soldiers and have the centurions at their beck. Lately a woman had presided at the drill of the cohorts and the evolutions of the legions. You should yourselves bear in mind that, whenever men are accused of extortion, most of the charges are directed against the wives. It is to these that the vilest of the provincials instantly attach themselves; it is they who undertake and settle business; two persons receive homage when they appear; there are two centres of government, and the women's orders are the more despotic and intemperate. Formerly they were restrained by the Oppian and other laws; now, loosed from every bond, they rule our houses, our tribunals, even our armies." Inter quae Severus Caecina censuit ne quem magistratum cui provincia obvenisset uxor comitaretur, multum ante repetito concordem sibi coniugem et sex partus enixam, seque quae in publicum statueret domi servavisse, cohibita intra Italiam, quamquam ipse pluris per provincias quadraginta stipendia explevisset. haud enim frustra placitum olim ne feminae in socios aut gentis externas traherentur: inesse mulierum comitatui quae pacem luxu, bellum formidine morentur et Romanum agmen ad similitudinem barbari incessus convertant. non imbecillum tantum et imparem laboribus sexum sed, si licentia adsit, saevum, ambitiosum, potestatis avidum; incedere inter milites, habere ad manum centuriones; praesedisse nuper feminam exercitio cohortium, decursu legionum. cogitarent ipsi quotiens repetundarum aliqui arguerentur plura uxoribus obiectari: his statim adhaerescere deterrimum quemque provincialium, ab his negotia suscipi, transigi; duorum egressus coli, duo esse praetoria, pervicacibus magis et impotentibus mulierum iussis quae Oppiis quondam aliisque legius constrictae