This session aims to look past the idea of a homogenous Roman male elite identity in order to understand masculinities, which have been marginalized by both Roman society and contemporary gender studies. A wealthy husband and statesman in Rome would have had a completely different life experience and gender identity than an unmarried young soldier on the British frontier. Contemporary scholarship, however, often groups such individuals together under the heading of “men.” By focusing solely on male identities, this session endeavours to demonstrate that literary evidence, artistic depictions and archaeological artefacts, including jewellery and personal adornment, offer a rich resource in uncovering multiple masculinities and understanding the ways in which these masculinities were created and displayed by Roman men throughout the Empire.
Over the past thirty years, gender studies have successfully “added” women into investigations of Roman culture and society and the theoretical importance of these studies has been reflected in TRAC. In 2010, TRAC had two fruitful and successful sessions on gender theory, ‘Cloth, Clothing and Gender in Roman Archaeology’ and ‘Engendering Material Cultural Packages in Roman Archaeology.’ Our session argues that gender theory has moved on enough to allow scholars to “subtract” women briefly in order to better understand the various and diverse masculinities, which existed in the Roman world and have been overshadowed by uncovering female identities. Potential themes include multiple masculinities within Roman society, differing views of masculinity based on ethnicity and so-called deviant masculinities.