3.6 No Taxation Without Representation (in Rome)

Hortensia of Rome Argues Before the Senate (successfully)

Hortensia of Rome argued for no taxation without representation 1700 years before the founding fathers of the US did. And she succeeded! (More or less.) Listen to hear how she did it.

Selected Sources

My major source this week is Appian of Alexandria’s account of Hortensia. The translation I used is here. Quintus Valerius Maximus is no where near as detailed, but he does speak highly of her in this account.

Other sources include this article on the Egyptian cattle count, this one on ancient taxes, this one on women in the Roman Republic, and finally this article on Jstor:

Chatelard, Aude, and Anne Stevens. “Women as Legal Minors and Their Citizenship in Republican Rome.” Clio. Women, Gender, History, no. 43 (2016): 24-47. Accessed July 6, 2021. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26242541.

Sadly I am unaware of any actual picture of Hortensia, so the feature image is not actually of her. It’s actually an unknown woman, portrayed in a fresco in Pompeii, so just a little before Hortensia’s time. It’s commonly called the Sappho fresco, though there is absolutely no reason to think this Roman woman was supposed to be the Greek poet.

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