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Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors  2012

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In this final episode, Mary Beard delves even deeper into ordinary Roman life by going behind the closed doors of their homes. She meets an extraordinary cast of characters - drunken housewives, teenage brides, bullied children and runaway slaves - and paints a more dynamic, lusty picture of Roman family life. Mary uncovers their preserved beds, furniture and cradles, tries on Roman wedding rings and meets some eccentric wives like Glyconis, praised by her husband for liking a drink or two, and Allia Potestas, who lived in a Roman menage a trois. Mary explores Roman parenting, childbirth and children, including Sulpicius Maximus, an 11-year-old schoolboy who was worked to death by his pushy parents, and Geminia Mater, a 5-year-old tomboy. Finally, Mary paints a more nuanced picture of Roman slavery and asks why if it was such a brutal institution did many Romans choose to be buried with their servants - living cheek by jowl in death, as in life