This paper explores the dynamics of women's public nudity in the early Roman empire, centering particularly on two festival occasions—the rites of Venus Verticordia and Fortuna Virilis on April 1, and the Floralia in late April—and on the respective social and spatial contexts of those festivals: the baths and the theater. In the early empire, these two social spaces regularly remove or complicate some of the markers that divide Roman women by sociosexual status. The festivals and the ritual nudity within them focus attention on the negotiations of social boundaries within these spaces, and the occasions for cross-class identification among women they provide.
Keywords:nudity, Floralia, Veneralia, Fortuna Virilis, Venus Verticordia, Flora, Roman dress, Roman women, baths, mixed bathing
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