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Valerius Maximus, Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilia Liber 8.3.1

married couple
Relief of a presumably learned matrona, holding a scroll in the three panels fronting a sarcophagus (Vatican)

Maesia, whom Valerius calls Amesia Sentinas (from the town of Sentinum in Umbria), makes her sole appearance briefly in Roman history as a heroine during the mid-first century BCE. Brought to trial before the Praetor Lucius Titius, she defended herself in open court with such skill and confidence that she was acquitted. Neither the charge nor the identity of her accusers is known, only the outcome. Though generally admired, her performance was not without male censure, as it earned her the nickname Androgyne. Amesia appears in Memorabilia 8.3 under the rubric "Which women argued cases before the magistrates for themselves or for others" together with Afrania, who involves herself in civil cases repeatedly, and Hortensia, who pleads on behalf of the aristocratic matronae against the war tax on women before the triumvirs Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus. While their cases differ, Valerius Maximus offers all three as exempla of Roman women who did not let their nature and respect for their stola keep them from speaking in the Forum and lawcourts (condicio naturae et verecundia stolae; see Memorabilia 8.3. Initium). Minimally judgmental toward Amesia and Hortensia, he is harshly critical of Afrania. See Marshall's case for Maesia in "Roman Ladies on Trial" in Bibliography.

Amesia Sentinas rea causam suam L. Titio praetore iudicium cogente maximo populi concursu egit modosque omnes ac numeros defensionis non solum diligenter, sed etiam fortiter executa, et prima actione et paene cunctis sententiis liberata est. quam, quia sub specie feminae virilem animum gerebat, Androgynen appellabant.

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January, 2008