Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Hortensia

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Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Hortensia
Flourished mid-1st century B.C., Rome

Daughter of an orator, Hortensia protested the levy of a tax on the aristocratic women of Rome to finance a war against the assassins of Julius Caesar. Her speech, recounted in the Civil Wars of Appian (circa 95–165), was delivered in the Roman Forum, where citizens traditionally petitioned the government. Hortensia objected to taxation without representation as well as another civil war, declaring "Why should we [women] pay taxes when we have no part in the honors, the commands, the state-craft, for which you contend against each other with such harmful results?" Angered by her speech, the triumvirs—Marc Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus—nevertheless reduced the number of women to be taxed from 1,400 to 400, and equalized the burden by imposing a tax on men.

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