Information from the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations
When we entered the third gallery of the exhibit of Mediterranean civilizations at the MuCEM, the curator set up a symposium arena, which modeled how citizens interacted with each other to discuss politics, philosophy, culture, and et cetera. The symposium included various black figure pottery surrounded by lounging benches for those citizens to interact surrounded by art. “The elite ruled the city: warriors, who were born to natives of the city and able to provide arms. This elite took part in warfare, hunting games and banquets.” (MuCEM 2016). In the front of the exhibit, the curator incorporated a modern screen with nine North African women telling their stories as chefs, scientists, restaurant owners, and other successful professions. Consequentially, during the Roman Empire women would not have been allowed at these symposiums of politics or philosophy. “But citizenship was nethertheless restricted, since women and slaves were excluded” (MuCEM 2016). These women were exerting their power of voice to show how in the modern world the idea of citizenship has changed. They spoke on how the food and products are the same; thus telling a similar story. They continued to talk about the presence of effective science that is born in the Mediterranean community with men and women. The contrast of old and new within the exhibit showed how the Mediterranean society has evolved over 2,600 years ago when Marseille was founded. Women are as much part of the Mediterranean history as the men. The symposium set up by the museum curator spoke to how the definition of being considered a citizen in society has changed throughout time, yet the privilege of being a citizen is still conflicted within race, gender, and class.