Topics: Family, Marriage, Ancient Rome Pages: 3 (1007 words) Published: April 23, 2013
Jack DeSantis
Western Civilization
The Roman Family

“Familia”, the Latin word for family. This word played a very large role in that of that Roman society. The Roman family is essentially the basic component of Roman society and could also be the archetype of political authority. Without a strong connection and bond in your Familia your family name could not be respected. Everyone in the family had to play his or her own part and had a specific role or purpose to fulfill in order to be a successful family. Whether you were the head of the family, a wife, or a daughter or son, everyone had their own role and duties to execute. There was a very specific hierarchy and structure in which the Roman family was set up. It started with the oldest living male and stemmed down to the children.

At the top of the social hierarchy was the oldest living male, usually the father, known as the “paterfamilias.” This paterfamilias had supreme power within the family, not only in terms of respect but also legally and politically. He held the right to sell family members if he deemed necessary (although rare). Regardless of age, a son was always legally subject to obeying any living Paterfamilias and was also in charge of fulfilling said duties if the current Paterfamilias passed away (eldest son would become the paterfamilias). Although their legal capabilities allowed them to kill a child, wife or any member of the family, most fathers only used this ability as more of a threat than an action. The idea of a strong family bond proved to be valid throughout most familial in that the Paterfamilias for the most part was an affectionate, caring, and kind father. The respect for the Paterfamilias came from the idea of respect for their elders and ancestors. Every patrician belonged to gen, which was essentially a group that lineage back to common ancestor. With that being said all patricians were required to include their “third name” which indicated...
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