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Lecture 3

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University of Toronto St. George
Michael J.Dewar

Lecture 3: Fathers and Husbands January 15 , 2013  Rome patriarchal  rule of the father - Pater = father - However, Rome never truly lived to this idea of the father being the head/ruler - Yet the father did own their children in practice and legally - Often said, the father was the only one that counted  not really true - Pater familias = the father who is the head of a household (a family)  father could do anything yet there was limits i) Patria protestas = absolute legal power of his family  Augustus  limited the power a father could have over fam by installing legalities and consequences  Practical sense  the extreme was very limited (did happen but not a lot)  Statistics - Avg age a person stayed at parent s house was until the age of 25 - A good portion of women died during child birth - By 41, 6% chance that your father was still alive - Long age wasn‟t frequent, very rare - We don‟t have enough evidence to learn just how true the avg family is i) We have to determine and interpret the evidence ii) You have to allow customs to play a part (ie culture) - Ideal household i) Had an atrium  Open house concept  Its blackened in colour (from the place where they cooked, adjacent to it)  Romans: knew about the special, separate space for women in greece. Thus, Romans  did something similar (ie to have something special as well) (a) YET, it was shared between the husband and wife. (i) How? We don‟t really know. The booksuggest that when the husband left the house, the wife took over during the day - Customs i) Often in power over legality ii) Wives  could remain in the care (manus =hand of power) of her father  Very little in occurance iii) But in practice, its legal: wife could go to father if abused and father would remove her from her husband  Yet, husband who publically abused wives  loses dignitias (=diginity) iv) 90% of Roman lit. work written by aristocratic men  So we don‟t know how women actually felt about their husbands  Customs dictates the behavior of society R1: The legal ideal But the lawgiver of the Romans (i. e. Romulus) gave virtually full power to the father over his son, even during his whole life, whether he thought proper to imprison him, to scourge him, to put him in chains and keep him at work in the fields, or to put him to death, and this even though the son were already engaged in public affairs, though he were numbered among the highest magistrates, and though he were celebrated for his zeal for the commonwealth. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 2. 26. 4 (Tr. Earnest Cary, Loeb Classical Library)  Foreigner noted that fathers had unparallel powers over family - Dionysus was a greek trying to be a roman (through learning) - Women more prominent in social role (unlike the greeks)  Romulus didn‟t exist - But credited, attributed to him that he presented it R2: The severity of the ancients Egnatius Mecenius beat his wife to death with a club because she had drunk some wine. And not only did no one bring him to court because of this deed, but no one even reproached him, for all the best men thought that she had deserved the punishment for her example of intemperance. For assuredly any woman who desires to drink wine immoderately closes the door to all virtues (omnibus…virtutibus) and opens it to all vices. Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds and Words 6. 3. 9. (Tr. Jo-Ann Shelton, As The Romans Did. A Sourcebook in Roman Social History, New York and Oxford, 1998, p. 47) This was supposed to have happened during the reign of King Romulus, in the middle of the seventh century BC. Valerius Maximus was writing during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius ( AD 14-37). The story is told in the section of his work which bears the subtitle „De Severitate‟ (On Severity/Harshness)  Why were women not allowed to drink wine? - They couldn‟t control it!  they would go crazy and have excessive sex  Excessive use of patria potestas - In practice, you could if the father had “sold” the bride (symbolic sale, scale was set to weigh-in) i) But no one will vote for you in office if known that you beat your wife  Harry Potter  severus snape  name from Sevirus (“too strict”) R3: Affection and Patriotism Do you wish also to see the Tarquin kings, and the proud soul Of Brutus and the fasces that he recovered? He will be the first to receive the authority of a consul And the cruel axes, and when his sons stir up revolution He, their father, will summon them to punishment for fair liberty‟s sake, Unhappy man, however his descendants will extol that deed: Love of the fatherland will overcome him, and an immeasurable lust for glory. Virgi
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