AR105 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Latial Culture, Pater Familias, Twelve Tables

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AR104: Lecture 4
September 25, 2017
Roman Families and Households
Demography
Funerary inscriptions are primary source of information for life expectancy
Roman Families
Roman society was patriarchal
Lineage was traced through the father’s family
Middle name in Roman nomenclature was family name Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus
Tullius Cicero
Second name is the family name
Paterfamilias
Head of Roman family known as the paterfamilias (father of the family; head of the
household)
Oldest living male
Has all of the authority
Dionysius of Halicarnassus 2.26-27
“Romulus granted to the Roman father absolute power over his son, and this power
was valid until the father’s death, whether he decided to impression him, or whip jim,
to put him in chains and make him work on a farm, or even kill him. Romulus even
allowed the Roman father to sell his son to slavery.”
Osteria dell’Osa
Early Iron Age (900-750 BC) centaur near Rome may shed light on origins of
paterfamilias
Like Rome, associated with Latial culture of Italy
Cemetery comprises clusters of burials (family groups?)
At centre tends to be wealthier burial of a male (head of particular household??)
Central male burial typically an inhumation surrounded by cremation burials
Marriage
Expected that all Roman citizens would get married
Remarriage could occur after a divorce or death of a spouse
Were arranged marriages fathers would set up to better the family, but there still must
be the choice between individuals
Divorce was allowed
Certain restrictions in place:
Citizens could only marry citizens
Slaves could not marry each other or citizens
Social standing often relevant
Twelve Tables 11.1
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