Presentation on theme: "Familiae Romanae Families, houses, and family life in Ancient Rome."— Presentation transcript:
Familiae Romanae Families, houses, and family life in Ancient Rome
Roman families The Roman family was patriarchal -- centered around the father, or paterfamilias. The father had an absolute right over all members of his household -- slaves, wife, and children, all of whom were in manu to the father -- which was known as the patria potestas. The family was seen as fundamental to Roman culture and laws were generally intended to strengthen family values. The famous clothing worn by a Roman man was called the toga, and was plain white for most citizens; magistrates and children wore the purple-striped toga praetexta, and Romans running for office wore the toga candida.
The toga itself was worn formally as a wrap over the basic item of dress, the tunica. The formal tunic worn with a toga was again usually plain white, with a narrow purple stripe running down from the shoulder for the Knights, members of the wealthy upper class, or a broader one for members of the Senate. Other colours were used for tunics, especially when they were to be worn without togas. Classical Romans never wore trousers, and they generally wore sandals rather than full-cut shoes.
Women and children Women and children were subordinate to men, especially in upper class families. Upper class women might never be allowed to leave the house, at least without a slave escort. Women also wore the tunica, but instead of the toga, they wore the stola, a similar wrap, and often wore a palla over their head. Children wore the toga praetexta and a bulla, a magic charm to ward off danger.
Slaves There were many slaves in the ancient world -- some Romans described absolute poverty as the inability of a family to own a single slave. Slaves sometimes lived in horrible conditions as agricultural or mine laborers, or sometimes they lived glamorous or pampered lives as gladiators, hairdressers, or teachers of Roman children. Some slaves were given their freedom (manumissio) and these often became quite wealthy and powerful.
Roman houses: the domus The domus was the townhouse in which wealthy Romans lived. They were generally built around an atrium, in which were located a small shrine and statues of famous ancestors, with room for the owner to meet with his clients. The atrium also contained many decorations to display the wealth of the family. Rooms came off of the atrium or, in some large houses, the peristyle garden in the back of the house. Private rooms like bedrooms (cubicula) or offices ( tablina) were generally small and barely furnished, whereas public rooms like the 3-couched dining room (triclinium) were often fabulously ornate.
Insulae and casae Insulae were only present in bit cities like Rome, where the high land value made rents profitable. They were big apartment buildings, often six stories or so high, and usually very crowded. Sometimes they burned down or collapsed. Casae and magalia were cottages in which poorer Romans lived in the countryside -- usually consisting of one main room, and normally built out of poor materials. While Rome itself gets most of the attention, the huge majority of people in the ancient world lived in the countrside.
Villae The famous Roman villae were country houses for the super-wealthy. The rich generally had at least one house outside the city, and often they had many. The wealthiest Romans got their money from farming the land at a villa rustica -- a palatial farmhouse. Those who could afford it might also have a country house which did not create any income, but only provided a place to vacation -- a villa urbana. Sometimes Romans would allow a friend to use their villa, obliging them to return the favour. The Latin word for these men would be hospites.