Presentation on theme: "The Roman Family Roman Family and the Law. Background to Study of the Family Family studies are heavily influenced by prevailing views, bias, and a paucity."— Presentation transcript:
The Roman Family Roman Family and the Law
Background to Study of the Family Family studies are heavily influenced by prevailing views, bias, and a paucity of the evidence. Even the form of the Roman family is controversial
Definition of Familia Familia– rarely used to mean kin Familia usually meant slaves, or freed persons; can even mean family estate
Form of a Roman Family Some multigenerational households Most nuclear families Blended families were common
Function of Roman Family Breeding ground of soldiers and taxpayers Reproduction of culture and values Basic economic unit Provide emotional, material, physical, and financial support Pietas– proper acknowledgement of family ties
Family and the Law Paterfamilias– male head of household; holds power over his children (and their children) until his death Materfamilias– wife of paterfamilias, female head of the household
Family and the Law Paterfamilias had almost absolute authority over children Could sell sons into slavery, kill children (though supposed to be family council about it) Had to give consent to marriage for it to be valid
Family and the Law Children had no power to manipulate property nor to make valid wills Wife was not always considered part of her husbands family
Family and the Law Revered tradition (mos maiorum) Modified in a piecemeal fashion to be more in tune with prevailing social customs Much law concerning family was about inheritance and property division
Family and the Law Women had a tutor who monitored the disposition of a woman’s estate Over time, women legally have more rights (to inherit and leave children stuff) Dowry-sacred obligation, many legal protections, though there was some amvibalence towards it Dowry arrangements were like a prenup; provisions were set for its return (in case of divorce) before the marriage
Soldier Families Legally couldn’t marry until period of enlistment over Ban lifted 197AD Unions tolerated Special dispensations
Marriage Marriage– if 2 Roman citizens with legal capacity to marry one another (ius conubii) each had the consent of the paterfamilias and lived together with the intention of being married (affectio maritalis), that was recognized as a valid marriage
Marriage Institution for production of children Emotional support, partnership, compatiblity, and love came to be increasingly important and there was much public discourse about them.
Functions of Marriage Linked families Transmission of property Forging political alliances Extend network of support
Marriage FAMILY DECISION AND NOT THAT OF INDIVIDUALS Public & communal Family selected candidates (supposed to be just paterfamilias, but mater would be really put out if not consulted) Widows/widowers have more say over partners Theoretically, can’t force
The Wedding Party before hand in home of bride Procession of bride, attended by torchbearers, to home of groom As processing, small boys dance around them and grab at nuts which were thrown around Groom awaits bride at his house
The Wedding Groom carries bride over threshold Bride and groom perform certain rituals Bride places image representing her genius on the symbolic conjugal couch
The Wedding Bride had special clothes Saffron colored shoes and veil 1 st wedding was considered a rite of passage marking the transition from girlhood to womanhood
The Wedding 1 st wedding more elaborate, personal taste a factor, wealth, social standing Don’t have to have a wedding for marriage to be valid
Divorce Divorce common Early period—shameful By 100s BC, no stigma Lack of concordia, marital harmony, could be grounds for divorce. Originally, only adultery or barrenness grounds
Roman Terms for Stages of Life Infans Puella/puer Liberi Adulescens Mulier/Vir Iuvenis Anus Senex
Attitudes towards Children Attitude towards children complex Romans did distinguish children for adults and b/w different stages of childhood and youth for various purposes (civic, legal, personal, and ritual)
Attitudes towards children Sometimes showed delight in childish characteristics such as playfulness and childish speech patterns Literature and art reveal observation of childish activity, but usually incidental to a more general argument.
Attitudes toward Children Some parents deeply mourned the loss of particular young children as individuals Tendency to accept deaths of very young with passivity and disfavor towards excessive grief.
Attitude toward children Linguistic and ritual means of marking the different stages in life, but not always observed in everyday description. Funereal markers and literary accounts tend to praise children for showing adult qualities.
Function of children in Family Expectation children will provide parents with support in old age, proper commemoration at death. Children provide posterity, continuation of family name, honor, family cult, specific rituals dedicated to a family member, maintenance of family traditions (oral stories, imagines (ancestral portraits) records from public office.
Lifestyle of Children Indicative of status of family. Maintenance at the appropriate level important for family honor. Social mobility required effort and could estrange a child from his parents.
Adoption Gives benefits of having children Frequently adopted relatives Most adoptions are of adults Did not sever some obligations to biological family Not frequent beyond ruling class. Sometimes slave children fulfilled function
Other methods of having people perform functions of slaves Sometimes slave children fulfill functions Sometimes freed slaves were commemorated on former owner’s epitaph with the expectation that they will perform rites Friends Poor and servile could form burial clubs (though they also served as social clubs).
Relations between Parents and Children 1. Roman ideal entailed intense parental involvement –Direct teaching sometimes –Hiring good teachers –Checking results and progress frequently –teach moral values –Do chores (teach character)
Education of Children Education somewhat unsystematic Practical education The role of father and mother was felt to be vital in the development of good character in a child.
Discipline Could be physical Most sources associate physical punishment with teachers and other caregivers, not parents.
Other caregivers Rich could delegate many child rearing functions to servants and professionals Had babysitters
Deliberate Childlessness Maintenance of very young children = big $, so poor children work as soon as possible to provide income Rich children needed to learn tasks/duties which would keep their family at same social level. If died, investment lost.
Deliberate Childlessness Literary commonplace Sterility sometimes cause Exposure of infants, contraceptives, abortion common. Large families rare Unable to tell how many chose that state
Family Ritual an dthe Life Stages Progress through the stages of an individuals life would typically be marked by ceremonies grounded in the family, festivities marking birth, coming of age, engagement, birthdays, and marriage would also consolidate a family unit. Ceremonies provided welcome diversions from family grind.
Death in the Family Conclamatio at perceived moment of death, kissing of dead person, laying flowers around couch. Mark doorway of home with cypress for duration of formal mourning. Funeral procession (with torches) and ritual grief gestures during funeral. Members of family marked out by need for ritual purfication.
Relations between members of family Roman tragedy and comedy records tensions within the family. Many authors speak of relations between husbands and wives. Expectation of good relations, but reality sometimes different.