"A Roman father enjoyed absolute legal control over
the lives of his children. He had the legal right to expose a newborn child; he
arranged marriages for his children and could force them to divorce spouses they
loved; he could disown a child, sell a child into slavery, or even kill a child
whose behavior displeased him. How strictly or severely an individual father wielded
this power depended very much on his personality and temperament as well as on
the responses of other family members and the community. For example, arranged
marriages were common in Roman society, but the execution of an adult son by his
father was rare."
"Although most fathers were concerned about the well-being of their
offspring, they greeted the birth of an infant boy with more joy than the birth of an
infant girl. Daughters often married at a very tender age to men chosen by their
fathers; it was not uncommon for girls to be engaged at twelve and married at
thirteen, and few were asked their opinions about prospective bridegrooms. Yet it
would be wrong to conclude that Roman fathers did not love their daughters. Cicero
was greatly distressed at the death of his daughter Tullia, from complications
arising from childbirth, when she was about 30 years old."
"Mothers did not have the legal control over their children that
fathers did. When her husband died, a widow might find herself at the mercy of her
children unless she had inherited enough money to remain independent."
-- From As the Romans Did by Jo-Ann Shelton
Read "PATRIA POTESTAS" (Father's Power)
on pp. 59-61 of Ecce Romani and
answer the following questions.
- _________________________ is the Latin term for a Roman father as supreme head.
- The Roman "familia" consisted of:
- The Latin word for "Master" is __________________________.
- Marriage with '_____________________' was a marriage that transferred
"potestas" from a woman's father to her husband.
- ____________________ was the first Roman king to give a father
absolute power over a son.
- For or through their children Roman parents were expected to provide:
- Rome's first consul, Brutus, ordered the _____________________
of his own sons for plotting treason.
- Give the Latin phrase and then translate Cicero's description of parental love:
- When did a father's "patria potestas" usually cease?
- Could an adult son ever assume "patria potestas" while his father lived?