Patriarchy, Property and Death in the Roman Family / Edition 1

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The Roman father, with his monopoly of property rights and power of life and death over his children, has been prominent in the formulation of the concept of patriarchy in European thought. However, the severe, authoritarian image, based on legal rules and legends, provides, according to Professor Saller, a misleading view of relations between the generations in Roman families. Starting from a demographic analysis, aided by computer simulation of the kinship universe, he shows how the family changed through a Roman's life course, leaving many children fatherless. Examination of the Roman language, exempla, and symbolic behaviour of family relations reveals the mutuality of family obligation within the larger household in which children and slaves were differentiated by status marked by the whip. The concerned, loving father appears as a contrast to the exploitative master. An understanding of demography and cultural values, in turn, yields insights into the use of the sophisticated Roman legal institutions of inheritance, guardianship, and dowry for the transmission of patrimony essential to the continuity of family status. This book contains much of importance to scholars and students of ancient history and classics, and also to those whose interests lie in the field of historical demography.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a remarkable book, impressive in its command of diverse materials and methodologies and certain to inspire further advances." American Historical Review

"The current prominence of the Roman family as a field of research is due in large part to a series of stimulating studies written over the last decade by Richard P. Saller, whose already considerable achievements now culminate in a book of great importance for historians of Roman society....[A] remarkable book, impressive in its command of diverse materials and methodologies and certain to inspire further advances." Keith Bradley, American Historical Review

"This is clearly a book that historical demographers and European family historians, as well as scholars of classical history, will want to add to their libraries. However, it is also a book that offers students of the modern family much to think about." Caroline Brettell, Amercan Journal of Sociology

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of tables
1 Introduction: approaches to the history of the Roman family 1
Pt. I Roman life course and kinship: biology and culture 9
2 Roman patterns of death, marriage and birth 12
3 Simulation of Roman family and kinship 43
Pt. II Roman family and culture: definitions and norms 71
4 Familia and domus: defining and representing the Roman family and household 74
5 Pietas and patria potestas: obligation and power in the Roman household 102
6 Whips and words: discipline and punishment in the Roman household 133
Pt. III The devolution of property in the Roman family 155
7 Strategies of succession in Roman families 161
8 Guardianship of Roman children 181
9 Dowries and daughters in Rome 204
Bibliography 233
Index 245
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