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Marriage, Divorce and the Power of the Father
The Romans believed strongly in marriage and were always monogamous (they only had one
wife/husband at a time) and the goal of marriage was the production and education of children. In
upper class families the marriage was often arranged and dissolved…

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part of the household, as were the slaves. The Roman word for household was familia. The family
was the basis of Roman society. The father was the head of the family and firmly in control of his
household. In the Roman family everyone was taught to respect authority and discipline.…

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Children, education and upbringing
The Romans had a low birth rate, possibly because their water was carried in lead pipes and lead is
thought to cause infertility. There were few methods of birth control and many children died in the
first few years of life. For these reasons parents…

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If both parents were freeborn Romans then their children could become Roman citizens. By the end
of the 1st century, children of slaves and even ex-slaves could also become citizens. Women could
have citizen status but they were never allowed to vote. This was because they were always
considered to…

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The responsibilities of the patron and client were:
A Patron: A Client:
Explained laws to his clients Provided money to his patron for a
Defended his clients in court dowry
Gave his clients food or money Helped raise ransom money if his patron
Helped his clients if they were in…

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Household slaves performed many important jobs. Many were well educated so they ran the
household accounts and educated the children. Some slaves were even given businesses to run so
that they could make profits for their owners. Many of these slaves were able to save up and buy
their freedom,…

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Family gods: Roman religion in the early days centred around the family. People were mainly
farmers and their gods were closely connected to the needs of the farm. There were spirits for
fields, doorways of the house, the fireplace and the house itself. There were also spirits that looked

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harvest would be good. By the first century AD there were more than 200 festival days a year. On
these days public games were held and businesses shut down so people could celebrate.

Two important festivals were:
Ludi florales: (28 April ­ 3 May) when flowers were displayed and people…

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Romans believed that the dead haunted the living and that they had to be kept happy with offerings
and games. Romans were very serious in honouring the dead. The family death masks were kept on
prominent display in the home and taken out and paraded through the streets on special…

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Novice (trainee) gladiators learned to fight with wooden swords and wicker shields, attacking a
wooden post before they practiced with each other. It took several years to train a skilled gladiator
so they did not usually fight to the death (this would have been a waste of money).
By the…


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