The Family as Rome’s Foundation

1st century CE limestone Roman funeral memorial with portraits. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)

From Professor Donald L. Wasson, Professor of Ancient/Medieval/U.S. History, Lincoln College:

“Whether there was a king, a consul, or an emperor that stood supreme over Rome and its territories, the one constant throughout Roman history was the family. Like many earlier societies, the family was the fundamental social unit in the eternal city, and at its head was the father, or if there were no father, the eldest living male –  the Latin expression for this is paterfamilias. One historian noted that the Roman family, in fact, reflected the principles that would shape Rome’s Republican values.”

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The family was the central unit in Rome.  Augustus looked heavily to its structure as the foundation of governmental organization.