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date: 19 April 2024

patria potestaslocked

patria potestaslocked

  • Barry Nicholas
  •  and Susan M. Treggiari


Patria potestas was the power of a Roman male ascendant, normally father or grandfather (paterfamilias), over descendants through males (liberi), provided that his marriage was valid in Roman law (see marriage law, Roman), and over adopted children. This power was seen by lawyers as practically unique to Roman citizens. Any male who became independent (sui iuris) by being freed from patria potestas became a paterfamilias, even if he were a child too young to be a father. There was no comparable power held by women. It was not terminated on a child's arrival at any age of majority, but most commonly by the death or voluntary decision of the paterfamilias. Thus a woman might leave patria potestas if her paterfamilias transferred her into the control of a husband, *manus, or a child of either sex if the paterfamilias emancipated him or her (by fictitious sale to a third party, followed by manumission, thrice repeated). *Adoption or becoming the *priest of *Jupiter (flamen Dialis (see flamines)) or Vestal Virgin (see vesta) or exile (see exile, Roman) of either party ended patria potestas; becoming a war captive or the father's insanity suspended it.


  • Roman Law

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