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date: 03 February 2023

household, Romanlocked

household, Romanlocked

  • Keith Bradley


‘Household’ is the usual English translation of Latin familia, a term to which the jurist Ulpian (Dig. 50. 16. 195. 1–5), understanding its application to both property and persons, assigned several meanings: the physical household; the persons comprising a household (e.g. patron and freedman); a body of persons united by a common legal tie such as all kin subject to a living *paterfamilias, or a body more loosely connected such as all agnatically related kin; a body of slaves, or slaves and sons; and all blood descendants of an original family founder. (To some degree familia overlapped with the term domus.) Accordingly, study of the Roman household can range from archaeological investigation of the physical structures in which Romans lived (see houses, italian) to the exclusive history of *slavery. But it is now primarily associated with the field of family history, the principal constituents of which are the composition, organization and evolution of the family through its life-course. Understood ideally to comprise a married couple, their children, the house in which they lived, and their common property (which could include human property), the household in *Cicero's view (Off.


  • Ancient Economy
  • Gender Studies

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