The Roman Household: A Sourcebook

The Roman Household: A Sourcebook

The Roman Household: A Sourcebook

The Roman Household: A Sourcebook

Synopsis

The household (domus) was the basic unit of Roman society. This sourcebook offers insight into the different and often conflicting roles and mores of household members -- male and female, old and young, free and slave -- as it illustrates the activities associated with the home and Roman perceptions of its place in society. Newly translated excerpts -- some of which are available in English for the first time -- are taken from a wide range of Latin and Greek prose literature, ethical and agricultural handbooks and codes, legal texts, inscriptions, and other epigraphical material from the second century B. C. to the sixth century A. D. Taken together, they constitute an indispensable resource for the study of Roman domestic and social history, providing an intimate glimpse inside the Roman home.

Excerpt

Students and teachers interested in Roman political and social history already have the use of a number of excellent collections of material in translation; one of the earliest was Naphtali Lewis and Meyer Reinhold's Roman Civilization, first published in 1951. The emphasis of this sourcebook, the product of teaching on Roman social history at the universities of Reading and Bristol, differs in that it seeks to describe the activities and the often conflicting aspirations of individuals within the household (Latin domus), the basic social unit in Roman as in most agrarian societies, rather than the roles and interactions of status groups and economic classes within the wider society. Material on aspects of social history in that wider sense may be found elsewhere, for example, in Jo-Ann Shelton's sourcebook As the Romans Did (Oxford, 1988) or Thomas Wiedemann's Greek and Roman Slavery (London and Baltimore, 1981).

Social history proceeds by positing 'models' or 'ideal types'; a sourcebook necessarily has to consist, at least in part, of extracts which the editors have selected because they consider them representative or 'typical'. But our intention has been to avoid giving the impression that the Romans had a uniform or self-consistent ideal of the model household. Both practice and ideals changed over time (and it is not always possible to deduce what happened in archaic Rome from later statements as to what it was thought ought to have happened then). There were differences between different geographical regions (we have avoided using the considerable body of Egyptian source material, since much of it illustrates social conditions which differed significantly from those of the 'Roman' household). And even in the same place

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.