The Roman Family in the Empire: Rome, Italy, and Beyond

The Roman Family in the Empire: Rome, Italy, and Beyond

The Roman Family in the Empire: Rome, Italy, and Beyond

The Roman Family in the Empire: Rome, Italy, and Beyond


This volume contains a series of articles that examine the Roman family in Italy and the empire using a wide range of evidence and considering a number of critical issues. Its focus on regional differences in family structure, forms of marriage, and kinship patterns make it the firstpublication to include targeted study of the family in the Roman provinces. The chapters cover Roman Egypt, Judaea, Spain, Gaul, North Africa, and Pannonia, and make use of both conventional textual sources and epigraphic evidence and material that is less frequently treated, including the medicalwriters and the Justinianic receipts.


Michele George

THIS volume follows from the three Australian conferences begun by Beryl Rawson in 1981, a time when, quite coincidentally, a number of scholars in different parts of the mainly AngloAmerican world were beginning to focus on the topic of the Roman family as a distinct theme in ancient social history. Research on family studies in the ancient world was in part the result of a growth of interest in the 1960S and 1970S in the history of the family among historians at large (e.g. Laslett, MacFarlane, Stone), and, for some, the growth of a very ‘scientific’ approach to demographic studies, represented especially by the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure. From these new historical methodologies emerged Keith Hopkins’s pioneering application of demography to the ancient context, which opened up a new form of analysis that continues to thrive while remaining highly controversial. Rawson, who herself had had interests in the Roman family since the time of her graduate studies, had the acumen to recognize this nascent movement in Roman history and to gather these scholars together to produce the conferences in Australia. The subject has matured since the 1980S and each of the three volumes shows a growing refinement of approach and a better set of results.

One of the problems that was faced by these scholars but which has never been satisfactorily resolved is that of how the

Family history: e.g. Laslett 1965, 1980, 1984; Stone 1973, 1977; Laslett and Wall 1972; MacFarlane, Harrison, and Jardine 1977; Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure: Wachter, Hammel, and Laslett 1978; Wall, Robin, and Laslett 1983.

Hopkins 1965 and 1966; demography: e.g. Shaw 1996; Scheidel 1996, 2001a, 2001b; Sallares 1991, 2002.

Rawson 1966. The first three conferences on the Roman Family, held at the Australian National University in Canberra, resulted in three volumes on the subject: Rawson 1986a, 1991a, Rawson and Weaver 1997.

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