DSBcB15 Ancient Roman Family

Faculty of Arts
Autumn 2024
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 4 credit(s). Type of Completion: z (credit).
Taught in person.
Mgr. Tereza Antošovská, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
Mgr. Tereza Antošovská, Ph.D.
Department of Classical Studies – Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Jitka Erlebachová
Supplier department: Department of Classical Studies – Faculty of Arts
Prerequisites (in Czech)
! DSBcB015 Roman Family
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
The capacity limit for the course is 75 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/75, only registered: 0/75, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/75
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
Annotation: Family represents a unit of a specific social meaning. It is the family that is forming all human individuals. It represents the background, the primary starting line of every human being – from the smallest ones to the “giants” of history. The family is considered to be the foundation of the society, of the “state” and in ancient society the model of the family served as an example for the state (the highest administrative unit) itself (the emperor as “the father”). We will examine how did the roman “familia” look like, how did it function. Form the words of the ancient authors we will try to understand what meaning the family and its members have for the Romans.
Learning outcomes
The students of the course will get ideas about and understanding of some chosen aspects of family life and of the Roman thinking about the family and of the meaning of the family for the society as well as the individual. They will understand the specifics of the Roman approach to the family and its members. From practical skill this students get some practice and experience of working with the historical sources (or academic texts) and their interpretation.
  • Introduction: Themes and aids of the course; sources and literature
  • 1. The Roman Family and its Members: familia - domus; nuclear - extended family; demography; who is the member of the family? - family - kin
  • 2. The Family Members and their Roles I: adults (parents, grandparents, kin; men - women) 3. The Family Members and their Roles II: children; apprentices
  • 4. Slaves: the slaves within the family; „slave families“
  • 5. The Family and the State: patria potestas (restriction and control, outside influence - family, state, custom/society); supporting the family life (Augustan marriage laws, alimenta)
  • 6. The Image of the Family in Ancient Literature: the family through te eyes of ancient authors; the ideal of Roman family
  • 7. „Breaking the Ideal:“ violence in the family; divorces; generation conflicts
  • 8. Some Aspects of Family Life I: birth; growing up (upbringing and education)
  • 9. Some Aspects of Family Life II: rite de passage (entering the world of adults); marriages; housekeeping
  • 10. Some Aspects of Family Life III: age; death (perception of death and loss, mechanism of defence)
  • 11. The Christians and the Family Life: diferences and similarities in the Christian approach towards the family life
  • 12. Late Antiquity: changes and specifics
    required literature
  • FRÝDEK, Miroslav, Jarmila BEDNAŘÍKOVÁ, Irena RADOVÁ, Renata VESELÁ, Ivana STARÁ, Silvie ŠIMORDOVÁ and Markéta MELOUNOVÁ. Právní, náboženské a politické aspekty starověké římské rodiny. 1st ed. Ostrava, 2012, 121 pp. Edice právo. ISBN 978-80-7418-157-3. info
  • A companion to families in the Greek and Roman worlds. Edited by Beryl Rawson. 1st pub. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, xviii, 643. ISBN 9781405187671. info
    recommended literature
  • Rímska rodina v sociálnych a právnych vzťahoch : (medzinárodná vedecká konferencia právnych romanistov Českej republiky a Slovenskej republiky, Bratislava, 18. a 19. marca 2005). Edited by Róbert Brtko. 1. vyd. Bratislava: Bratislavská vysoká škola práva, 2007, 64 s. ISBN 9788096933273. info
  • The Roman family in the empireRome, Italy, and beyond. Edited by Michele George. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, xx, 358 p. ISBN 019926841X. info
  • Early Christian families in context : an interdisciplinary dialogue. Edited by David L. Balch - Carolyn Osiek. Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans publishing company, 2003, xix, 412. ISBN 080283986X. info
  • SALLER, Richard P. Patriarchy, property and death in the Roman family. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, 249 s. ISBN 0521599784. info
  • Geschichte des privaten Lebens. Edited by Paul Veyne - Holger Fliessbach. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag, 1989, 621 s. ISBN 3-10-033631-3. info
Teaching methods
Assessment methods
active participation
Language of instruction
Further Comments
The course is taught annually.
The course is taught: every week.
The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2019, Autumn 2020, Autumn 2021, Autumn 2022, Autumn 2023.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Autumn 2024, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/autumn2024/DSBcB15