The Roman household, education & slavery Flashcards Preview

Classical civilizations- Rome > The Roman household, education & slavery > Flashcards

Flashcards in The Roman household, education & slavery Deck (31):

Who was the Paterfamilias?

He was the male head of a Roman household; this included the family and all of the slaves


What were his main

• Bringing in an income through the family business
• Looking after the family religion
• Patron to clients
• Promoting the family image in public
• Purchasing slaves
• Arranging in marriage of his daughter


What were his religious

Every morning he would gather the whole household together at the family shrine, the Larariumt where the spirits of the family's ancestors, the' lares, were worshiped. The spirits of the larder, the Penates. would also have to be worshiped. He would lead the family in prayers and offerings


What were his
responsibilities to his clients?

If he was wealthy enough, then he might be a patron to some clients. Poorer Romans in need of money would attach themselves as clients to a wealthy man, the patron.

Clients were expected to appear at the patron's house at dawn every morning; later they might be required to accompany him to the forum or to the baths. In the city they acted as their master's supporters and were expected to vote for him if he ran for political office.


How was a woman viewed in
Roman society?

Women were regarded as inferiors in Roman law and could not vote. A woman was under the control of the paterfamilias all of her life. Generally a woman's quality of life depended upon her social status and the
character of her husband.


What were the main duties of a woman?

A wife was expected to spend much of her time at home. where her main role was to manage the household. This did not necessarily mean she
was confined to the house: she could visit friends, visit the market or the baths.

She was expected to assign slaves to perform duties in the house such as cleaning, cooking or fetching water.

Another important responsibility was to manage the spinning and weaving in the house, as well as bringing up the children.
For richer women, an additional duty was
overseeing the organisation of dinner parties where important social connections were made thereby improving the status of the family.


What part did women play in the bringing up of children?

A mother was expected to oversee the nursing of infants, and then to ensure that her sons went to school, and her daughters learned the duties required of a Roman woman. Giving birth could be very dangerous —both maternal and infant mortality was high. One woman married at 11 and died at 27; she had six children but only one survived her. However providing sons for the paterfamilias was an important duty.


How did social background
affect a woman's status?

Women's lives depended to a great extent on their social background — poorer women would work on market stalls or in industries such as washing and cleaning. Richer women even had slaves to dress them.


What restrictions were there
on a Roman woman's way of

She was under the control of the paterfamilias, could not vote or hold public office, was not free to choose her husband. had no right to her children after a divorce, was not allowed to make a Will or own slaves, or even property. However she could visit friends, visit the market. make trips to the Colosseum, Circus Maximus or the baths.


How did people become

Most were captured prisoners of war, or the babies of mothers who were slaves. People captured by pirates could be sold into slavery; and some criminals could be condemned to slavery by going into the mines or becoming gladiators


How were slaves sold?

They were taken to large slave markets and stood on a revolving platform with placards on their necks giving information about them — new slaves had their feet whitened b chalk to mark them out


What guarantees did the
slave trader have to give?

That he owned the slaves legally and that they were in a healthy condition and not wanted for any crime. Slaves were normally sold for between 500 and 2000 denarii depending upon on their talents


What were the various jobs for a slave?

A large household relied heavily upon its slaves. Educated Greek slaves were highly valued as tutors for children, while women were bought to help the Roman wife in domestic chores, such as shopping, weaving, fetching water, cooking and cleaning.
Male domestic slaves could work for the paterfamilias, doing his accounts or accompanying him to the baths. Some were sent to mines where life expectancy was short.
Many others worked the large farming estates throughout the empire. They might also be called upon to sexually gratify their owners.


Did slaves have any rights?

Slaves had no political rights, nor could they marry or earn property. They were allowed earn more which they could use to buy their freedom


What factors affected the quality of a slave's life?

Certainly the type of job carried, but also the character of the master who had the power of life or death over them. There were also some genuine friendships formed however. Gladiators for example had excellent medical care; it was not unknown for some slaves to marry their masters. Household slaves might have a better way of life than the poor of Rome


Why were slaves important to a Roman household?

Slaves enhance the household's image and status
• Might offer a degree of self-sufficiency and provide more free time
• Slaves might have special skills


How could a slave become a freedman?

A master could free a slave in reward for a long period of service, performed an outstanding act, or if he had saved sufficient money.
Freedmen did not have the full rights of a Roman citizen, but their children did.


Where would a dinner party be held?

A dinner party (cena) would be held in the triclinium — i.e. room with three couches centered around a small table; three people would sit on each couch with the couches arranged according to importance of the guests


Why would Romans hold dinner parties?

To enjoy the company of friends, to make new business or social contacts, to unite the family, to promote new ties with other leading families or to care for one's clients


How many might attend?

Normally each of the three couches would fit three people


How did people eat?

You would recline on the couch, leaning on your left elbow and taking food with your right hand from the table in the center


How many courses were

Typically there were three — the first course would consist of appetizers such as eggs, olives and wine sweetened with honey; the main course was a selection of meats and fish; desert would be fruit, nuts or sweet cakes


What entertainments might be provided?

Slave girls dancing or playing musical instruments, comedians performing, gambling with dice. There could be drinking competitions called commissions. More intellectual entertainments could be poetry recitals or philosophical discussions. One hosted by the emperor even included gladiator fights!


Who educated a boy until the age of 7?

He was put under the care of a Greek slave called a paedagogus. This man was responsible for the behavior and appearance of the 7 year old boy as well as teaching him Greek


What did pupils learn at the school of the litterarius?

Pupils sat on wooden benches, holding their wax tablets on their knees. From dawn until mid-afternoon they practised writing, chanted the alphabet, practised writing their letters, and sung their multiplication tables for hours on end


Why were these schools not fondly remembered?

Teachers at this level were very poorly paid. Any room could serve as a classroom, and some were situated right by noisy streets or at the back of shops. Teachers could be violent!


What did pupils learn at the school of the grammaticus?

If children aged 14 were wealthy enough they went onto the second stage of Roman education: the Grammaticus. Here they read and analysed the great works of Greek and Latin literature. The students were required to read aloud and learn long passages by heart. Studying these famous works gave them access to philosophy, medicine, poetry and drama. Since so much time was spent on literature, there was little time for history, mathematics or geography. Yet exercises in speech making which formed the final part of the Grammaticus stage were of practical value in the future.


What did pupils learn at the school of the rhetor?

Here the 16 year old young man would study rhetoric — the art of public speaking under the guidance of the rhetor. The exercises involved writing speeches praising famous men or characters in history (Suasoria), composing attacks on Rome's enemies, or arguing for/against a particular view.


What about the girls eduction?

Fathers did not worry about the education of their daughters. Those from rich families would have learned reading and writing alongside boys at the litterarius, but then their education continued at home under the care
of a tutor teaching them Greek and Latin literature. They also learned needlework, singing, dancing, as well as learning to run the household and direction the slaves.


Did Roman education
prepare a boy well for adult

Under the rhetor a boy would learn vital skills for later life — learning how to form an argument and debate was vital in Roman politics. Students were trained in Suasoria — these were training speeches where students formed arguments relating to past historical or mythological events.

There were other skills as well leaned under the rhetor such as looking at texts, studying events from history, analyzing dramatic characters that would also contribute to any career followed in the military, the Senate or the Law Courts which required the crucial skills of handling information and analyzing important facts.

Senators certainly needed both public speaking and the powers of analysis when debating proposed laws.
A knowledge of Greek was very useful for the middle classes who may get involved in trade.


How did Roman boys write?

Whilst in school boys would practice by using wax tablets set on wooden boards. The stylus (pen), made from metal or bone, would be used for writing with the blunt end used for wiping words out so the wax could be continually used.

Later on ink, made from soot. would be used — this pen was called a calamus, and paper made from Egyptian papyrus reeds would be used. The calamus often had a spoon end for mixing ink.