Roman people
Or, How do you know s/he’s a Roman?
in A writer’s guide to Ancient Rome
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This chapter looks at the general character of the Roman people with an eye to following the life cycle of the Romans from birth to death; it takes in aspects of their social status and traditional values. It kicks off with the smallest basic unit of Roman society, the family, and looks at how the Roman family and household were organised, and the importance of the paterfamilias and his authority as well as the importance of the patron–client relationship. There are discussion of sex, contraception, birth, and childhood; there is also discussion of courtship, marriage, and care for the elderly as well as funeral and death rituals. Traditional Roman values are discussed, such as virtus, dignitas, nobilitas, and auctoritas as well as the customs of ancestor worship, consensus, and deference. These values were found throughout Roman society and they are how the Romans defined themselves against outsiders from the Greeks to the Carthaginians to the so-called barbarians on the borders of their empire.


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