Roman Law the Praetor Is Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Also, a son could marry, for Roman law had never recognized monogamous sexual relationships between slaves. Sons could also inherit property, and this possibility of inheritance was another instrument of power used by fathers against their sons. A son who had been emancipated could marry without the consent of his father. The relationship between father and son was known as "patria potestas" or the rights given to a father by virtue of his paternity. "The foundation of the patria potestas was a Roman marriage, and the birth of a child gave it full effect." (Smith, 1875)

Although the Patria Potestas not viewed equivalent to a dominica potestas, or the ownership of the child analogous to the master slave relationship, the father had the power of life and death and liberty over his son as a member of his family, could sell the son and so bring him to a state of slavery, was liable for the debts of his child, could give his child in adoption, and emancipate a child at his pleasure, could disinherit his son, could substitute another person as heir in the place of his son, and he could by his will appoint him a tutor to another family. In short, ownership existed, in the view of some legal scholars in a de facto, if not de jure manner. (Smith, 1875)

Unlke a slave, however, the temporary incapacity of an unemanicpated child was not a permanent incapacity of acquiring legal rights. The child could acquire property by contract unlike a slave, but every thing that he acquired, was acquired for his father until the child came of age. The child had the right to marry unlike aslave, "like any Roman citizen who was sui juris, but these legal capacities brought to him no present power or ownership. His marriage[unlike a slave] with his father's consent was legal (justum), but...his wife came into the power of his father, and not into the power of the son."(Smith, 1875)

The son's children were in all cases in the power of their grandfather, when the son was still under his father's power. The son could also divorce his wife "but only with his father's consent," and the guiding principle of Roman law, for administering justice pertaining to both slaves and sons was that a paterfamilias ought to be enriched by his sons and slaves, not made poorer by their presence, in short that their labor was designed to improve the paterfamilias' lot, rather than detract from it.

Works Cited

Smith, William. "Patria potesta. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875. [7 Dec 2007]*/Patria_Potestas.html

Does the treatment of the institution of marriage in Roman law provide any insights into the way in which changes in society give rise to changes in law?

In ancient Rome, marriages were arranged between the bride's father and her husband, or the father of her husband, indicating the power of the male head of household. "There were three types of marriage in ancient Rome; by usus (cohabitation), by confarreatio (religious ceremony), and by coemptio (purchase). Marriage by usus always required the woman to be married with manus," whereby the father of the bride relinquished his control over his daughter to the new husband, or to the paterfamilias. (Morin, 2006) "Usus also required that the woman had to remain and stay in her husband's house for one year, cohabitating with him, assuming the position of daughter in the family. Marriage by confarreatio involved a religious ceremony. This type of marriage was usually reserved for the wealthy. Religious wedding ceremonies were expensive and included difficult rituals. A woman in this situation was married with manus. "(Morin, 2006)

After Augustus, marriage with manus was a formal requirement only, but was still required for a formal ceremony, marking the divide between the rich and the poor in terms of the accoutrements of marriage. Still, for both rich and poor, women had little agency during much of Roman history, essentially passing from the control of their fathers to that of their husbands or their husband's fathers. "A woman married with coemptio was symbolically 'purchased' by her new husband from her father. She did not become a slave to her new husband, but he had total control over her. She was his property." (Morin, 2006) Under law, all women had to have a guardian who handled their finances and legal affairs. Marriage was the building block of Roman society, as decreed by Augustus Caesar, and founded upon the power of the father, and the eldest male in the household specifically. To encourage bachelors to marriage, Augustus "assessed heavier taxes on unmarried men and women and, by contrast, offered rewards for marriage and child bearing. Since there were more males than females among the nobility, he permitted that anyone who wished (except for senators) to marry freedwomen could do so, and decreed the children of these marriages to be legitimate," but his endorsement of marriage was hardly an endorsement of female liberation -- Augustus also allowed fathers to kill daughters and their partners in adultery, to enforce a stricter system of morality and fidelity within marriage, and to ensure the legitimacy of heirs. (Morn, 2006)

However, "things changed very rapidly towards the end of 1c AD," as the bonds of the Roman Empire and the power of paterfamilias-led families began to weaken. "Although families still lived in one home, during the Imperial Age, women could own land, run businesses, free slaves, make wills, be heirs themselves, and get a job in some professions." ("Daily Life in Ancient Rome, 2006) Society, by virtue of necessity and a dwindling population of available free males, became more inclusive, and Rome's attitudes were changed through exposure to the customs of other lands, which featured less oppressive systems of marriage, for both daughters and sons, who were not controlled by the whims of powerful paterfamilias.

Works Cited

Daily Life in Ancient Rome." 2006.

Morin, Lisa. "Roman Family Law and Traditions." 2006. [4 Jan 2007][continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Roman Law The Praetor Is" (2007, January 05) Retrieved October 22, 2016, from

"Roman Law The Praetor Is" 05 January 2007. Web.22 October. 2016. <>

"Roman Law The Praetor Is", 05 January 2007, Accessed.22 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Romans and Law

    Romans and Law The Roman law is considered as the greatest legacy of ancient Rome to the Western Civilization, as several existing civil and common laws in most Western countries are based on the laws introduced and developed by the Romans. Rome's laws were first codified around 450 BC when a group of ten magistrates wrote Rome's laws on 12 wooden tablets that became known as the Twelve Tables. The legal system

  • Roman Republic Which Took Place Over a

    Roman Republic, which took place over a century from the end of the Punic Wars in 146 BC to the establishment of autocracy and military dictatorship under Julius Caesar after 45 BC, and then Octavian-Augustus from 31 BC, one of the most important questions would be: what were the main causes for its failure? There are no simple answers to that, of course, although almost certainly socioeconomic factors were

  • Political Role of the Praetorian Guard in the Roman Empire

    Praetorian Guard and the Political system The Praetorian Guard (cohors praetoria) was established in Rome as an elite squad of personal bodyguards of the Roman emperors. They accompanied the Emperor on all his campaigns. There are a number of factual reports regarding the involvement of the Praetorian Guard in the political system of Rome. In the Roman Empire, the ruler who controlled the army, the legions and more importantly, the

  • Role of Mistake in English

    In this particular instance, while under the impression that the expression 'Gros' denoted double packs, not as the objective term signified the amount o "12 x 12," a teacher reportedly ordered toilet paper on behalf of her school. "Her order of 'Gros' those objectively meant 3600 packs of toilet paper instead of 50. The action of a supplier for the prize of 3600 pacts of toilet paper failed because

  • Lex on Praetorian Provinces

    Lex on Praetorian Provinces The Roman administrative system changed after C. Gracchus' reform in the year 122 B.C.; this followed the introduction of a provincial reptundarum (Brennan, 2000). There was an annexation of new territorial provinces which lead to permanent developments in the city of Rome. Cilicia was annexed as a Roman provincie, which deemed it a self-contained administrative unit; this was seen in a special command during the late second

  • History of Economic of the 4 Periods in Ancient Civilization

    Economics in Ancient Civilization It is said that "Rome was not built in a day." Indeed, the Roman Empire was the last of a series of civilizations to emerge in the Mediterranean by the First Millennium, B.C. Precursors to the culture most identified as the seat of Western political economy, the Ancient Egyptians, Etruscans, Greeks, Syrians, Carthaginians and Phoenicians all had contact with the Romans, and eventually were incorporated through territorial

  • Estruscans Refers to a Sophisticated and Seafaring

    Estruscans refers to a sophisticated and seafaring persons from Asia Minor who appeared in Italy about 800 BC settling in Etruia, North of Latium. This group soon gained control of the Latins thus the introduction of the Greek cultur to the more primitive Romans. The influence was vital in the domination of the Roman interaction and way of life for two critical centuries. The group was also great at

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved