The following summary of  an article entitled "Family Matters" by Beryl Rawson in Jean-Paul Descoeudres' Pompeii Revisted (Meditarch) was summarized by Stefan Clouse and Kirk Conlon, students enrolled in Prof. Tom Sienkewicz' Ancient Societies class at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, in 1997. If you have any questions or comments, you may contact him at

Family Matters

Family matters are very important to the Roman citizens, especially the upper class men. This gives them a chance to show off to the rest of the citizens what they have achieved. Wealth to the Romans that had it was important and it was not incommon that they would display exactly what they had. And despite the togas being so heavy, and hot, they still wore them with pride. The homes of the Romans were quite narrow at the front. This was for protection against attack and so that any unwanted visitors never came in all at once. The family also had a big celebration if a new baby was brought into this world. Sacrafices were made and not many got to see the new baby. The slaves played a key role in the lives of the Romans, and often worked their way out of slavedom. And finally it was very important for all parties of the household to mingle and talk with the other guests. This made the man of the house look good; and if his son talked then he would reap the benefits for the future. So all in all the family was probably one of the most important things to the Romans. It seemed to be a foundation of life in Roman society.

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