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The Family in the Roman Empire (2. cent. BCE – 6. cent. CE)

Book project of Prof. Dr. Jens-Uwe Krause

In the last decades the family has been a productive area of study in Ancient History and indeed, its significance for Roman society can hardly be overstated. The ancient authors were convinced that society and the state rested on the family; it was the key social unit that served to pass social status and wealth on to the next generation. In Rome, the family further performed a number of functions that are today performed by the state and other institutions.

A synthesis that takes into account current research is a major desideratum. Whereas most accounts of the Roman family end with the early Empire (1st or 2nd century CE), this monograph shall also include Late Antiquity (4th - 6th cent. CE). Particular attention will be due to the role of Christianity that became the dominant religion in the 4th century. To what degree was the Roman family transformed by Christian influence? Or did Christianity adopt pagan sexual and marital morality?

Aldobrandini Wedding

The so-called Aldobrandini Wedding. Roman fresco. Augustan period.