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November 5 - November 5 2007 Religion and the Roman Family...

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November 5, 2007 Religion and the Roman Family Roman family structure o Paterfamilias : eldest male in family group Patria potestas : absolute power of paterfamilias o Familia : kinship group under power of a paterfamilias Married couple, children, retainers Slaves Legally children Remain under obligation even after manumission o Gens : group of familiae recognizing the same founder Defines limits of inheritance Shared semi-private cults (ex: cult of Venus and gens Julia ) Patricians and plebs (cp. caste system) Legal and social distinction among getes Gods of the Roman household ( domus ) o Lares (singular Lar ): watch over family land and household Association with hearth (cp. Greek Hestia) Lararium : shrine housing figurines Worshipped by all members of household (incl. slaves) Greeted when crossing threshold Sacrosanct (private asylum) Offerings: sacrifice (animals, incense; flowers) o Penates : watch over inner part of house ( penus “pantry”) Conceptually, iconographically similar to Lares Altar before hearth Ex: Aeneas leaving Troy o Genius : active spirit of individual members of household Figurines representing genii in lararium Paterfamilias , iuno (female equivalent) o Manes : spirits of the dead
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