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A patriarchy means that the whole authority rests
in the father's hands. The father of a household was considered the king of the house. In a normal household, the household was made up of the father (the head), his wife, children and other relatives. In a rich household, the household was made up of the father (the head), his wife, children,
relatives slaves and servants. The father, (the king of the house), could force marriage (for money), he could divorce, sell his children (who would then become slaves), claim his dependant's property as his own and even had the right to punish or kill family members. The father of a household ruled everyone. When a new baby was born, it would be laid at its father's feet. If the father picked up the baby it would live, but if he ignored the baby it would be taken away to die. At the head of Roman family life was the oldest living male known as the "Paterfamilias" or
"Father of the family." The father of the family was considered an extremely important person who looked after the family's business affairs and could perform religious rites on their family's behalf. Life for women in Roman times was often hard.
Women were expected to run the home, cook meals
and raise children. If these women were wealthy, they were lucky because their slaves would do their dirty work. Women were under control of their husbands but were in charge of the house and how
it was run. Women were known as "Materfamilias."
In a household, the mother was less important than
the father. Children were not considered a big part of the
family. Mothers and elderly relatives would
often sell unwanted children into slavery. Fathers usually began seeking husbands for
their daughters when they reached the ages
between 12-14. The husband was usually
older than the bride. If you didn't get married
by the age of 15-16, you were punished.