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date: 14 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

For Roman society, the definition of ‘the family’ is now one of the most hotly debated topics. This article focuses on the society of Rome and Italy, as well as the Western Roman Empire, which became more recognisably ‘Roman’ than did the East during the best-documented period from the last century BCE into the third century CE. One force originating in the East, however, must be taken into account: that of early Christianity, along with its concept of ‘the family’ and its intersection with wider society. Some of the areas in which family and society interacted in the Roman world were the influence of elite families as role models, and as preservers of memory and tradition; values; educational ideals and practices; legal principles and family practice; the demographic structure of the population; the role of slaves and ex-slaves; and public life, rituals, and religion.

Keywords: Rome, Italy, Roman Empire, family, society, Christianity, elite families, role models, slaves, rituals

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