Abstract and Keywords
During the centuries between the date of the mythical founding of Rome and the first decades of the sixth century AD when Justinian’s Corpus Iuris Civilis was enacted, the legal condition of women underwent substantial transformation. To understand this process it is necessary to recall that during the first centuries of its history Rome was a patriarchal society, where only patres familias enjoyed full civil and political rights. Other members of the family enjoyed only certain rights, and some did not enjoy any at all. Over the centuries paternal authority underwent important changes, which in different ways limited it. Rome had grown from a small village of peasants and shepherds to a metropolis that ruled the world. Political, social, economic conditions (not to say mentalities and religious beliefs and practices) changed the way of thinking of the Romans, their way of life and their attitude and behaviour towards women.
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