The Roman Family Center Of Roman Society

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The Roman Family: Center Of Roman Society Essay, Research Paper The Roman family after the advent of Christianity has been widely discussed in Roman History. Different historians have looked at the topic in different ways. There are two articles at hand, which deal with this very topic. Brent Shaw, The family in Late Antiquity: The Experience of Augustine and Douglas O?Roark, Parenthood in Late Antiquity. Both historians are looking at the family in late antiquity, after the time that Christianity was introduced to the Roman society. Through an analysis of the two essays and references to the classical period it can be seen that: The Roman family has always been an important institution in their society, it?s composition, roles and the functions changed little after the

advent of Christianity. The EssaysEach of the historians has a solid central argument, and their essays are laid out well. Shaw seeks to show the structure and the functions of the Roman family in late antiquity. He also seeks to clear up misconceptions of the Roman family. O?Roark?s argument seeks to show the closeness of the parents and children in the Roman family. The important thing to realize is that both of these essays are looking at the Roman family in the same period, late antiquity, after the advent of Christianity. Also important to note is both of these essays to not specifically talk about the impact of Christianity on the family. The essays can be used to reference against each other and against the Roman family in the Classical period. Information on the Classical

period is given in G. Nathan?s article: Two Traditions. With the three essays one can come to a good conclusion about the impact of Christianity on the Roman family. In interest of paper length the essays have been narrowed down to include only central topics. First looking at similarities, then differences. ChildrenThis is the first main aspect of the family that both historians look at. The first point Shaw brings up is that main purpose of childbearing. This was for the wife to produce a heir for the husband . The father organized the whole house around this, in preparation a son to take everything over when he died . O?Roark states that a major factor in having children was to love and to care for them . He however cannot deny that before this the realization is that the

father must have children to pass everything on to . In this idea O?Roark says that the child?s role is to live life in preparation for this transfer from the father . Initially this was the main purpose of children, especially sons, in the classical period as well . The next idea about children concerns the benefits of having them. First, children can provide is economic support to the family. Shaw recognizes that weather intended or not, children were often needed to contribute to the family income . O?Roark in a similar way says there is a ?common desire for many children? . After a general read of the article I have concluded that one of the reasons he says this is the fact children could be an economic resource to the family. O?Roark provides more detail, saying that to few

children can hurt the economy of the family, while to many can drain it . Clearly he recognizes children?s economic advantage. This economic contribution of children was also very valued in the Classical period . Shaw points out the other valuable role of the child was to care for the parents in old age. This is the idea that children would be the ones who helped aging parents, and eventually buried them . O?roark points out that for parents in old age who had nothing to fall back on . Children were their supporters in old age . In the classical period children were to support the parents in old age and deal with their burial . Through these examples the reader can see that children always had some important role in the Roman family. Parent-Child RelationsThis is the other main