Families in Rome were paterfamilias. This means that the father
had all the authority in the family. The father's authority was absolute. As
long as the father was alive, he controlled all the property for the children
and his wife. The father could even go as far as whipping his children, selling
them into slavery, or even killing them if they did not obey his wishes. After
the death of the father, the eldest son would take the role of the head of the
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