Why killing your father was a really bad idea.

Hello everyone! Sorry if I have dropped out of my blog for a long time, but I struggled with university and tutoring students who were crazier than me

But here I am tough! Today I am going to speak about the law Pompeia on patricide. In fact, paternal power during the Roman age was really strong; fathers at that time had a hold on their sons all the days of their lifes. They even could kill their children or sell them as slaves without being put under investigation. It was a patriarchal family indeed, in which the oldest man had the control all over the family. It is worth – highlighting that the latin word familia, from which comes family, included all the people in a house, including relatives, animals and slaves.
But why did fathers have this kind of power? Probably because, according to the legend, Romulus, who was the first king of Rome, wanted the future generations to be submissive to their fathers, who represented the king’s power in the city.
What did fathers have as a legal protection? The law Pompeia on patricide introduced a harsh punishment for those who were brave enough to kill their fathers. Infact, the murderer would have been put in a stitched sack made of leather, in which there would have been placed a rooster, a dog, a snake and, if possible, a monkey. Each of these animals represented a human attitude: roosters were believed to be ferocious, while dogs were defined “indicent” and “grim” by both Virgil and Horace; little snakes were believed to kill their mother while borning; monkeys instead were considered men’s parodies. In the end the sack would have been thrown in a river or in the sea.
It is interesting how the paternal power during the Roman age established a legal model that was followed for centuries, from the Middle Age to Napoleon, and nowadays still resist.


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