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Definition: Pater familias was master of the house, the father of the family, including blood relatives and slaves. For more on the role of the pater familias, see this the Roman Family article.

The Latin form pater familias 'father of the family, looks odd because the genitive of "family" is not familiae as you'd expect. Instead, it's familias, an archaic genitive (possessive) case ending.

Go to Other Ancient / Classical History Glossary pages beginning with the letter

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Alternate Spellings: paterfamilias, pater familiae
Examples:
The sons of the paterfamilias could be called filiifamilias.

Reference:
"Septimius Severus and the Marriage of Soldiers," by Peter Garnsey. California Studies in Classical Antiquity, Vol. 3, (1970), pp. 45-53

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