That such customs could endure for almost 2800 years testifies to the important place family customs and taboos held in the Roman family from the earliest days. The father of the Roman family had the power over everyone and everything in the home. he could even sell his wife or children into slavery and order their deaths if he so chose. This power extended to the man's slaves and tenant farmers as well.
The Roman father also had the duties of pietas, or offering proper sacrifices to the household gods at the right times. These family gods were the lares, or gods of the fields and the penates, or gods of the household stores and food supply.
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