“Familiae” appellatio qualiter accipiatur, videamus. et quidem varie accepta est. nam et in res et in personas diducitur; in res, ut puta in lege duodecim tabularum his verbis: “adgnatus proximus familiam habeto”. ad personas autem refertur familiae significatio ita, cum de patrono et liberto loquitur lex: “ex ea familia,” inquit, “in eam familiam”; et hic de singularibus personis legem loqui constat. familiae appellatio refertur et ad corporis cuiusdam significationem, quod aut iure proprio ipsorum aut communi universae cognationis continetur. iure proprio familiam dicimus plures personas, quae sunt sub unius potestate aut natura aut iure subiectae, ut puta patrem familias, matrem familias, filium familias, filiam familias quique deinceps vicem eorum sequuntur, ut puta nepotes et neptes et deinceps. pater autem familias appellatur, qui in domo dominium habet, recteque hoc nomine appellatur, quamvis filium non habeat: non enim solam personam eius, sed et ius demonstramus: denique et pupillum patrem familias appellamus. et cum pater familias moritur, quotquot capita ei subiecta fuerint, singulas familias incipiunt habere: singuli enim patrum familiarum nomen subeunt. idemque eveniet in eo, qui emancipatus est, nam et hic sui iuris effectus propriam familiam habet. communi iure familiam dicimus omnium adgnatorum: nam etsi patre familias mortuo singuli singulas familias habent, tamen omnes, qui sub unius potestate fuerunt, recte eiusdem familiae appellabuntur, qui ex eadem domo et gente proditi sunt. servitutium quoque solemus appellare familias, ut in edicto praetoris ostendimus sub titulo de furtis, ubi praetor loquitur de familia publicanorum. sed ibi non omnes servi, sed corpus quoddam servorum demonstratur, huius rei causa paratum, hoc est, vectigalis causa. alia autem parte edicti omnes servi continentur, ut de hominibus coactis, et vi bonorum raptorum; item redhibitoria, si deterior res reddatur emptoris opera, aut familiae eius, et interdicto “unde vi” familiae appellatio omnes servos comprehendit; sed et filii continentur. item appellatur familia plurium personarum, quae ab eiusdem ultimi genitoris sanguine proficiscuntur (sicuti dicimus familiam Iuliam), quasi a fonte quodam memoriae. mulier autem familiae suae et caput et finis est.
(Ulpian, Dig. 50.16.195)

Let us see how the term familia is to be understood. It has various meanings, for it is applied both to property and to persons. To property: as, for example, in a law of the Twelve Tables in these words: ‘Let the nearest agnate have the familia.’ It has the meaning applying to persons when, e.g., a law says of patron and freedman ‘from that familia‘, ‘into that familia‘ and here it is understood that the law speaks of particular persons.
The term ‘familia‘ is also used to mean a certain body of persons, defined either by a strict legal bond between the persons themselves or in a general sense of people joined by a looser relationship of kinship.
In the strict legal sense we call a familia a number of people who are by birth or by law subjected to the potestas (power) of one man, e.g. paterfamilias (father of a familia), mater (mother of a familia), son or daughter of a familia, and so on in succession, e.g. grandsons, granddaughters, etc. Paterfamilias (head of a household) is the title given to the person who holds sway in the house, and he is correctly so called even if he has no children, for we are designating not only him as a person, but his legal right: indeed, we call even a minor paterfamilias. When a paterfamilias dies, all the persons subject to him begin each to have a separate familia; for each individual takes on the title paterfamilias. The same will happen when someone is emancipated, for he becomes sui iuris (legally independent) and begins to have his own familia.
In the wider sense we use familia legally of all agnates: for even though on the death of the paterfamilias each one has a separate familia, all the same all those who were under the power of one man will correctly be said to belong to the same familia, since they issued from the same gens (kin group) and the same house.
We also habitually use familia of slaves, e.g. in the praetorian edict under the heading ‘on theft’, where the praetor talks about the familia of tax-farmers. In that passage, not all slaves are meant, but a particular body of slaves got together for that purpose, that is, for tax-collecting. Elsewhere in the edict, however, it is used of all slaves, e.g., in the section ‘On armed assemblage and robbery by force’, or again in ‘Action for recovery’: ‘should the condition of the goods be impaired by the activity of the buyer or his familia‘.
In the interdict ‘On violence’, the term familia includes all the slaves, and sons as well.
Again, familia is used of several persons who all descend by blood from a single remembered source (e.g., we speak of the Julian family). A woman, however, is both the beginning and end of her own familia. (tr. Jane F. Gardner & Thomas Wiedemann)



Si quis virgines appellasset, si tamen ancillari veste vestitas, minus peccare videtur: multo minus, si meretricia veste feminae, non matrum familiarum vestitae fuissent. si igitur non matronali habitu femina fuerit et quis eam appellavit vel ei comitem abduxit, iniuriarum non tenetur.
(Ulpian, Dig. 

If someone accosts respectable young girls, even though they are in slaves’ clothing, he is understood to commit a lesser offense: a much lesser offense, if the women were dressed as prostitutes and not as respectable women. Therefore, if a woman has not been wearing respectable clothing and someone has accosted her or abducted her compagnion, he is not liable to the action on outrage. (tr. Thomas A.J. McGinn)



Divus Marcus et Commodus Scapulae Tertullo rescripserunt in haec verba: ‘si tibi liquido compertum est Aelium Priscum in eo furore esse, ut continua mentis alienatione omni intellectu careat, nec subest ulla suspicio matrem ab eo simulatione dementiae occisam: potes de modo poenae eius dissimulare, cum satis furore ipso puniatur. et tamen diligentius custodiendus erit ac, si putabis, etiam vinculo coërcendus, quoniam tam ad poenam quam ad tutelam eius et securitatem proximorum pertinebit. si vero, ut plerumque adsolet, intervallis quibusdam sensu saniore, non forte eo momento scelus admiserit nec morbo eius danda est venia, diligenter explorabis et si quid tale compereris, consules nos, ut aestimemus, an per immanitatem facinoris, si, cum posset videri sentire, commiserit, supplicio adficiendus sit. cum autem ex litteris tuis cognoverimus tali eum loco atque ordine esse, ut a suis vel etiam in propria villa custodiatur: recte facturus nobis videris, si eos, a quibus illo tempore observatus esset, vocaveris et causam tantae neglegentiae excusseris et in unumquemque eorum, prout tibi levari vel onerari culpa eius videbitur, constitueris. nam custodes furiosis non ad hoc solum adhibentur, ne quid perniciosius ipsi in se moliantur, sed ne aliis quoque exitio sint: quod si committatur, non immerito culpae eorum adscribendum est, qui neglegentiores in officio suo fuerint.’
(Macer, Digesta Iustiniani 1.18.14)

The deified Marcus and Commodus issued a rescript to Scapula Tertullus in the following terms: “If you have clearly ascertained that Aelius Priscus is in such a state of insanity that he lacks all understanding through the continuous alienation of his mental faculties, and if there remains no suspicion that his mother was murdered by him under pretence of madness; then you can abandon consideration of the measure of his punishment, since he is being punished enough by his very madness. And yet it will be necessary for him to be all too closely guarded, and, if you think it advisable, even bound in chains, this being a matter of not so much punishing as protecting him and of the safety of his neighbors. If, however, as very often happens, he has intermittent periods of relative sanity, you shall diligently explore the question whether in one such moment he committed the crime, and whether no indulgence is due to his illness. If you ascertain any such thing, you shall consult us, that we may consider whether the enormity of his crime (in the event of his having committed it when he could be held to have been fully aware) merits the infliction of extreme punishment. But since we have learned from your letter that his position and rank are such that he is in the custody of his own people or even in his own house, it seems to us that you will act rightly if you summon those by whom at the material time he was being looked after, and if you make inquiry into the cause of so neglectful an act, and if you make a decision against each one of them according as you find his culpability lesser or greater. For those who have custody of the insane are not responsible only for seeing that they do not do themselves too much harm but also for seeing that they do not bring destruction on others. But if that should happen, it may deservedly be imputed to the fault of those who were too neglectful in performing their duties.” (tr. Alan Watson)



Idem Celsus eodem libro ait etiam suppellecticarios et ceteros hoc genus servos contineri, id est ministeria, quibus instructus erat in eo fundo (extra ea quae libertatem acceperunt), et qui rure morari solebant.
si instructum fundum legasset, ea paedagogia, quae ibi habebat, ut, cum ibi venisset, praesto essent in triclinio, legato continentur.
contubernales quoque servorum, id est uxores, et natos, instructo fundo contineri verum est.
instructo autem fundo et bibliothecam et libros, qui illic erant, ut quotiens venisset uteretur, contineri constat. sed si quasi apotheca librorum utebatur, contra erit dicendum.
(Ulpian, Dig.

Celsus also says, in the same Book, that slaves who have care of the furniture and other slaves of this kind are included; that is to say, household slaves, who are employed on the land, with the exception of those who have received their freedom, and who are accustomed to reside in the country.
If a testator should devise land already provided with the means of cultivation, young slaves who are being instructed in the service of the table, and whom the testator was accustomed to have there, whenever he came, are embraced in the legacy.
The members of the slaves’ families, that is, their wives and children, are undoubtedly included in the devise of land with its equipment.
Where land with its equipment is devised, it is well established that the library, and any books upon the premises, which the head of the household made use of whenever he came, are included. If, however, a warehouse should be used for the storage of the books, the contrary opinion must be held. (tr. Samuel P. Scott)



Is cui os oleat an sanus sit quaesitum est: Trebatius ait non esse morbosum os alicui olere, veluti hircosum, strabonem: hoc enim ex illuvie oris accidere solere. Si tamen ex corporis vitio id accidit, veluti quod iecur, quod pulmo aut aliud quid similiter dolet, morbosus est.

The question arose whether a slave who has a bad breath is sound. Trebatius says that a person whose breath smells is not diseased any more than one who smells like a goat, or who squints; for this may happen to anyone on account of a filthy mouth. But, however, where this occurs through some bodily defect, for example, from the liver or the lungs, or from any other similar cause, the slave is diseased. (tr. Samuel P. Scott)