Ancient Roman Society and Social Order


Kelly Macquire
by and
published on 14 May 2023

Rome began as a small city on the banks of the Tiber River in Italy. The Latin tribes (also known as the Latini or Latians) inhabited the region c. 1000 BCE but the founding of the city is dated to 753 BCE. The family was the center and foundation of Roman society with the father as its head.

Rome was a patrilineal society (legitimate descent and inheritance from the father's bloodline) who, among many other deities, worshipped the supreme the sky god Deus Pater (“Father God”) – better known as Jupiter – who was associated with horses, thunder, lightning, storms, and fire. The male deity as head of the pantheon reflected the value of masculinity over femininity in the Latin culture.

The society was clearly patriarchal from an early stage and would continue along those same lines through the history of the Roman Republic (509-27 BCE) and Roman Empire (27 BCE-476 CE in the west, 330-1453 in the east). Although there is a legend that a Trojan woman named Roma, travelling with the hero Aeneas, founded Rome, the far more popular and better-known foundation myth is that the city was founded in 753 BCE by the demi-god Romulus after he killed his brother Remus.



0:00​ Introduction
0:57 Beginning of Roman Society
2:02 Family-as-Foundation
6:35 Family, Women & Marriage
8:55 Religion & The State
11:43 Outro

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Roman Empire

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The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2023, May 14). Ancient Roman Society and Social Order. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Ancient Roman Society and Social Order." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 14, 2023.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Ancient Roman Society and Social Order." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 14 May 2023. Web. 20 Jun 2024.