What they did would vary according to status. Patrician (upper class) romans would mainly be landowners, who would derive an income from their estates, which would be farmed by slaves. Ssome of them would be senators, serving in the government. Lowere class romans might be peasant farmers, working their own small farms, or if they lived in cities the ymight be engaged in a variety of different trades and occupations. Small businesses were likely to be family affairs, with wives and children participating in the business. Women often made a living from spinning and weaving, or in the catering trade, or they might work as domestic servants or as midwives.
About half the population of Rome were slaves, who had no rights at all and were the absolute property of their owners. Romans could do exactly as they liked with their slaves, though over time some laws were introduced to restrict the power owners had to inflict suffering on their slaves.
The head of the family was the Pater Familias, who had absolute authroity over his wife, children, and other family members. He continued to have authority over his children even after they were grown up. when a woman married that authority might be transfered to her husband, but only if her own pater Familias (most often her father) agreed to it. If not, then she remained under the authority of her pater familias even after she married. The Emperor Augustus, who was worried about the falling birthrate, introduced a law called the law of Three or Four children, which said that a free woman who bore three children, or a freedwoman who bore four, was altogether exempt from male guardianship.
Wealthy Romans lived in handsome villas, with indoor plumbing, heated flooring etc. Ordinary people were more likley to live in small houses, or in the cities in apartment blocks where many families were crammed together in small rooms. apartment blocks were often shoddily built, and there were many disasters, with buildings collapsing.
Roman women of the upper classes moved freely in society, unlike upper class Greek women, who were generally expected to confine themselves ot the women's quarters. women were often well educated, as it was thought educated women made more desirable wives. Some wives of powerful men had greatinfluence, like Livia, the wife of the emperor Augustus for example.
The children of wealthy families were often educated at home by tutors caleld pedagogues - who were slaves. By the `st century BC it was more common to be educaed outside the home. Schoolss varied enormously in quality and the teachers earned very little. The first school a child attended taught elementary reading, writing, and mathematicss. Wealthier children would move at the age of 11 to a grammaticus where they would learn poetry by heart. Later training with a rhetor would set up the young upper-class Roman as an orator able to make his way in the courts.
Girls sometimes went to school, or might be educated at home. Roman women married quite young, usually in their early teens. At weddings a spindle and distaff was carried by the bride's attendants as symbols of the wife'ss role in charge of the.home's spinning, weaving, and clothmaking. By Ad 50 though these customs had died out in wealthier homes and the wealthy Romans bought their clothes from shops. Fashionable women used cosmetics heavily. Surviving pomde jars, tweezers, combs, and hairpins all testify to the importance of beauty aidss in everyday life. women relied heavily on trained slaves to fasten their hair in the style of the day. Wigs were common, and some statues even had removable stone wigs which could be changed when hairstyle fashions altered.
The romans enjoyed going to see chariot races, and the more bloodthirsty spectator sports like gladiator fights, criminals being thrown to wild beasts etc. there were many public holidays and religious celebrations where there would be processsions and dancing, and feasting. Saturnalia, in midwinter, was one of the most popular celebrations.
Every roman house had its own household gods, the lares and penates. The lares traditionally guarded teh boundaries of a home and all those who lived within it, the penates were spirits who garuded the storecupboards where the family's food wsa kept. One of the most important functions of the pater familias was to oversee the religious rites required to maintain the well-being of the family.
Answered By: Louise C - 11/12/2009