The Civil Status in Roman Law

By: Anavitarte, E. J.*

People in Ancient Rome were classified according to their standing to enjoy and exercise their rights within the Roman society. This classification determined their legal, social and political position in the city, and it is called 'civil status'.

This civil status sort people into at least three (3) groups, each one with two options: (a) those who possessed or not their freedom, (b) those who possessed or not Roman citizenship, and (c ) those who possessed or not the paternal power inside their family.

Each of these situations were called status, and represented the possession─or not─of a legal attribute, such as freedom, Roman citizenship, and familial authority. However, they were not the attribute itself, but the legal effects of their standing.

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