Sexing a Roman: imperfect men in Roman law
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Sexing a Roman: imperfect men in Roman law book
What is a man? In any society, determining the sex of individuals is a legal, as well as a social necessity. The legal capacities, and the gender roles, of the two sexes vary from one society to another, but in Rome, the determination of masculinity was especially important because of the peculiar authority given in Roman law to the male in his gender role as paterfamilias; he could exercise potestas over other free persons within the familia of which he was head, and, unlike women, he had no restrictions on his legal capacity to engage in transactions with other heads of household (Gardner 1993, chapter 4).