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p877 Patrimi et Matrimi

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p877 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

PATRIMI ET MATRIMI, also called Patrimes et Matrimes, were those children whose parents were both alive (Festus, s.v. Flaminia; Matrimes; called by Dionysius, II.22, ἀμφιθαλεῖς);a in the same way as pater patrimus signifies a father, whose own father is still alive (Festus, s.v. Pater Patr.). Servius (ad Virg. Georg. 31), however, confines the term patrimi et matrimi to children born of parents who had been married by the religious ceremony called confarreatio: it appears probable that this is the correct use of the term, and that it was only applied to such children so long as their parents were alive. We know that the flamines majores were obliged to have been born of parents who had been married by confarreatio (Tac. Ann. IV.16; Gaius, I.112); and as the children called patrimi et matrimi are almost always mentioned in connection with religious rites and ceremonies (Cic. de Har. resp. 11; Liv. XXXVII.3; Gell. I.12; Tac. Hist. IV.53; Macrob. Saturn. 1.6;º Vopisc. Aurel. 19; Orelli, Inscr. n. 2276), the statement of Servius is rendered more probable, since the same reason, which confined the office of the flamines majores to those born of parents who had been married by confarreatio, would also apply to the children of such marriages, who would probably be thought more suitable for the service of the gods than the offspring of other marriages. (Rein, Das röm. Privatrecht, p177; Göttling, Gesch. d. Röm. Staatsv., p90.)

Thayer's Note:

a The Greek word had long been in use for the Greeks' own festivals, i.e., the Oschophoria: see Mair's note on Oppian, Cyneg. IV.235.

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Page updated: 10 Apr 11