A Roman household consisted of a number of slaves, a paterfamilias, his legitimate wife, and two or three sons or daughters. The paterfamilias gave the morning orders to the slaves. Some husbands chose to put their wives in charge of this duty. If she were especially trusted, he might give her the key to the strongbox. Wealthy women had almost nothing to do but occupy themselves with distaff and spindle (spinning wool into thread). Slaves were constantly at the master's beck and call. Masters did not dress themselves or even put on their shoes; this was the slaves' duties. Slaves slept throughout the house on cots, or at the door of the master's bedchamber.
The most wealthy families had both a house in Rome and a countryside villa, where an overlord maintained their plantation.
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|ABOVE: Interior of a Roman house
BELOW: Layout of a Roman villa