Friday, September 02, 2005



Recently I received an email from Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers with the subject E-Litterae September 2005, Vol. 30. In this email, under the heading Trivia Latina, was the following bit of information:
Scivistine...that sons, no matter how old they were, received an allowance (peliculum) from the paterfamilias of their family? In older sons, the allowance was usually used to maintain their own household.
The source for this information seems to be a page on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) web site, entitled Life in Roman Times: Marriage and Family Life, which states:
Only the paterfamilias could own property in a family. His sons — regardless of age — would receive an allowance (peliculum) to use in maintaining their own households.
These two sentences from the PBS web site are repeated (without attribution) on a web page created by a graduate of the Teacher Technology Training Institute Web Design Classes.

So far as I know, there is no Latin word peliculum. In the examples above, it is an error for peculium (allowance). If you Google peliculum, you'll find some other pages where it is an error for periculum (danger).

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