from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Roman antiquity, personal sovereignty or dominion of a man over persons dependent on him; the authority which the head of a household possessed over wife, descendants, and slaves, as distinguished from official authority, called imperium; more specifically, such personal authority over children and descendants as members of the household (patria potestas, which see) and over slaves (dominica potestas, also called dominium), as distinguished from authority over a wife, called manus.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Women still in patria potestas, in other words, women whose father was still alive, had to wait until their father’s death before the law could apply to them.

    Caesars’ Wives

  • The power to which he was subject was termed a potestas: slaves were under the dominical power, and children were under the patria potestas exercised by a male ascendant; the marital power was termed manus (i. e., "the hand", signifying force).

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 9: Laprade-Mass Liturgy

  • And Venue … her father, the paterfamilias, who like the Roman head of a household bore the power of vitae necisque potestas—the power of life and death over his children—had no trouble electing death.

    The Thieves of Darkness

  • The act was called adoptio when the person being adopted, who could be male or female, was previously in the patria potestas of another; when, however, the male being adopted was himself not under paternal power sui iuris or even a paterfamilias himself, it was called adrogatio.

    Caesars’ Wives

  • With the veto power, the presidency also has an element of what the Romans called potestas.

    I Overestimated Palin « Blog

  • In other words, the furnishing of a strong religious, cultural incentive (the provision of children of a certain preferred type) for women to desire sex, and, according to this view, to express their desire, obviates the need for patria potestas.


  • Homo potestas by Tom Murphy on Tuesday, Jun 2, 2009 at 2: 31: 17 PM

    Current Evolutionary Leap

  • Please, please, please pick up an Anne Rice book one day. potestas


  • Sit Trinitati sempiterna gloria, honor, potestas atque iubilatio, in unitate, cui manet imperium ex tunc et modo per æterna sæcula.

    Giovanni Vianini's

  • Augustus had potestas of counsel, tribune and censor granted by the Senate the trick being that they granted him the power of censor without the office, thus allowing the overlapping but, more importantly than all that, he was beloved by the people and the legions.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Justice Breyer Proposes Adding Voice for Article III Judiciary in President’s Cabinet:


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