In the beginning of the third year since the creation of the electronic Romanist journal IUS ROMANIUM the editor's board offers a fundamental topic both for the Roman and the contemporary law – FAMILIA. Thus, we continue to offer our readers topics from both private and public law in dimensions which are not too well-known to the wider legal community.

The problems of the family in the light of the respective historical, social, economic and legal context have always provoked great interest. On the one hand, they are linked to the characteristic for any both legal system notion of "family" as a community of physical persons of different status, and on the other, to the economic relations stemming from the management of the familial and their own private property of these persons and their involvement in third-person civil exchange. It is very often the case that research on familial relations raises questions about the influence of moral, religion, and custom upon them, about the specific changes due to historical events and state policy.

The family, irrespective of its broader or narrower personal scope, is a historical product. It forms as early as the dawn of civilisation and has represented the basic building block of society for centuries ever since. It is in the family and the kin that the basic principles and regulations take shape which later are projected into state organisation. It is where social moral is reflected as well as spontaneous and politically-directed changes in society.

From a legal perspective the family as a community is related to a considerable part of private and public legal institutes. Moreover, it is not only questions about the legal capacity and ability of its members that are raised, but also a great deal of property-related issues where familial status is essential. The main thesis of most authors is that the basis of the familial model upon which familial relations are built in European countries is the Roman ‘familia', dominated, protected and governed by its ‘pater familias'.

This issue compiles research by a lot of authors from prestigious universities. Irrespective of the non-exhaustive variations on the topic, the Editorial Board of the journal has selected papers presenting different aspects of familial relations in Rome and nowadays. Thus, the ones tempted into this problematics can trace the development of the Roman ‘familia' from the archaic period onwards, the formation of the basic terms and rules related with familial organisation, the specific status of some of its members and their participation in the civil exchange. Special place has been allotted to the Roman marriage and divorce, the dowry regime and property relations between spouses. Several papers are devoted to the origin and status of children, adoption as well as the obligations of maintenance between ascendants and descendants. Last but not least, this issue compiles research about the legal status of women in Ancient Rome providing a slightly more different image than the traditionally perceived subordinate status of the Roman woman. The issue includes also papers about topical legal issues, some of which find their solution in the authors' interpretation of current law, while others pose ‘de lege ferenda' tasks and prompt a search for the respective legal position adequate to the contemporary development of family and society.

We hope that some of the papers published in this issue will provoke discussions as the topics from the Roman jurisprudence have relevant projections nowadays, too. Other papers written in a historical-comparative plan could add up to the knowledge about Roman law and its relation to contemporary law. We would be glad if all of these research papers would provoke new research and publications which our journal wholeheartedly welcomes.