This chapter deals with the wealthy classes of the Roman Empire, especially the Latin-speaking west, during the last century BC and the first two centuries of our era. It examines how slavery affects family roles and relations. Slavery was clearly an important part of the social context in which propertied Romans led their family lives. The chapter discusses the presence of slaves which offers a key to understanding the life cycle of the Roman family, and helps to explain how some basic features of Roman demography fit together in a coherent system. Ancient authors assumed that male slaves did the heavy work in the fields, and recent epigraphic studies of some large Roman households suggest that even among domestic slaves men predominated. This chapter describes the way in which Romans played on the fundamental ambiguity of slavery human beings as controllable property in their strategies to manipulate family size and composition.