According to some anthropologists, a person who is usually aware of his paternity differs from animals (especially higher primates) in this respect.
Establishing the paternity of a particular person, unobvious and related to the event of conception and private life, is a particular legal problem. The Latin phrase: “Mater semper certa; pater est quem nuptiae demonstrant” (“the mother is always precisely known; the father is defined by marriage”) is known. In many legal systems, the birth of a child by the mother was completed by a special act on the part of the father, who recognized it as his own (in Roman law, he took it from the ground, tollere). Napoleon’s code introduced a formal rule according to which the father of a child born to a married woman is her husband. Nowadays, genetic testing can be used to establish paternity.
In Roman law (as in many traditional patriarchal societies), the father of the family had priority over the members of his family (up to the right to life and death) and was an intermediary between them and public institutions. The term “father”, because of this special role, is extremely often used in religion and ideology.
The metaphor of the Dad SVG as the head of the family and, more broadly, the ancestor in the male line, extends to God as the Creator (theonims like Jupiter with the word “father”, the address to God as the father – our Father’s prayer), the priest as the head of the community (Awwa, Father, Father, Father, prefix “father” to the name) and the ruler as the head of society (Father of the Fatherland, “fathers of the city”, paternalism, the title of Stalin – the Father of nations). The country is perceived as a set of possession of ancestral fathers, hence the terms fatherland and patriotism.
The name of the father of many peoples is a part of the personal name, forming a patronymic (for the ancient Greeks, Slavs, Germans, Oriental peoples), in the future such patronymics can give rise to surnames, which are passed on (most often on the male line) in the next generation.