A certain amount of affection, though not too much, was considered normal. It was considered a father’s responsibility to see his daughter married well, not just for the good of the family, but also out of affection for her. Cicero, at least, played successfully on these expectations in several of his speeches, making several references to his daughter Tullia.
A father had several rights and obligations with regard to his daughter. He was her guardian and she remained within his patria potestas until she married, sometimes longer. What exactly that meant changed over time as a father’s power over his children lessened.* Most relevant here is his right and responsibility to arrange a good marriage for her. It was his right in the sense that the choice was his, with only as much input from her as he chose, but his responsibility in the sense that a bad marriage** reflected back on him.
Regardless of how well or poorly he married her, however, he was expected to guard her interests and those of his son-in-law. An adult daughter, though her first thought should be for the interests of her husband, should also look out for her father’s prospects.
If she married cum manu, she entered her husband’s potestas or that of his father and remained within it until the person in question died or she divorced. If she married sine manu though, she stayed in her father’s potestas*** and retained that connection to him and to her birth family. Even if she passed into her husband’s potestas, however, her father retained certain rights, including that of killing her if he caught her in the act of adultery, something a husband was not allowed to do. If she divorced or was widowed, a woman’s father was expected to help find her a new husband if he still lived. In these cases though, she had a stronger position. Custom and law granted her greater voice in choosing whether or not to remarry and who with. She was an adult by this point. The expectation of care for her dictated that he be involved if he still lived, but his was not officially the sole voice anymore.
*Where in earlier centuries a father could kill his children or sell them into slavery, for example, by the time of Hadrian a man who killed his son was stripped of his citizenship and selling one’s child into slavery was regarded as an act of desperation.
**A “bad marriage” did not mean the same thing it does now. The issue was not romantic love (which throughout most of Western history has been considered a bonus at best, at least in the context of marriage), but the character and status of the bridegroom and thus the status and situation of the daughter after her marriage.
***Technically, if her father were not yet sui iuris, she was in the potestas of the same person as her father.
On Marital Subordination (Gaius, Institutes 1.108-118, 136-137a) - Diotima/WLGR
On guardianship (Gaius, Institutes 1. 144-5, 190-1.) - Diotima
A funeral eulogy, ILS 8393, 1st century CE - Diotima/WLGR
Papinian, On Adultery, book 2 (Digest 48.5.11) - Diotima
Papinian, On Adultery, book 1 (Digest 48.5.23) - Diotima
Pronouncement of the emperors Diocletian and Maximian - found in hardcopy of WLGR (Lefkowitz & Fant), no link available
Pomeroy, Sarah. Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity. New York: Pantheon Books, 1995.
Treggiari, Susan. Roman Social History. London: Routledge, 2002.
Excerpts from Sarah Pomeroy's "The Roman Matron of the Late Republic and Early Empire" - Stetson.edu
Marriage in Ancient Rome - Wikipedia
Manus Marriage - Wikipedia
Women in Ancient Rome - Wikipedia