In Roman law, agnati were a group of males and females who were related through a common ancestor, and thus came under a single family authority. The modern use in social anthropology relates to patrilineal (or male) descent, but the element of male authority has been lost. An agnate is thus a blood relative in the patrilineal (or male) line. Agnation refers to a kinship system in which relationship is traced exclusively through the male line. In current anthropological usage the term patrilineal is preferred.