Posted by: cjjj1 | October 3, 2008

Marriage in Ancient Rome

by: Christavia Johnson

In ancient Rome, their existed many different types of marriages, from elite arranged marriages to the union of slaves and soldiers. As you will find out, the Romans actual expectation of married life and the gains they envisioned they would receive from the experience, greatly depended on age, sex and social status.

Unlike today, no specific civil ceremony was needed for the creation of marriage, only the mutual agreement and the fact that the couple regarded each other as husband and wife. Although it was not a legal necessity, some weddings, usually the first marriage of elite couples, was accompanied by a priest and and songs.

The marriage of a young woman in her early teens resulted in the gain of love and respect from her parents. Prior to marriage, no love and respect was given to the daughter. After she’s married, she transforms from a “little girl” into a respected wife.

Marriage, for both males and females gain them a larger group of family members and the security that came with it. As for the woman, she gains the husband’s social status. In early Roman history, the wife was passed from the hands of her father to that of her husband, so becoming a virtual blood relative.

One of the most considerable advantages for a married woman was the respect and status that came along with being a wife and a mother, a “Matrona.” The wife held the position of respect and responsibility in the household and had the role of public worship. She was in charge of the keys to the house and the staff, as well as organizing and making clothing for her family. By having children, the wife could insure an increase of her status in society. Having children in elite marriages guaranteed the children a position as an heir to the throne of their father’s or mother’s family.

In most marriages, whether it was arranged, or the persons choice, both bride and groom expected to gain companionship, happiness, security and love.


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