Marriage in ancient Rome Essay

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The Roman institution of marriage has been lauded as being the first purely humanistic law of marriage, one that is based on the idea of marriage being a free and freely dissolvable union of two equal partners for life. (Schulz, 1951;103) This is quite a simplistic view, as there were many differing forms of marriage in Rome, from the arranged marriages of the elite to the unions of slaves and soldiers. As we shall see, the Romans' actual expectations of married life and the gains they envisioned they would receive from the experience depended greatly on their age, sex and social status.
Unlike our contemporary society, no specific civil ceremony was required for the creation of a marriage; only mutual agreement and the fact that the
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One reason was the need to keep the dowry of the bride in the bride's family, especially if it was property. In later years the father of the bride could intervene between the husband and wife. (Treggiari, 1987;1344) The groom benefited from the extended family after marriage. One of the most important functions they performed for upper class men was to campaign and support him through his political offices. (Pliny the Younger, Letters, 1:14)
One of the most considerable gains for a married woman was the respect and status that came with being a wife and mother, a "Matrona". She held a position of respect and responsibility in the household and had a role in public worship. She was in charge of the keys of the house and the domestic staff, as well as organising and making the clothing for the family. (Treggiari, 1987;1350) Epitaphs abound proclaiming the skill with which women kept their houses and the virtues that they possessed, or were alleged to possess. It was in this way only that women were to be remembered, by their honour and loyalty to their husband and their competence at household chores. In the same inscription for Murdia (139) she is described by her son as deserving great praise, for in
"…modesty, propriety, chastity, obedience,

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