Marriage in ancient Greece and Rome

Marriage in ancient Greece and Rome: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome. Introduction . Marriage is a pretty big deal. It’s a commitment, a ceremony, and something that could potentially change your life forever.

Marriage in ancient Greece and Rome: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome
Marriage in ancient Greece and Rome: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome

But with so many different variations on the word out there, it can be hard to know exactly what marriage means to you. Marriage has been in existence since the beginning of time and the manner in which it is carried out varies from one culture to another. Some cultures embrace marriage as a religious celebration, others see it as a legally-binding contract, and some view marriage as both of these things.

Despite what the phrase “until death do us part” suggests, people in different cultures have been known to get divorced. Divorce can be seen as a failure to uphold the marriage vows. However, in some cultures divorce is not only accepted but it is an option that should be considered when marriages don’t work out. 

While the way people carry out marriage varies from culture to culture, there are some similarities that can be seen in every ceremony. A marriage is a ceremony in which two people celebrate their union and sometimes, that union is said to be eternal.

As mentioned before, one of the most important things about marriage is its permanence. A wedding is usually held in order to keep track of the couple’s commitment.

Usually, the bride puts on a wedding dress to symbolise public declaration of her faithfulness to her groom. In some cultures, a wedding ring can be seen as yet another symbol of lifelong fidelity. Therefore, this article will focus on marriage in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome

Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece, marriage came in two forms: traditional and the less-common but still legal arranged marriage. The first one involved a couple of different aspects that the families would often be happy to debate, such as which family had a higher status and which clan was wealthier. If there was an even competition between them, then both parties would hold a competition and the winner of that event would win the right to marry their future spouse.

The other form of marriage in Ancient Greece was arranged marriage. Arranged marriages were used to tie two families together, often politically or economically. The match would typically be proposed by a pair of powerful individuals. In this situation, neither the bride nor the groom had much say in the matter, but it is likely that their parents played a role in helping them decide which proposal they would accept or decline.

Ancient Greek weddings were a long process. The first step would be a betrothal, which was essentially an announcement of intent to marry someone. This announcement would be made during a religious ceremony, where the bride’s father would give her away in exchange for the bride price.

The next step was to have a marriage contract drawn up between the two families that outlined the deal they had agreed on and put it in writing. The final step would be to have the wedding itself and give away the bride. Marriage was very much a social event, and it was rare for a man to become engaged before he was 20 years of age.

It was also a long-term commitment. The Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484 – 425 BC) recorded that Persian women were not allowed to divorce their husbands. Tying a woman to a husband would be seen as an insult and a sign of insolence, so it was very hard for women to break the bonds of their marital relationships. This shows the importance that the men placed on marriage. The woman did not have much say in her marriage, and her husband had total control over her.

Weddings were often lavish affairs and the women had a lot of traditional responsibilities. Ancient Greek brides wore heavy costumes that had to be specially made for the event and were highly decorated. Their hair was done up in a bun, and they wore lots of jewellery.

Men similarly adorned their wives with expensive clothing and jewellery, which held connotations of luxury and prosperity. Ancient Greeks would often wear dyed cloaks as well, making them stand out from other men who did not have such garments to distinguish themselves from other men.

Ancient Greek brides are famous for the long white veil that they wore. The veil was called a “himation”, which means that it was taken from animals used in sacrifices to the god Hercules.

These veils were made by specialised bridal weavers who would hand-weave them as gifts to the bride, who would in turn wear them at her wedding ceremony. Young women who were not engaged wore yellow robes instead of white ones, but they also wore multi-colored scarves on their heads and upper bodies.

Ancient Rome

In Ancient Rome, marriage took place within the family or one of their allies and children were often married at young ages. The legal marriage allowed wives to own property in their own name as well as inherit from their husbands upon his death.

A Roman groom would customarily present his wife a wedding gift called “the herd”. This was a collection of small gifts that served practical purposes: a lamp to see at night, a razor for shaving and tweezers for splinters.

The tradition of the bride receiving the herd dates from the early period of Roman marriage and may have derived from the lack of female servants available from the end of the 3rd century BC onwards.

The groom would then make an offer at the bride’s father’s house, which was customary on his side. It had been to prevent the girl from eloping with someone who was not her husband’s brother or close relative.

He would typically give her gifts out of his desire for a positive relationship and because he believed it to be in their best interests. She would keep these items until she got married and then give them to her new spouse.

The Roman wedding ceremony was a practical custom with little religious significance, because it was not supervised by the priests. It was also rare for grooms to go to the bride’s house before the wedding. Instead, they would take the gifts and give them to his wife in her mother’s home. The groom and his friends would then visit their future spouses’ house several times over several days, giving presents and celebrating.

After the contract was in place, the couple would often wait until they had enough money to buy land and build a house. They wanted to make it clear that they were equals in their relationship. To give the couple time to become financially stable, Roman law would allow them to postpone marriage for a year before requiring both parties to make financial arrangements.

The bride’s family would typically not live in her husband’s home, as was common in Ancient Greece. Instead, they would establish their own house near it and make their own arrangements.

The wedding itself was a public event that would occur in the bride’s home before the community. There were two parts to the wedding: the ‘Giving of Gifts’ (where they were presented to one another) and the ‘Honeymoon’. The bride’s family had to give a gift to her new husband which was equivalent to four times their annual income, which would be paid for by her family.

It was not uncommon for a Roman woman to be divorced several times. As with Greek marriage, divorce was only possible if the husband and wife were unable to live together for some reason.

The divorce process was relatively simple. The husband would ask the wife to come and live with him in his house, which she had no obligation to do. By deciding not to live separately that meant that they had ceased being married, but it did not allow for a divorce until he formally asked for one.

There was one exception. If a wife was caught in the act of committing adultery and her husband chose to keep her, she had no choice but to comply. If the husband took his wife back, they would continue their marriage as though nothing had happened.

In this case, adultery only applies to women who are married or engaged. For a woman who is not married, her infidelity alone is not enough to release her from the man’s control over her body.

Conclusion: Marriage in ancient Greece and Rome

Marriage in Ancient Greek and Ancient Rome was between a man and a woman, usually with the purpose of producing children. In the ancient times, marriage was regarded as an economic and political alliance to which there were many expectations, including the right to acquire rights of citizenship.

Love relationships were not as widespread in ancient Athens as they are now in modern Western society because women were not allowed to be out on their own or own property. In Ancient Rome, marriage for love was not very common either. 

Read Also: Marriage in the modern world. This content will provide an insight of the changes that have occurred in the institution of marriage over the years: Adultery in ancient Greece and Rome; Buddhism and marriage; Types of marriages in Islam;No intimacy in marriage from husband ; Harris county marriage record; Marriage certificate texas; How I save my marriage after cheating on my husband; How I save my marriage after cheating on my husband; Adultery in Catholic Marriage; What does the Bible say about marriage?; What is marriage?; Marriage in Florida

External resource: Wikipedia

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