History of Marriage?

In Roman culture, was there marriage before the time of Christ?

If the Roman world was 75 % slaves, did the marry?

Well, I know so little about the history of marriage, if one could give me a little history.

My speculation is, the poorer one was the less often people married. The more money, the more a man had one special wife, but many affairs. It seems that money probably ruled. THIS IS MERE SPECULATION.


The farthest back history is Adam and Eve, the original, preternatural status in an unfallen world. :o

Yes. For example, Julius Caesar was married - 3 times actually.
(He lived before Jesus.)

IF one believes in “Adam” and “Eve” as actual beings and not the subjects of a religous explanation of human beginnings. From what I’ve read of Catholic belief, it is not necessary to believe “Adam” and “Eve” were actual human characters that existed.

“Adamah”…red clay…'humans" came from the “humus” of the Earth…a “pun” so to speak in the Hebrew. “Eve” the “mother of humans” another “pun” of the Hebrew…yet many of us have made the Hebrew “pun”…history…when it never was intended to be “hisory”.

Catholic teaching is that all men are descended from a single pair of humans. Scripture assigns the names of Adam and Eve to this original pair. Whether one accepts “Adam” and “Eve” as being the actual names of the first 2 humans really has no bearing on whether or not those first 2 humans were married. Genesis tells us they were.

And as far as the meaning of their names, it’s those very meanings which make it all the more likely that “Adam” and “Eve” were their actual names since names were meant to express something about who the person was.

Regardless of what their names were, they had a son named “Cain”. Scripture says he was married. (Gen 4:17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived…)
All one has to do is run a Bible word search on “wife” or “wives” to see that marriage has been part of human culture from the beginning.

If one believes that all humans are decended from a single pair of humans…one must also accpet incest was accepted as normal from the “beginning”…brother with sister…mother with son…daughter with father…yet no one claims incest is acceptable now.

That is not entirely correct, because the first humans were also ensouled. There is a school of thought that the first ensouled humans mated with other homo sapiens, and from thence, their offspring, ensouled humans proceeded, still tracing back to Adam and Eve.

At any rate, it is necessary in Catholic thought for Adam and Eve to have existed, for otherwise, original sin did not come through the world through Adam and Eve, which of course, the Church teaches.

Genesis 20:12 says that Abram married his half-sister. Genesis 19:32-36 is about Lot and his daughters. Exodus 6:20 Amram married his aunt. All of this took place before the Law of Moses. Because it is not acceptable today, does not preclude it being acceptable then.

Of course.

mother with son…daughter with father…

Not necessarily.

yet no one claims incest is acceptable now.


I am the OP.

I am asking: in the pagan worlds, did they have marriage?

What percent of the people married?

What was the nature of marriage?

I know that it is a huge question, so many eras, countries, cultures and even pagan religions.

The premise behind the question, Jewish and Christian marriage was a great improvement to the pagan family unit.


Yes, of cours, siblings married, cousins, etc. This is not a divine law impediment. Over time, the impediments to marriage between siblings and close relations were put into place for the good of the family due to sin entering the world.

No, one does not need to accept sexual relations between those in the direct line (parent, child, grandparent) because the Bible makes it clear that is an abomination. It is a divine law impediment.

Of course.

Jim, we have no way to know this. Most people did marry, if you look at the extant records we have available.

That varied by culture. I am not sure what exactly you are asking.

I don’t know about that. Although, Christian marriage did improve the lot of women to some extent as they could not be forced into marriage nor set aside by their husbands.

There are some articles in the Cathollic Encyclopedia that might answer some of your questions:







And this school of thought would be incorrect because all humans have rational souls. For a human to mate with any other creature would be the abomination of beastiality. We all descended from two parents. We did not descend from a third parent (from outside of the descendants of Adam and Eve) as that school suggests. People were permitted to marry their siblings until the Law of Moses came to be. From Adam until Noah, humans were not permitted to eat meat of any kind. After the flood, God permitted man to eat meat. Some things change based on the situation. After the humans had populated enough, God removed the permission to marry siblings.

“When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.” - Venerable Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, 37
Source: papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12HUMAN.HTM

Marriage predates recorded history, so it’s not entirely certain how it developed. It probably started with chiefs taking a specific wife who would give birth to his successor. If he had multiple children through multiple lovers there would be conflict over who would lead the group next, so marriage became a way of solving that problem. As time went on problems of inheritance and social positions made marriage a practical solution for the common man to leave his belongings and social achievements to is children within a marriage.

As civilizations became more complex marriages were very important to the ruling class who often married their cousins and half-siblings to keep the bloodlines “pure.” In Ancient Rome establishing who your legitimate offspring were was important for the children of a citizen so they could receive any and all benefits of being a citizen of Rome.

Yes. Many slaves came from the areas the Romans conquered, so while enslaved many continued to practice their beliefs the best they could. While it may have seemed politically and economically pointless to marry many slaves, if not all, were raised in societies that practiced marriage so it was rooted in their culture one way or another.

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