chapter  5
26 Pages

ALTERNATIVES TO MARRIAGE

In the classical age, alternatives to marriage were generally not permanent things. Virginity, in the literal sense of the word, simply meant the age of girlhood, where they were legally incapable and physically unprepared for the responsibilities and duties of marriage. Divorce in that period was almost always seen as an avenue to remarriage rather than an end in itself. Permanent widowhood for men and women was not entered into lightly. A woman’s fecundity was generally at issue, despite the value placed on the virtue of univira. Only when she passed the period of reproduction was widowhood seen as worthy and laudable thing. Widowers, of course, had no such problems. Many nobles and emperors remarried relatively late in. life, although it is true that many found themselves concubines instead of wives (or on occasion, in addition to their spouses). In short, marriage still remained the center of one’s relations.