1st Edition

Married Life in Greco-Roman Antiquity

Edited By Claude-Emmanuelle Centlivres Challet Copyright 2022
    228 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    228 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Beyond the institution of marriage, its norms, and rules, what was life like for married couples in Greco-Roman antiquity? This volume explores a wide range of sources over seven centuries to uncover possible answers to this question.

    On tombstones, curse or oracular tablets, in contracts, petitions, letters, treatises, biographies, novels, and poems, throughout Egypt, Greece, and Rome, 107 couples express themselves or are given life by their contemporaries and share their experiences of, and views on, marital relationships and their practical and emotional consequences. Renowned scholars and the next generation of experts explore seven centuries of source material to uncover the dynamics of the married life of metropolitan and provincial, famous and unknown, young and old couples. Men’s and women’s hopes, fears, traumas, joys, endeavours, and needs are analysed and reveal an array of interactions and behaviours that enlighten us on gender roles, social expectations, and intimate dealings in antiquity. Known texts are revisited, new evidence is put forward, and novel interpretations and concepts are offered which highlight local and chronological specificities as well as transhistorical commonalities. The analysis of married life in Greco-Roman antiquity, from ongoing vetting process to place where to find security, reveals the fundamental yearning to be included and loved and how the tensions created by the sometimes contradictory demands of traditional ideals and individual realities can be resolved, furthering our knowledge of social and cultural mechanisms.

    Married Life in Greco-Roman Antiquity will provide valuable resources of interest to scholars and students of Classical studies as well as social history, gender studies, family history, the history of emotions, and microhistory.

    1 Life Within an Ancient Knot: The Extraordinary within the Confines of the Ordinary

    Claude-Emmanuelle Centlivres Challet

    2 Mind the Gap: Evidence (?) for Non-Elite Couples in the Hellenistic Period

    Bonnie Maclachlan

    3 From Ideal to Reality: Married Couples on Hellenistic Inscribed Grave Epigrams

    Charlotte Golay

    4 Vilicus and Vilica in the De Agri Cultura: The Elder Cato’s Script for a Farming Couple

    Judith P. Hallett

    5 Literary Models and Social Challenges: Marital Love According to Ovid in the Tristia and Epistulae Ex Ponto

    Jacqueline Fabre-Serris

    6 For Better or for Worse: Conjugal Relationships of Writers and Intellectuals under the Challenges of the Empire

    Ida Gilda Mastrorosa

    7 Worth Her Weight: Worthy Women, Coupling, and Eating in Petronius’ Satyrica

    Karen E. Klaiber Hersch

    8 Reading Plutarch’s Marriage Precepts

    David Konstan

    9 Looking Ordinary: Ideals and Ideologies in the Iconography of Married Couples in Roman Society

    Mary Harlow and Lena Larsson Lovén

    10 Material Aspects of Marriage: Economic Transactions between Spouses in Roman Egypt

    Marianna Thoma

    11 ‘For I Have No Other Sun But You’: Emotions and Married Life in Greek Papyri

    Maryline Parca


    Claude-Emmanuelle Centlivres Challet is Scientific Collaborator at the Institut d’Archéologie et des Sciences de l’Antiquité at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Her research interests and publications include genders and couple relationships (Like Man, Like Woman: Roman Women, Gender Qualities and Conjugal Relationships at the Turn of the First Century, 2013), family, sexuality, breastfeeding, breast pumps, infant feeding, Pliny the Younger, and Juvenal. Her next book explores gender pressure in Roman times.

    "This is a strong contribution to the topic of marriage in the antique Mediterranean world and each essay has considerable merit." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review