The Ancient Library

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that, at least during the imperial period, the man put a ring on the finger of his betrothed, as a pledge of his fidelity. This ring was probably, like all rings at this time, worn on the left hand, and on the finger nearest to the smallest. (Macrob. Sat. vii. 13.) The last point to be fixed was the day on which the marriage was to take place. To­wards the close of the republic it had become cus­tomary to betroth young girls when they were yet children ; Augustus therefore limited the time during which a man was allowed to continue be­trothed to a girl (Suet. Aug. 34), and forbade men to be betrothed to girls before the latter had com­pleted their tenth year, so that the age of pubertas being twelve years, a girl might not be compelled to be betrothed longer than two years. (Dion Cass. liv. p. 609, Steph.)

The Romans believed that certain days were unfortunate for the performance of the marriage rites, either on account of the religious character of those days themselves, or on account of the days by which they were followed, as the woman had to perform certain religious rites on the day after her wedding, which could not take place on a dies ater. Dajrs not suitable for entering upon matri­mony were the Calends, Nones, and Ides of every month, all dies atri, the whole months of May (Ovid. Fast. v. 490 ; Plut. Quaest. Rom. p. 284) and February, and a great number of festivals. (Macrob. Sat. i. 15 ; Ovid. Fast. ii. 557.) Widows, on the other hand, might marry on days which were inauspicious for maidens. (Macrob. Sat. I. c. ; Pint. Quaest. Rom. p. 289.)

On the wedding-day, which in the early times was never fixed upon without consulting the au­spices (Cic. de Div. i. 16 ; Val. Max. ii. 1. § 1), the bride was dressed in a long white robe with a purple fringe or adorned with ribands. (Juv. ii. 124.) This dress was called tunica recta (Plin. //. N. viii. 48), and was bound round the waist with a girdle (corona, cingulum, or zona, Fcst. s. v. Cingulo), which the husband had to untie in the eveiaing. The bridal veil, called flammeum, was of a bright-yellow colour (Plin. H. N. xxi. 8 ; Schol. ad Juv. vi. 225), and her shoes likewise. (Catull. Ixii. 10.) Her hair was divided on this occasion with the point of a spear. (Ovid. Fast. ii. 560 ; Arnob. adv. Gent. ii. p. 91 ; Plut. Quaest. Rom. p. 285.)

The only form of marriage which was celebrated with solemn religious rites, was that by confarrea-tio; the other forms being mere civil acts, were probably solemnised without any religious cere­mony. In the case of a marriage by confarrcatio, a sheep was sacrificed, and its skin was spread over two chairs, upon which the bride and bride­groom sat down with their heads covered. (Serv. ad A en. iv. 3/4.) Hereupon the marriage was completed by pronouncing a solemn formula or prayer, after which another sacrifice was offered. A cake was made of far and the m.ola salsa pre­pared by the Vestal virgins (Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. viii. 82), and carried before the bride when she .was conducted to the residence of her husband. It is uncertain whether this cake is the same as that which is called mastaceum (Juv. Sat. vi. 201), and which was in the evening distributed among the guests assembled at the house of the young hus­band.

The bride was conducted to the house of her husband in the evening. She was taken with ap-



parent violence from the arms of her mother, or of the person who had to give her away. On her way she was accompanied by three boys dressed in, the praetexta, and whose fathers and mothers were still alive (patrimi et mcdrimi). One of them car­ried before her a torch of white thorn (spina) or, according to others, of pine wood ; the two others walked by her side supporting her by the arm. (Fest. s. v. Patrimi et matrimi ; Varro, ap. Chari-sium, i. p. 117 ; Plin. H. N. xvi. 18.) The bride herself carried a distaff and a spindle with wool. (Plin. //. N. viii. 48 ; Plut. Qtiaest. Rom. p. 2/1.) A boy called camillus carried in a covered vase (cume.ra, cumerum, or camilhtni) the so called utensils of the bride and playthings for children (crepundia, Fest. s. v. Cumeram ; Plant. Oistel. iii. 1. 5). Besides these persons who officiated on the occasion, the procession was attended by a nume­rous train of friends both of the bride and the bride­groom, whose attendance was called officium and ad qffidwn venire. (Suet. Calig. 25, Claud. 26.) Plutarch (Quaest. Rom. init.) speaks of five wax-candles which were used at marriages ; if these were borne in the procession, it must have been to light the company which followed the bride ; but it may also be that they were lighted during the marriage ceremony in the house of the bride.

When the procession arrived at the house of the bridegroom, the door of which was adorned with garlands and flowers, the bride was carried across the threshold bjr promtbi, i. e. men. who had only been married to one woman, that she might not knock against it with her foot, which would have been an evil omen. (Plut. Quaest. Rom. p. 271, c; Plant. Cas. iv. 4. 1.) Before she entered the house, she wound wool around the door-posts of > her new residence, and anointed them with lard (adcps suillus) or wolf's fat (adcps lupinus^ Serv. ad Aen. iv. 19 ; Plin. //. N. xxviii. 9). The husband received her with fire and water, which the woman had to touch. This was either a symbolic purification (for Serv. ad Aen. iv. 104, says that the newly married couple washed their feet in this water), or it was a symbolic expression of welcome, as, the interclicere aqua et igni was the formula for banishment. The bride saluted her husband with the words : ubi tu Caius, ego Caia. (Plut. Quaest. Rom. I. c.) After she had entered the house with distaff and spindle, she was placed upon a sheep-skin, and here the keys of the house were delivered into her hands. (Fest. s. v. Clavis.} A repast (cocna nuptialis} given by the husband to the whole train of relatives and friends who ac­companied the bride, generally concluded the so­lemnity of the day. (Plant. Cure. v. 2. 61 ; Suet. Calig. 25.) Many ancient writers mention a very popular song, Talasius or Talassio, which was sung at weddings (Plut. Quaest. Rom. 1. c.; Liv. i. 9 ; Dionys. Ant. Rom. ii. 31 ; Fest. s. v. Talassioneni) • but whether it was sung during the repast or during the procession is not quite clear, though we may infer from the story respecting the origin of the song, that it was sung while the procession was advancing towards the house of the husband.

It may easily be imagined that a solemnity like that of marriage did not take place among the merry and humorous Italians without a variety of jests and railleries, and Ovid (Fast. iii. 675) men­tions obscene songs which were sung before tha door of the bridal apartment by girls, after tho company had left. These songs were probablv the

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