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date: 23 April 2024

marriage law, Romanlocked

marriage law, Romanlocked

  • Adolf Berger,
  • Barry Nicholas
  •  and Susan M. Treggiari


Traditional expressions enshrine the view that a man took a wife for the procreation of children. According to the celebrated definition of *Herennius Modestinus adopted in the Digest, Roman marriage was ‘a joining together of a man and a woman, and a partnership (for life) in all areas of life, a sharing in divine and human law’ (Dig. 23. 2. 1), an ideal rather than a legal definition. No formalities were legally necessary for the inception of a marriage: the usual ceremonies had social and sometimes religious significance. All that was legally necessary was for a man and woman to live together with the intention of forming a lasting union (affectio maritalis, the reciprocal attitude of regarding each other as husband or wife). The initial consent was also given by both partners; if one or both was in paternal power (*patria potestas) that of the respective fathers was needed. The social consequences of marriage (honor matrimonii) followed.


  • Gender Studies
  • Roman Law

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