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Gordon Willis Williams and Mark Golden

Greek betrothal, ἐγγύη, was a contract between two men, the groom and the bride's father (or other κύριος, ‘controller’, male representative at law) which established that a union was a fully valid marriage. In Classical Athens, this contract was oral, more or less formulaic (judging from examples in *Menander (1)), aimed at assuring the legitimacy of children, and accompanied by an agreement concerning dowry; the bride herself need not be present, or even of an age to understand the proceedings, and the celebration of the marriage and cohabitation might be long delayed or in the end not take place (*Demosthenes (2)'s sister was betrothed at 5 to a man she never married). Marriages at Sparta too might involve betrothal; sources speak as well of another custom, abduction marriage (conceivably with the complicity of the bride and her family). Scattered references to betrothal in Hellenistic documents from a number of cities go some way towards confirming the suggestion that most Greeks practised ἐγγύη (Diod.


Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood

Ceremonies were not identical all over Greece. For example, at Sparta they included a mock abduction (Plut.Lyc. 15. 3). But they were shaped by largely similar perceptions about the ceremony and the deities concerned with it. Thus, *Artemis was concerned with the girl's transition to womanhood, *Hera, especially as Hera Teleia, with the institution of marriage, *Aphrodite with its erotic aspect. The evidence is more plentiful for Athens, where it includes images on vases, some of which (e.g. the loutrophoroi) were actually used in the wedding ceremony. What follows is centred on Athens. But the main elements were common to all; thus, the form of the preliminary *sacrifices and offerings may have varied from place to place, but such sacrifices and offerings were made everywhere. After a ritual bath, in water carried in loutrophoroi from a particular spring or river, in Athens *Callirrhoë, the bride and groom were dressed and (especially the bride) adorned.


D. M. MacDowell

Marriage in Greece was a process of transfer, by which the kyrios (‘lord’ or ‘controller’) of a woman (normally her father; if he had died, her nearest adult male relative) gave her away to another man for the procreation of children. Originally this was merely a private arrangement between the two men; but, because the procreation of children affected inheritance of property and membership of the community, cities made laws regulating marriage in order to define legitimacy for those purposes.In Athens a marriage was legal only if it began with engyē (see betrothal, Greek), a formal statement by the kyrios granting the woman to a husband. (A woman with no father or brother living could be awarded to a husband by the archon, see archontes.) The woman's own consent was not legally required. She could not be married to a direct ascendant or descendant, nor to her brother or half-brother by the same mother, but marriage to a half-brother by the same father or to an uncle or cousin was permitted. From 451/0 bce marriage between an Athenian and a foreigner was forbidden (see citizenship, Greek).



Sharon James

Only the rape of citizens was taken seriously by law. Sexual assaults on non-citizens were lesser matters. Rape of enslaved persons, a daily reality, was a crime only if committed by someone other than their owner. Rape of citizen males damaged their reputations; rape of citizen females could render them ineligible for marriage. Ancient myth features almost countless stories of rape, usually of human females by divine males. These tales were common subjects in ancient art and literature. Overwhelmingly, the victims are unmarried girls, who may suffer brutal treatment afterward and frequently bear miraculous offspring, some of whom establish cities (e.g., Romulus and Remus). Rape by human men is rarer in myth; rape of a wife causes massive militarized response (e.g., Helen of Troy, Lucretia). War-rape and post-war rape were standard practice around the Mediterranean.

Rape in antiquity was a matter of social and civic class. As a crime, it was understood as happening only to citizens: sexual assault of non-citizens was not a concern of law. The law took rape of citizens very seriously. Rape of citizen girls and women was a violation against the men who were responsible for them—father, husband, brother, guardian—but female victims would have experienced it as a personal violation first, rather than damage to their guardian’s ownership of their sexuality.