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Close-Kin Marriage in Roman Society? Author(s): Brent D. Shaw and Richard P.

Saller Reviewed work(s): Source: Man, New Series, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Sep., 1984), pp. 432-444 Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland Stable URL: . Accessed: 02/11/2012 22:04
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University of Lethbridge

P. SALLER Swarthmore College

Patternsof endogamy and exogamy form a centralissue in the historyof the familyin Mediterranean of Professor lands. Contraryto the recentsuggestion J. Goody, thereis strong ofexogamyin thewestern evidenceforcontinuity ofthegeneral Romanempire from practice the pre-Christian period (firstthree centuriesafterChrist) to the era of the establishment of as thestatereligion.Despitelegalrulespermitting cousinmarriage in thepaganera, Christianity wererare as wereparallel-cousin paralleland cross-cousin marriages amongaristocrats, marriages of thewestern theChristian ban on marriages among modestinhabitants empire.Consequently, withinthe sixthdegreeof kinshiphad little impact.The dispersed pattern of property holding to marry withinthefamily offered no incentive to protect consolidated pagan aristocrats estates; their financial interests weremetby marriage within thesameclass. Finally, theChurch'sban on as partofan effort to disrupt transmission within endogamyshouldnotbe interpreted ofproperty no sucheffort was necessary becauseforcenturies thefamily: hadbeenusingthe paganaristocrats will to dispersetheirwealth widely. The Churchneed only have replacedtheemperoras the of thesewillsin orderto enrich itself. principal institutional beneficiary

The issue ofendogamyin Roman society has recently beenraisedin thecontext of argumentsrelatingto the historicaldevelopmentof westernEuropean in theRomanworld, of'in-marriage' did existvariousforms society.That there no modernhistorian of the period would dispute.Most historians agree that withinvillageor ethnic unitsand, above all, within social classesand marriages status groups, were common in the communitiesthat constituted Roman threecenturies of our era. So too, therealso seems to have societyof thefirst andideologicallinesin theChristian beensome effective endogamy alongethnic communities of the mid and laterempire(e.g. withinChristiangroups and 1But endogamy in the individual Christian Jewish groupsor evenwithin sects). hasneverstruck historians ofRoman society precisesenseofclose-kin marriage formation as a characteristic ofRomanfamily (WeissI908). Recently, however, andmarriage Professor book Thedevelopment Goody, in a stimulating ofthefamily in Europe (I983), has identified endogamy of this type as a (perhaps the) of theancient Mediterranean fundamental characteristic of thesocial structure -a commonfoundation that was irrevocably ofancient society changedby the after impactof Christian ideology and practicefromthe earlyfoturth century Christonwards.2 Churchin theWestimposeda Put briefly, is thattheChristian Goody's thesis
Man (N.S.) 19, 432-44



numberof novel ideological tenetson social practice,impositionsthatfunalteredthestructure of thefamily. a whole rangeof damentally By restricting heirship strategies and ancillary cousinmarriage, practices, including adoption, remarriage, and concubinage, theChurchbrought about a radicalreformation of familylife in westernEuropean society. In fact,Goody interprets these a turning Christian innovations as forming of thefamily pointin thehistory in the West: before A.D. 300 the social structure found in most circumMediterranean lands was relatively homogeneous,withkin-endogamy being A.D. 300, followingupon theimpactof Christian common; after ideologyas espoused by a formally instituted ecclesiastical of power, thesocial continuity the old Mediterranean and near Eastern world was ruptured.The Church alteredtraditional of kinshipand heirship(in its own successfully patterns proprietorial interests) by requiring marriages to be made outsidea widercircle ofpersonal thanbefore, relations cousinmarriages and bylabelling 'incestuous', even eliminating, by discouraging, otherheirship such as adoption strategies, and remarriage on 4-5, 7, 9, (Goody I983: ch. 2, 6-33; cf. specific statements 3 I-33, 36, 39 etc.). In Goody's view this new exogamousmarriage is the pattern critical of differentiation between point traditional Mediterranean before society A.D. 300 and the westernEuropean societythatdeveloped in the medieval period. Under pressurefrom the Church's broadened incest prohibitions, close-kinmarriage, in particular thatofparallelcousins,disappears as a characteristic of theEuropeanfamily (Goody I983: 32 sq., 36, 39). ofthisexogamouspattern Goody makesthecase forthenovelty on thebasis of a few scattered references and a changein theformallaw by a late literary Christian emperorwhichprohibited hitherto legal marriages betweencousins (Goody I983: SI-5).' The purposeofthisarticle is to show thata central thread of Goody's thesis-that systematic in the kinshipendogamywas customary western Roman empirebeforetheestablishment of Christianity as theofficial religion-does not bear close scrutiny of the historical evidence.Further, we contendthatsome of therelatedarguments thatdependcloselyon thisthesis, such as thatregarding the Church and property, must also be broughtinto question. Thereis no doubt thatmarriage betweencousinswas not onlylegal but also carried no social stigmain Roman society ofthelateRepublicand earlyempire. Cicero in his famous,bitter attackon his enemyAntonymakes reference to Antony'smarriage to his father's brother's daughter.4 Ifhe had beenable to use thismarriage to castaspersions on Antony'scharacter, he certainly would have done so. But theonly criticism made in regardto themarriage is thatAntony brokeit off by divorce.Clearly,in pre-Christian Rome, marriage betweenfirst cousinsor more distant kin (withinthesixthdegreeof relationship) was both legally and socially acceptable.It is equally clear thatthe ChristianChurch changedtheruleby legallydefining theincest prohibition to includekinrelated within theseventh degree.5 In a discussion ofpatterns ofproperty transmission, however, the vital question concernsnot the legal rules,but customary behaviour:the Church would have been disrupting traditional linesof property transmission only if kin endogamy had been common practicebefore its suppression by theChurchin thelatefourth century. Was thisthecase?



sourcesfrom in ourliterary Tacitusgivesus theonlyindication The historian It were frequent. Christthatclose-kinmarriages after thefirst threecenturies marriage, ofuncle-niece debateoverthelegality ofa senatorial comesin a report value:they arepartofa highly beliestheir truth butthecontext ofthecomments Vitellius.In an courtier tendentious speechputin themouthofthesycophantic Claudius's proposedmarriage to persuadethesenatethattheemperor attempt pointsout as an on as incestuous, Vitellius to hisnieceoughtnot to be frowned incestuous, has become common. once thought analogythatcousinmarriage, in evidencebecauseotherstatements This commentcannotbe takenas reliable to show up Vitellius's thisspeechare plainlydubious, partof Tacitus's effort evidence,then,does notprovidea reliableguide The meagreliterary falseness. 6 marriage. to thefrequency of close-kin the By comparisonwith the data usually reliedon by ancienthistorians, quantitativeevidence for evaluatingthe prevalenceof close-kin marriage, is very good; indeed, in our view it is though not withoutits limitations, conclusive. While cross-cousinmarriagecannot always be detectedin our notsuch, marriages, or rather thosewhicharecertainly records, parallel-cousin Sons and ofnomenclature. becauseoftheRoman system can easilybe identified 7 fathers. name)oftheir (the'clan' orgens nearly alwaystookthenomen daughters will have the brothers Women kept thisname after marriage.Consequently, and so husbandand wifein a parallel-cousin same nomen, as will their children, Saturninus will mostoften sharea commonname(e.g. a MarcusJulius marriage is no guarantee ofa parallel-cousin married . A shared nomen, however, to aJulia) Husband and of thepossibility of sucha marriage. only an indicator marriage, wifecould have the same name fora numberof otherreasons,thetwo most assumed Slaves upon manumission common of which are worthelaborating. master herformer who married (not oftheir master. So a freedwoman thenomen a fellow who married uncommonamong thelower orders)or a freedwoman would have master (an evenmorecommonoccurrence) freedman ofherformer as herhusbandeven thoughtheywereunrelated by blood.8 To thesame nomen our samples thatwould be causedby 'contaminating' circumvent theconfusion all marriages our surveys from of thistypewe have eliminated withmarriages itis impossible a freedman or a freedwoman.9 Despitethisprecaution, including thembecause the customof freedmen identifying to eliminateall freedmen inallparts oftheempire followed and,infact, selvesas suchwas notconsistently Christ. after it graduallydied out as a common practice by the thirdcentury Anotherway in which personsunrelated by blood came to sharea common areasofthe ofRoman citizenship to conquered namewas through theextension of the emperoror Roman empire. The new citizensoftentook the nomen in to thecommunity ofcitizenship forthegrant aristocrat who was responsible which theylived. Thus in areas whereJuliusCaesar or Augustusextended or Iuliusis verycommonand does notnecessarily thename (nomen) citizenship In short,a surveyof about kinshipof thepersonsbearingit.10 implyanything ofhusbandand wifeis nomen based on shared marriages possibleparallel-cousin ofsuchmarriages. theactualproportion bound to overestimate considerably to is sufficient forthe senatorial Our genealogicalinformation aristocracy cross-cousin ofparallel-cousin, at some idea of thefrequency allow us to arrive



and, more generally, intra-gens marriage.The multi-volume Prosopographia Imperii Romani(PIR) offers a catalogueof all known membersof theimperial aristocracy of thefirst three centuries after Christ.For mostof theentries little information about theman's or woman's family is available.For a fewfamilies, however, extended familytrees can be constructed. From these stemmata close-kin marriages, particularly parallel-cousin marriages, can be detected. As a sample we used the six extendedstemmata of volume one of PIR (second theAemiliiLepidi,the edition).These stemmata (thoseoftheAciliiGlabriones, Anni Veri, the ArriiAntonini,theAureliiand the CalpurniiPisones) include thirty-three marriages, excludingthoseof emperors, distributed fairly evenly theAugustanage to theearlythird after Christ.Among overtimefrom century the thirty-three marriagesthereis not one betweencousins relatedwithina legally recogniseddegree. There is only one marriagebetween a man and AemiliaLepida and MamercusAemiliusScaurus(who woman ofthesamegens, was consul in A.D. 2I). Since theirlineagesin the Aemilian clan had been the marriage distinct forwell over a century, hardlyqualifiesas an example ofendogamy. a different Another body of data readily to handfrom studyyieldsmuchthe same conclusion regardingparallel-cousin marriage.One hundredand ten areknown oftheRoman state, theconsulship, holdersofthehighest magistracy after Christ(a periodchosen fromthefirst two decades of thesecond century inthesenatorial Fourteen arerecorded families exempligratia). marriages ofthese office holders,in onlyone of whichdo husbandand wifehave thesame nomen But this singular (Iulius), indicatingthat they might be parallel-cousins.11 example involves a familyfromthe Greek east where the name Juliuswas 12 A stemmaof the wife's family pervasiveamong the local elites. shows no knownpriorblood relationship withherhusband'sfamily. Our samplescould be enlargedand thesurveyextended, but it seemspointless to do so when the evidenceagainstendogamy is so decisiveforthearistocracy oftheearlyempire. in the century remainstrueof the aristocracy after Much the same pattern A.D. 300, after as thestatereligion theformal entrenchment ofChristianity but of thenew incestrules.For thisperioda body of material beforetheinstitution comparableto thatassembledfortheearlyempireis availablein thefirst two Roman volumes of Theprosopography ofthelater Empire. Here we were able to checkthestemmata of sevenof themoreimportant aristocratic families of the that ofthefirst Christian Constantine time,including emperor, (as well as those of theAnicii,of Ausonius,of theCeionii Rufii,theFlavii,thePetronii and the 13Thereare morethanfifty in thisgroup(about attested Symmachi). marriages fiveofthesebeingtoo conjectural forourpurposes).Out ofthesethere areagain no examplesofparallel-cousin marriage and,outsidethefamily ofConstantine, to only one possible case of a cross-cousin marriage.14 Goody is quite correct ofConstantine contains three pointout thatthefamily examplesofthechildren a half-brother's of a brother children-a fourth case ifthesubsequent marrying marriageof Helena to Julianis counted(Goody I983: 53). But to claim such as paradigmatic in thesociety ofmarriage atlargeis to hold a marriages patterns in theextreme. positionthatis misleading First,such marriageswere not common even withinConstantine'sown





family(threeout of fifteen attested cases) and second, theyare almostwholly aberrant when set againstthe dominantpatterns attestedfor the restof the Roman aristocracy of the time (no certaincase). Ironically,given Goody's hypothesis, theseendogamousmarriages were occurring in theonlyChristian aristocratic family of the periodtestedand were in the family of theemperor setof legislation who passed thesinglemostrepressive on marriage and sexual In all the other relationsof the whole period (Barnes I98I: 52-3, 2I9-20).15 aristocratic families, overwhelmingly paganinbackground, where,on Goody's hypothesis, old endogamyoughtto have been mostapparent, marriages seem to have been exogamous in kinterms.Thus, themosteconomicalexplanation fortheunique and aberrant behaviourin Constantine's family would seem to in a strong tradition of endogamyin Roman society be, not anycontinuity but seemsto suggest,thepolitical rather, as Goody himself exigencies ofmaintaining central imperialpower in the earlyfourth century (Goody I983: 55). The Roman aristocracy of thefourth century, therefore, does not seem to manifest different withregardto intra-clan any significantly pattern marriage fromthat of theearlyempire. of thearistocracy In fact,one of thecharacteristic features of Roman imperialsocial history is ofold senatorial families and theconcomitant therapiddisappearance into entry thearistocracy of new families fromoutsideRome, at first from Italyand then fromtheprovincial regionsof theempire.Of thethirty-nine patrician families known fromA.D. 70-II7, for example, twenty-two do not appear in our recordsagain afterA.D. II7, and most of the remaining seventeenfamilies disappear afterthe next generation.16 Given this rate of flux in the social compositionof the aristocracy, endogamywas simplynot possible on any scale. Rather, in orderto tiethenew provincial families intotheold significant elementin the processby aristocratic networks,exogamy was an important cultural whichnew blood from distant intoRome without groupswas brought senatorialculture.17 As remarked markedlychangingthe face of traditional feature of the Roman aristocracy both above, exogamy remainsa consistent A.D. 300. beforeand after inthesocialstrata thehypothesis below the To test ofparallel-cousin marriage 18 can be exploited. eliteanother typeof evidence,thatof funerary inscriptions, Many Romans of modest means erectedtombstonesto theirdeceased kin, in theepitaphthenamesof thedeceasedand of thecommemorator, recording withtheir thatof husbandand wife.Most of together relationship, veryoften thesetombstones are memorialsforpeople who were below thelocal elitein In terms social status(i.e., below the'leisuredclass') and above thepauperised. of geography,samples of epitaphswith the necessarydata in them can be gatheredfrommost of the urbanisedareas of the westernempirethatcame We have taken samples of husband-wife under Roman culturalinfluences. dedicationswhich include theirnames fromnorthern Italy,southern France, Noricum (roughlymodernAustria)on the upperDanube, Spain and North Africa.19 The table presentsthe data necessaryfor the 'same name test' for possibleparallelcousinmarriages. in any was notwidelypractised The tableshows that parallel-cousin marriage thatthefigures of theseareas. It mustbe remembered considerably exaggerate




Proportion of Husbands and Wives with Same Nomen in the Western Provinces. Husband andwife with same nomen % 8
12 20

Region Northern Italy Southern France Noricum Spain NorthAfrica Officers Military Footsoldiers Civilians

25 25 25

71 I 13

IO 7


Franceand Noricum In thecases ofnorthern Italy,southern a sample of the first25 cases was taken; larger control sampleswere takenfromSpain and NorthAfricabased on largerdata sets thatwere alreadyprocessed. The data for fort and town theRomanlegionary NorthAfrica come from allow a breakdown ofLambaesis,and therefore (municipium) and civilianelements in local society. of military

the actual proportionof such marriages.Two of the threenames sharedby a name whichis France,forexample,areJulius, husbandand wifein southern be theprovince andwhichwould notnormally extremely commonthroughout a blood relationship.20 The North takenby prosopographers to demonstrate at Lambaesis, African Among thearmyofficers cases followthesame pattern. out of six possibleparallel-cousin thenomina foundincludeAurelius marriages, assumedby new citizen (i), Claudius (i), and lulius (3), all names commonly families; among theservingsoldiers,out of fivepossiblecases all are Iulii. The cases,eleven out ofthirteen civilian populaceofthetownshows thesametrend: are nomina (one Aelius,two Aurelii,eightIulii).2"In theseprovinof emperors cial areas,then,it seemsmostlikelythatveryfew,ifany,of these'same name' marriage. Only SpainandNoricumoffer to parallel-cousin casesareattributable In the samplesfromtheseareas we foundsufficient a more complex pattern. in nomina so thatthesame name is morelikelyto indicatea parallelvariation ofsuchcasesdoes notrisemuch But evenheretheproportion cousinmarriage.22 above ten per cent. of all marriages-hardlyan indicationof a widespread no comparabledata are custom of parallel-cousin marriage.Unfortunately, marriage at this levelof cross-cousin availableto testthehypothesis ofprevalent thesocialhierarchy. But thearistocracy, above, is themostsignificant surveyed social group forthisstudyin any case, since the acquisitionof richeswas, in ofincestprohibitions. Goody's view, thegoal of theChurchin itsextension We may now ask why close-kinmarriagedoes not seem to have been in ancient elsewhere empire,when it was practised widespreadin the Western Eurasian societies. No evidence is available to answer the question for the for thearistocracy, it is clearthattherationale commonpeople, but,regarding Y. Thomas (I980), is by Goody, and a Roman historian, endogamyoffered de simplynot relevantin the Roman context.Thomas writes:'La recherche a pu constituer un moyenpourretarder le depart de la terre. mariages"internes"



Un mariageentreenfants de freres (patrueles) presentait I'avantaged'eviterles fraisde la dot, de rassembler le mince heritage,et de resserrer la solidarite no seriousevidencein supportof this lignagere'(I980: 349).23 But he offers claim.In fact, thearguments advancedbyThomas reflect a misunderstanding of thenature ofRoman dowriesand ofpatterns ofRomanproperty holding.Both requirebrief elucidation. Roman dowries were normallyrelatively modest and did not, as a rule, comprise the bulk of the woman's share of the patrimony.24 Under many circumstances thedowrywentbackto thewoman or to hersideofthefamily on dissolutionof the marriage.In the Roman partibleinheritance system,as revealedin thelaws ofintestate succession, daughters werethought to deserve a fullshareofthepatrimony, and consequently thewife'sinheritance was likely to be more importantthan her dowry. The wife held her inherited property independently of herhusbandand could bequeathit to whomevershe wished (usually her children,we would suppose). This is the aspect of 'diverging devolution' on which the discussion about marriagestrategiesshould be focused.Here thedesireto avoid theflowofwealthout ofthefamily patrimony is a good reasonforselecting a marriage partner fromthesame social class,but notnecessarily from amongclosekin.A family lineendsup nonethepoorerifit marries offa daughter intoanother and loses herdowryand inheritance, family in a wifewithcomparable providedthat itbrings wealthfrom another family.25 Parallel-cousin marriage does make sense as a strategy to prevent fragmentation ofa consolidated estate.Roman aristocrats, did family however,patently not hold estatesof thiskind.26 The youngerPliny,forinstance, felta special attachment to his familyfarmat Comum, but also owned othersubstantial in thesame regionand in Umbriawhichhe was prepared estates to buyand sell as theneed aroseor as theopportunity itself. Much thesame appears presented ofthedistribution ofproperty andwillingness to alienate to be true of largeparts ofthelaterempire, as can be seenfrom it among thearistocracy ourknowledge and theyounger of theholdingsof Petronius Probus,Ausonius,Symmachus, Melania (Jones i964:11.782 sq.). Indeed, except for actions stemmingfrom attachedto the 'home estate'or the 'ancestral personalsentiments farm',the of dispersed of landedproperty otherthanthe pattern holdingsand alienation of all old familyfarmappearsto have been typicalof the Roman aristocracy In a contextsuch as this,therewas no reason to develop historical periods.27 to protect theunity ofthewhole ofthelandedproperty of a marriage strategies family.But we need not relyonly on our notionsof what makessensein the Roman context: letters of Cicero and Plinyconcerning marriage arrangements exist. The criteria of wealthand honourof thepotential spouse appearrepeatnorarethesuggested mates edlyin them,but not a word is said aboutkinship, intended related to their spouses.28 an extended In sum, whentheChurchmoved to formalise incestprohibition in the fourth it was not actingto disrupta widespreadpracticeof century, in his close-kinendogamyin the westernRoman empire.In fact,Augustine, of theincestrule, therecent extension discussionin the CityofGod concerning thatmarriagebetween clearlyindicatesthe opposite. He statescategorically well before cousinsalwayshad beenraro permores ('rarein customary practice'),



Nor did the Church need to alter the impositionof the new prohibitions.29 lifein anyfundamental as Goody suggests.30 family way in orderto enrich itself, Long beforeA.D. 300 Roman kinshipmores,particularly the extraordinarily wide dispersionof property through written wills (a factor surelyunderestimatedby Goody) had allowed emperorsto accumulateproperty holdingsof to themby thewealthy.The first staggering proportions through bequestsleft emperor, Augustus,claimedin hiswill to have receivedI,400,000,000 sesterces of his friends fromthetestaments thelasttwenty The during yearsofhislife.3" Church need only have replaced or partiallyreplaced the emperoras the andredistribution ofwealththat ofthegreat a was already beneficiary dispersion of Roman societyin theearlyempire. distinctive feature The centralpolitical power of the Church and its social position surely we can see in theperiod.Goody accountformostof theprocessofenrichment themassivegifts mentions, thoughonlyin passing(I983: 98, in one sentence), by Constantine (who had manyheirsat thetime)to theChurch,whichmadeit in theRoman world.32 at a singlestrokeone of therichest organisations And, whereasit is true thatit became a common practiceforpeople to include a intheir wills(GoodyI983: 98, fromJones tothe Church bequest I964:11.895), a had alreadybeen customary undertheRoman emperors similar when practice as one oftheheirs ifonlyto includetheemperor or legatees, people would often protectthe devolutionof theirproperty (Millar I977: I55). Indeed,as Goody transfers at death.In thisrespect, recorder of wills and of property it can be no coincidencethatthe practiceof includingthe Roman emperoras co-heiror legatee in wills seems to die out by the end of the thirdcentury, just as the Churchwas becomingformally instituted as a stateorganisation (Millar I977:

ineffect as a guarantor himself notes(I983: I03-5, i i i), theChurch acted and

Ifwe consider one ofthebestdocumented casesoftheacquisition ofproperty by the Churchin theperiod of thelaterempire,thatof theyoungerMelania (Gorce I962), a complex situationemerges.Melania, a very wealthyyoung woman of senatorial to dispose of vast tracts of herproperty rank,attempted and other more liquid formsof wealth in donationsto the Church for the in northAfricaand Palestine. founding, among otherthings,of monasteries had an influence on thedisposition Christian of hervast ideologyundoubtedly wealth:Melania at age twenty withher agreedto live a lifeof sexualabstinence husband Pinianus,aftertheirtwo children died in infancy. But it is entirely unclearhow muchtheclosureofany'strategies ofheirship' thiscase. influenced in massivebequeststo theChurchdid That she choseto disposeofherproperty not follow solely froma new configuration of family and marriage practices. did foreclose thepossibility of child-heirs, Althougha lifeof continence there were collateral membersof thefamily who could receivetheproperty and, in herhusband'sbrother ValeriusSeverusmanagedto acquirea greatdeal of fact, We mustalso bear in mindthat just as theChurchbegan to impose certain on marriageand, by implication, legal restrictions on certainaspectsof traditional heirship,new avenues of devolving property were opening up in For example,thelaws ofVisigothic compensation. Spain,unlikeearlier Roman



inter law, allowed donationes coniuges ('gifts betweenhusbandand wife')thereby lateraltransfers of wealththathad previously permitting been forbidden (King I972: 236). It is true that the ideology of chastity, virginity and continence connectedwith the othersexual and kinshippatterns Goody discussescould with which he is concerned work againstcertaintypesof heirship strategies theability of thewritten will to make (thoughagain he surelyunderestimates beforethe deathof the principal).But theydid not alternative arrangements a plannedtransmission ofproperty actagainst from one generation to uniformly of estates the next. Given the Roman legal expectationof equal partibility forexample,theinstitution of themonastery among surviving children, and, above all, the conventgave greatscope to wealthyand middlingfamilies for It was an institution 'disposing' of surplussons and especiallydaughters. that in Old BabylonianMesopotamia(HarrisI963; I964). alreadyhad counterp4rts in the laterRoman period,just as in Old We hear of many wealthyfamilies in cloisters in orderto preserve BabylonianSippar,placingtheir daughters the offamily andto avoid theexpenses, size andunity inheritances, howeverminor, of dowry. The connexionis notedin a Novelissuedby theChristian emperor Majorian in A.D. 458, who enacted a series of laws encouragingmarriage of widows. Majorian expresses and theremarriage among Roman aristocrats, whichhe specifically relates to thenumber ofa shortage ofchildren ofgirls fears of heirship thatpersisted beingplaced in convents.It was an effective strategy Christianmedieval Europe, the abandonmentof which was to throughout have significantconsequences for aristocraticfortunesin early modern of thisarticle leave theextension ofincest The basic conclusions prohibitions Theodosiusunexplained. the We can onlysuggestthatit legislated by emperor its meaningin thecontextof thewhole of thesexual and is better to interpret enacted from Constantine marriage legislation by Christian emperors onwards, of all for the enactment this that lies and the explanation imperiallegislation and sexuality thanin thatof morein therealmof Christian ideologyof family Whatever their these laws no morereflect property ownership. precise meaning, than realand current practice amongthegeneral populaceofthewestern empire on thevery do the avalancheof moralpreachings by theearlyChurchfathers thatconstituted Roman societyin the West same subject. The communities of close-kin were not characterised by any special type endogamy,and the institution of Christianity as the actionsand legislation provokedby theformal in the state religion afterA.D. 300 did not revolutionise familystructure Westin theways arguedby Goody. Latin-speaking


ProfessorsJohn StevePiker,Mr GabrielHerman,Dr Crook, SirMoses Finley, We wishto thank comments on thisarticle. helpful PeterLaslettand Dr RichardSmithforproviding and theenactments of Roman authors, 1 Both theprohibitions preachedby patristic frequently as regards intermarriage withJews).But (especially law on thesubject,musthave had some effect and 'pagans') are frequently alludedto by thefactthat'mixed marriages'(i.e. betweenChristians musthavebeena commonoccurrence shows that in spite from Tertullian to Augustine they authors to 'ideologicalendogamy'. ofinjunctions



2 to the earlymedieval fromantiquity in social structure of this shift Goody's interpretation scholars; see Duby (I963) who finds period is already winning adherentsamong influential connexions withtheideas ofPaul Veyneon Roman sexualbehaviour. to show thatexogamywas not 3 Partof Goody's discussion(I983: 5i) about Rome is designed requiredin earlyRome before200 B.C. We agree with him thatthe evidenceforthisperiod is after is on thefirst Our focusin thisarticle fourcenturies itbestto admitignorance. flimsy and think Christ. 4 Cicero, Second Philippic 99. Theodosiusin pseudo-Aurelius to thelatefourth-century Victor, 5 The law is attributed emperor 60.8. Epitome oftheCaesars48.10 and Ambrose,Letters 6 Tacitus,AnnalsI2.5-6. Goody I983: 5I recognises thedubiousvalueofthispassage,butlimits the scope of his doubt to Vitellius's claim that cousin marriagehad once been prohibitedin Rome. 7 There were some exceptionsto thisrule, but theywere so rarethatour case would not be if we could identify them (e.g. sometimesdaughters could bear the mother's seriouslyaffected

of thesame nomen See Weaver (I972:2I-4I, by freedwives, I29-32, I48-53) forthesharing on in provincial areas of theempire,theseconditions are rarely specified husbands,and children; stone(CIL 8, 34I7, is an exception). were a prominent elementin thewhole 9 Hence the cityof Rome, whereslaves and freedmen could notbe used forthisveryreason;see Rawson (I966). population, Sherwin-White (I973:29I, 294 sq. and 308). 1 Julius ofA.D. I05, C. AntiusA. oftheconsul ordinarius Frontowas married toJulia Polla, sister JuliusQuadratus(PIR2 I. 507). 12 Sherwin-White (I973: 308). 13 Joneset al. (I97I: II33-46), stemmata nos. 2 (cf.3-5), 7-8, I3, I6, 24 and 27. 14 That of C. Ceionius Rufussigno of the Lampadiusand Caecina Lolliana,ifthereconstruction treein PLRE is correct. family 15 As Barnes (I98I: 52) emphasises, thetendency of thissinglesetof legislation is thecomplete opposite of the Augustanlaws on marriageand familywhich had been leftunrevisedforthree Insteadofrewarding andpromoting theproduction ofprogeny, thelaw now setvirginity centuries. deserving of and celibacyabove themarried state;and thosewho werecelibatewerenow thought admiration rather thanpenalties. The neteffect ofthenew and brutal legislation was, as Barneshas

cf.CIL 2.I., nomen,

987, 97I, I099).

to notehere,however,is that I98I: 2I9 who citescasesin MatthewsI975: 56 sq.). Whatis important rather thanworsened, theproperty theConstantinian control ofsuch legislation actually improved, on theunmarried and childless ofeither removedall restrictions sex to receive persons;Constantine Code 8. i6. i, AD. 32I). On Christian and inheritances influences on late gifts (see the Theodosian Roman marriage see Wolff legislation (I950). 16 Hammond (I957:75); treatment for a more sophisticated of this phenomenonsee now Hopkins (i 983: 3I-200). 17 Saller(I982: I35); patronage, in thesamechapter, discussed means important suppliedanother forrecuitment and enculturation of provincials. 18 We have used thisevidenceelsewhere, Saller& Shaw (in press)and Shaw (in press),to show the primacyof the conjugal family and the weaknessof more distant kinshipbonds in the whole in the westernempire,and certainly beforeits formal period beforethe advent of Christianity institution as stateideologyafter A.D. 300, paceGoody (I983: I56, 2II). 19 The inscriptions on whichthistableis based can be foundin theCorpus Latinarum Inscriptionum (CIL), volumes 5.2, I2, 3.2, 2.I, and 8.i-supplement.i. 20 CIL I2.288 and 328.
21 2903,

noted, that '. . . it rendered criminal thenormalbehaviourof many Roman aristocrats. . . .' (Barnes

22 The 'same name' marriages in Spain includeAelius (i), Avitus(i), Cominus (i), Curius (i), Fabius (?i), Iulii (2), Licinius(i), and a Valerius(i). See CIL 2.I, 2I0, 29I, 39I, 442, 5II, 524, 564, fromNoricum,two have common names 748, 789, I350 (?). Of the fivesharednomen marriages

(servile?), 3493, 3664, 3702, 3734, 3739, 3742, 3750, 3769, 38o6.

For the'same name' cases from Lambaesisin NorthAfrica, see CIL 8, 2826, 2843, 2895, 2896, I83I4 (officers); 3I33, 314I, 3I58, 3I60, 3I67 (soldiers);3346, 3366, 346I (servile?),3464



Caiantiusand Aterius)whichmore have unusualnames(Votticus, (Julius and Aelius), whilethree marriage (CIL 3.47I7, 4735, 4755,4874, 488i). strongly suggestclose-kin 23 Y. Thomas (i980: 349); Goody (i983: 3I sq.). Thomas and Goody claim thatsome of their wifein were motivated by thislogic. The parallel-cousin Roman examplesof close-kinmarriage The husbandin Plutarch, no dowrywithher'to keepin thefamily'. Livy 42.34, however,brought Moralia265D was poor and marriedhis cousin heiress-an instanceof the well-knownRoman for in the family, rather thanan attempt to keep the property phenomenonof heiress-hunting, whichthere is no otherevidence. 24 Saller(inpress).These remarks two and a half applyto dowriesoftheclassicalperiod(thefirst in the centuries after Christ;forthelaw see J.A. C. Thomas (I976: 428-3 I). Y. Thomas's statement parallel-cousin) textis made forearlyRome, buthe believesthatclose-kin(thoughnotnecessarily to dowryand property. Traditional conditions in provincial marriage continued forreasonsrelated to ofan imposedRoman legalsystem aredifficult below thesurface areasthatmayhave persevered certain local legal and discover.The Visigothiclaw codes of Spain, however,do seem to reflect as distinct Roman ones, and yettheytoo revealthesame general fromcentral customary practices to dowry. Dowries werelimited by law to a maximumof tenper cent.of all importance attached allowed fortheveryrich). a man owned or stood to inherit (withsome minorexceptions property over thedosthanover any otherproperty thewife And the husbandexercisedno more authority or acquiredduring it (King I972:226-7, 236-7). intothemarriage, brought 25 Goody (i983: 32) acknowledges thisargument. 26 Finley(I 973: I I 2).
27 J. Crook and E. Rawson on thechapters by R. P. Duncan-Jones, Finley(I976), in particular Cicero. See Duncan-Jones Pliny'sestates. Treggiari (I979) adds some (i982: I7-32) on theyounger to Rawson's arguments on property, on thesentimental attachespecially important qualifications affect thesubstance ofherclaims. mentto thepaternal home, butdoes nototherwise 28 Cicero, Letters toAtticus, by 5.4. I, 6. I. IO, 6.4.2, 6.6. I, 7.3. I2, to be readwiththecommentary I. IO, I. I4, 3. I I, and6.26. Letters, Shackleton-Bailey (i968). Pliny, 29 Augustine, City of God, I5.i6. The pagan emperor of the mid-fourth Julian, century, ofhisChristian forthecousinmarriage predecessor (Orations 228). expressed his distaste 'a dramatic shift fromclose to distant as a 30 See Goody (i983: 46) wherehe suggests marriage' itself. It is truethatGoody hereadmitsthat forthesake of enriching result of Churchintervention the Church's accumulationof propertymay have been the 'consequence if not always [the] was no scriptural butthelogicofhisargument that there intention' ofitsnew rulesaboutthefamily, as the primary accumulation or ethicalrationaleforthe changes(p. 84) strongly property implies in post-classical law treatment ofthechanges to providea systematic family motivation. Goody fails in order to show thattheyworked on the whole to directa flow of under Christianinfluence and intotheChurch.He alludesto a majorchangein theRoman law of property out of thefamily withdrawn as a adoptionin theChristian period(i983: 72) and impliesthatadoptionwas gradually of But he neglects to say thatthenature linewithitspatrimony. thefamily forcontinuing strategy was to makeadoptioneasierandhe does not thechangeunderthepious Christian emperorJustinian timeU. A. C. allowed women to adoptforthefirst emperors explainwhy, in his view, Christian ofan age-gapbetween Thomas I975: 39 sq.). The requirement adoptorandadoptee,citedbyGoody as of Christianity of adoption,precededtheestablishment as an aspectof theincreasing difficulty new rulesregarding statereligion(J.A. C. Thomas I975: 39). If anything, adoption Justinian's outofthe and thusworkedto lessentheflowofproperty ofsuccession theadoptee'srights protected of siblings' and intotheChurch,as did some of his otherlegal changes:e.g., theextension family andan increase in theproportion of to relatives to complainabouta willnotgivingdue regard rights that hischildren could claimas a right estate thefather's (Thomas I975: 39; Moyle I9I2: I39, 280-I). The disappearance of adoptionin the West duringthe medievalperiodmay requireexplanation, is hardly influence' sufficient. shows, 'Christian but,as theworkofthepiousJustinian 31 Suetonius,LifeofAugustus IOI; see Millar (I977: I s3sqq.) and Saller (I982: 7I sqq., I24 sq.). The figure timestheannualsalary ofa legionary soldier)hasbeendoubtedas (morethantwo million Studies 68 (I978) I84), butitis defensible on two grounds: unrealistic ofRoman (K. Hopkins, Journal fromhis private (i) documentsshow thatAugustus gave away almost twice thatsum in gifts could hope to accumulate fortunes of estate-the fundshad to come fromsomewhere;(2) senators tens or hundredsof millionsfrombequests-that the emperorshould receiveten timesmore is



entirely reasonable.See Hopkins (i983: 237, n. 48), noting thatCicero boastedofhavingreceived at in bequests-and thesenator Mark Antonya verymuchgreater least20 millionsesterces sum than this(Cicero-Philippics,2.40). 32 On themagnitude and sourcesoftheChurch'swealthin thefirst centuries after itsinstitution as state religionsee Jones (i964:I1.894-920; on Constantine'sbequests see p. 895). WhatJones is thedegreeto whichtheChurchquicklybecamean economicpowerin itsown right, emphasises in the thatallowed it to win out over othercompetitors enjoyingmassivefiscaland tax privileges that acquisitionof land and otherproperty. Jones(i964: II.904) sees imperial donations, especially theChurchintoa wealthy as thesinglefactor thattransformed institution. by Constantine, 3 Not only her brother-in-law, but manyothersenators who claimedkinship(parentela) with in to claimparts oftheestate: see Gorce(i962: I.9-I2, I9-20) withreference heralso rushed to earlier on her familysee Joneset al. (I97I: 593 and stemma20, II42); a good editionsand literature; of dispersing herwealthcan be foundin Allard narrative accountof thelifeand thesheerdifficulty (I907). thewholeofthesetoflaws is wellworth 34 Novels ofMajorian 6, esp. 6.I and 6.3, though reading; cf. Stone (I979) 38. 35 In hissearch fora clearturning pointaroundA.D. 300, Goody (i983: 85) againsmisrepresents thefourth in his claimthat'The Fathers oftheChurchwriting before to thefacts havelittle century and the family, whichbecome topicsof importance say on the subjectof marriage only after the of the Church'. To take only one example, conversionof the Empire, and the establishment Tertullian, who was writing c. A. D. 200, composedhalf a dozentreatises directly relevant to family in substance whicharesimilar to thewritings ofAugustine on thesame subjects(e.g. and marriage later. In this, as in otherideas relatingto family, monogamous marriage)over two centuries was no profound in Christian after and sex, there a marriage rupture thinking A.D. 300, butrather in themainthemesdevelopedby thefaith's strong continuity leadingideologues.

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