Why did ancient Roman husbands give up their wives to other men?
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Marcia was 19 years old when her father married Marcus Porcius Cato Jr. Marcus Portius was divorced, having successfully exiled his first wife for some offense that we do not know for sure. Mark Cato was 15 years older than his second wife.
At first, the marriage seemed happy and very fruitful. The girl gave birth to Mark three or four children. Only the last failed. Like bad luck, Marcia was struck by lightning when she was pregnant.
The couple lived together for six years, and after Mark Cato ... gave in to his wife! Yes, she was also pregnant (probably before the lightning strike). In ancient Rome, such a divorce was not encouraged. Although, Livia Drusila, from a wealthy patrician house, divorced her first husband and married Octavian Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire. During the divorce from her first husband, Livia was in a position. Octavian Augustus soon adopted her two sons from her first marriage.
1. Hortensius Gortal laid eyes on Marcia. Coming from a plebeian family, Hortensius was able to become a politician and consul. He admired Mark Cato, trying to intermarry with him.
First, Hortensius asked Cato to temporarily provide him with a daughter, Portia. Portia was already married by then and had two children. Hortensius believed that as soon as Portia gave birth to an heir, he would return her back to her husband and father. Marcus Cato refused. And no wonder.
Then Hortensius decided to try his luck again and asked Mark Cato for permission to marry his second wife, Marcia. Cato asked for time to think. He consulted with his father-in-law. Test approved. Marcia's opinion was not asked. She was about 25 at the time.
Hortensius married Mary in the presence of her first husband. Soon the couple had a daughter. And then, just in time, after five years of marriage, Hortensius died. All his inheritance went to Marcia. Immediately after the funeral, Marcia asked Cato to marry her again. So that the good would not be lost in vain, Cato married, under a fallow: "ensuring the safety of common and other people's children."
2. Artist John William Godward
“Cato married Marcia, daughter of Philip when she was still very young; he was very attached to her and had children by her. However, Cato gave his wife to Hortense, one of his friends who wanted children but was married to a barren woman. After Marcia also gave him a son, Cato took her back to the house, as if he had borrowed her. Appiano "History of the Roman Empire".
Marcia was convicted for this? Not at all. On the contrary, she was considered a symbol of marital fidelity, because she returned to her first husband!
“Marcia returned from the widow to Cato, for it means she is a noble soul, once she returned to God. And what earthly person is worthy of having God in mind, if not Cato?
The marriage union between Cato and Marcia took place in accordance with the provisions of Roman law, which allowed a husband or father to lend his wife or daughter to another man for procreation. This practice was not uncommon, especially among the upper classes, and was not considered eccentric or uncomfortable. It was based on the idea that women of childbearing age were obligated to procreate in order to ensure the continuation of the upper classes.
Keywords: Roman husbands | Roman people | Traditions | Culture | Lifestyle | Wife | Marriage | Relationships | History | Historical facts
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