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Compare and contrast Roman weddings with weddings today.

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Chloe Bell February 2000 Compare and contrast Roman weddings with weddings today In some ways Roman weddings were the same as weddings today, but there were some differences. For example, in Roman times a boy could marry from the age of fourteen onwards and girls could marry when they were twelve years old. Whereas today, both boys and girls can get married at sixteen with parental consent or at eighteen, not needing the consent of parents. The general age today though is that woman get married in their mid-twenties and men in their late twenties. This is generally due to controlled childbirth methods and further education. Many Roman marriages were arranged by the parents of the couple, but occasionally it was love at first sight. When the marriages were arranged the parents of the girl would make sure the boy had a healthy complexion, money, that he was hard-working, had good looks and was from a good, wealthy family. Today, parents do not tend to arrange marriages. We have the freedom of choice and most of us marry for love or for money. In Roman times, when the couple became engaged, there was usually a party (sponsalia). This is the same as today. We have engagement parties. But there was a difference. During a Roman engagement party a contract was signed. As part of the contract, the father of the girl had to provide a dowry (the price of buying a husband) such as a pair of gold earrings or silver drachmas (money). Today we have a party but we do not sign a contract or give a dowry. But, some people have a pre-nuptial agreement. These are becoming more common with people today because it solves a lot of problems when people later become divorced. We do not have a dowry but it is traditional for the father of the bride to pay for the wedding. ...read more.


On the night before the wedding, a Roman girl would dedicate her toys to the family gods for good luck. The house was decorated with flowers and the family busts were brought out. Today this does not occur and we do not dedicate anything to the family gods. On the wedding day itself, the Roman bride was dressed in an ankle length tunic, which was white. This is the same as today. The bride gets married in white. But, the Romans would wear an orange veil whereas today we do not wear an orange veil but we prefer a white veil. Even though the Roman bride would wear her hair in six plaits, which is different from today, we do our hair up especially for the occasion. The beginning of the Roman ceremony was the same as today. The priest asked the gods if it was a lucky day for the wedding, and if it was the ceremony was continued. But next, the Romans would sign a marriage register. This is different from today because we sign the register at the end of the ceremony. Witnesses watch this, as they also did in Roman times. The ceremony was basically the same in Roman times as it is today. We join hands and say special vows and prayers, as did the Romans also. The vows were partly different to those in the Roman era but they still have them in their own way. But, at the end of the Roman ceremony there would be a sacrifice of an animal, dedicated to the gods. Today we do not have this sacrifice at the end or even during the ceremony. After a Roman ceremony there was a wedding feast or reception, which was held at the bride's father's house. Today we have a reception also, (which is the same as the Romans) but we don't necessarily have it at the father of the bride's house like the Romans, we have it anywhere e.g. local pub or restaurant. ...read more.


At the reception in Roman times, there would be a feast of food and drink. Today we also have a feast of food and drink. Today we also have a feast of food and drink or it may even just be a meal, but the idea is the same. During a Roman reception there would be a toast, as the guests drank the health of the married couple and wished them luck. This is the same at wedding receptions today. In the evening of the wedding day there was a procession to the bride- groom's house. The bride carried a spindle and distaff in her hands, to show that as a wife, one of her jobs was to spin and make cloth. Boys ran in front, carrying burning torches. Behind came the guests and family singing and shouting. This procession does not take place at weddings of today. But, the family do sing and shout at the reception and at the end of the wedding. In the Roman era, the burning torches would be given as gifts to certain members of the wedding party or guests. We give gifts today aswell, but they are not the remains of burning torches. Normally gifts such as horseshoes to bridesmaids (which the Romans would have also), and a bouquet to who ever catches it when the bride throws it into the crowd. In Roman times, when the wedding party reached the house, the bride was welcomed by her husband and he carried her over the threshold to show that she was now mistress of the house. This is the same as today. A man would carry his wife over the threshold when first married,( this is done and still maintained to show who is boss of the house in both Roman times and today). The last thing is that of obediance. This was very important in Roman times to show that when the bride left her father, whom she would have had to obey, it was her juty to be obiedient to her husband. Today, there is greater equality in the married home. ...read more.

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