Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
Sign in to follow this  

Did Masters Ever Marry Slaves for Love?

Recommended Posts

In the early days of the Roman empire, a Roman would first have to free his slave before marrying her—one of the exceptions in the lex Aelia Sentia of 4 C.E. After tribunal, the slave would then be declared free and thus available for marriage.

My question has to do with the motive of the master to do this. Children is the likely reason. But was there ever a case where this was about love? Are there any accounts of masters/former masters having romantic ties with their slaves and marrying them?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

, Yes, but only after they had been manumitted. Other examples are masters buying back sold slaves because they just could not live without them. The Romans regard 'love' as something akin to emotional slavery but they were human and fell in love with each other just like anyone else. The problem for women was  that social mores were more restricted. Whereas men had some freedom of action women were not so liberated and association with slaves, probably including freedmen, would have been the source of scandal (thougha minority in the early principate did it it anyway).

However, it is true that women of status or elite family sometimes bribed a lanista to visit their favourite gladiator.Lust rather than love mostly, I guess, but it illustrates how women got around the barriers.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Map of the Roman Empire