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Denia

The hobbies of a Roman girl

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The father of my girl is definitely not pleased with the situation, but what can he do if no one wants to marry his daughter? I mean: he can not force his daughter into marriage if there's no bridegroom, can he?

So if the daughter says: "Dad, please be patient, I think XX likes me and is going to ask for my hand." Won't he listen to that?

(Maybe my idea of marriage is to romantic)

 

Despite all the background information about ancient Roman culture that you may accumulate, good characterizations will be essential to your story. You'll have to be consistent in your portrayal of your characters. So, if the father in your story is an authoritative and unyieldingly traditional pater familias, it will not be believable if he overly indulges his daughter in her whims regarding love and marriage. Unless, of course, you can show in your story how the father gradually changes his attitudes about tradition, and the effect this has on both the father and his daughter. Sholem Aleichem was a wonderful storyteller who did precisely this with his collected stories of Tevye's Daughters.

 

Anyway, good luck with your story!

 

-- Nephele

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Thanks, Nephele. I changed the girl

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I found this in Johnston's Private Life of the Romans

 

There were certain conditions that had to be satisfied before a legal marriage could be contracted even by citizens. The requirements were as follows:

 

(1) The consent of both parties should be given, or that of the pater familiās if one or both were in patriā potestāte. Under Augustus it was provided that the pater familiās should not withhold his consent unless he could show valid reasons for doing so.

 

(2) Both of the parties should be pūberēs; there could be no marriage between children. Although no precise age was fixed by law, it is probable that fourteen and twelve were the lowest limit for the man and the woman respectively.

 

(3) Both man and woman should be unmarried. Polygamy was never sanctioned at Rome.

 

(4) The parties should not be nearly related. The restrictions in this direction were fixed by public opinion rather than by law and varied greatly at different times, becoming gradually less severe. In general it may be said that marriage was absolutely forbidden between ascendants and descendants, between other cognates within the sixth (later the fourth) degree , and between the nearer adfīnēs .

 

 

If the parties could satisfy these conditions, they might be legally married, but distinctions were still made that affected the civil status of the children, although no doubt was cast upon their legitimacy or upon the moral character of their parents.

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Thanks for all the information about marriage. I will change my story a little to give the parents a more important role in this matter.

 

Something more about the reason I started this topic: hobbies.

 

If your character is of a noble family, she might spend her days at home with a private tutor who would teach her poetry (but not the poetry of that scandalous Ovid!). She might also study the use of a musical instrument, and some dance --

 

I thought Roman girls quit school when they were really young. Or is this something different from school?

 

And another question about weaving and embroidery: what did she make? Can

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And another question about weaving and embroidery: what did she make? Can

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As for your girl visiting the market or going to the baths with a friend... She would most likely have attendants of some sort go along with her, even if her mother were to accompany her. The streets and public places of Rome were not the safest, remember.

 

All right, I will have to keep that in mind.

 

And I understand I just had a very wrong view on weaving and spinning. I thought of it as hard work. But now my character is going to weave (whether she likes it or not :) ).

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And I understand I just had a very wrong view on weaving and spinning. I thought of it as hard work. But now my character is going to weave (whether she likes it or not :) ).

 

You're right that it's work, but girls were expected to do it, to do it well, and to take pride in it (though perhaps not as much pride as Arachne). No one would have viewed a girl who shirked her weaving as a free spirit--they would have viewed her as lazy and callow. If Jane Austen set a novel in ancient Rome, you can bet that the silliest girls in the household would be the ones pouting about their weaving.

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I'm assuming that your lass is upper class? As far as we know (from tombstone evidence) some working class girls often married later. You might like to look at the poems of Sulpicia for some insight into the mentality of a Roman teenage girl in love, and if you are in the early imperial period, a mention of the delights of Baiae might not go amiss.

 

Roman girls could sometimes be educated enough to terrify their male compartiots (Martila has a typically crude poem on the topic, and Juvenal unloads a rant on over-educated ladies too) so study is always an option. Also, a good filiafamilias would have helped mother with household administration if upper class, or even piled into the family business if lower.

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