Most Roman marriages (especially in the above sphere) were entered into out of reason, not love. Political rivals, through the union of their children, could forge a lasting alliance between the houses and pursue politics together.
Fathers of married daughters often had to hand over a significant dowry to the groom. Where did the dowry come from in Rome?
When Rome ceased to be an agricultural city, the economic value of women declined. They no longer helped the farm, but only looked after the house when the man earned money. Therefore, a dowry appeared in place of the purchase price initially paid by the husband to his father-in-law at the wedding. Initially, it was due to the husband as compensation for supporting his wife. Since husbands did not always handle the wife’s dowry wisely, it was later available to the woman.
The separation of property often led to conflicts, so it came to a situation where the daughter’s father retained power over her even after the wedding when she got married. This ultimately led to a great deal of independence between wives and their husbands and made it difficult for the husband to repress his wife when she was not sexually faithful to him.
Grimal Pierre, Miłość w starożytnym Rzymie, Warszawa 2005
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