Most women in ancient Rome were viewed as property of the men who they lived with.Basically they were handed from their father to their new husband at the time of their marriage and surrendered any property they owned, or dowry they were given, to their husband (Document 1).There were however two types of marriage in ancient Rome, manus and sine manus.Under thefirst type, manus, the woman and all of her property and possessions were placed under the control of her husband and he could do with them how he pleased.Under the second type, sine manus, the woman remained under the control of her oldest male relative, usually her father or brother.This type of marriage gave women a lot more freedom because they could carry out their own cash transactions, own their own property, and accept inheritance money (Document 1).
Apart from the two different forms of marriage that was allowed, marriages in ancient Rome were very similar to those of the ancient Greeks. Girls married young, usually in their early teens, and many marriages were arranged by the family, usually the male head of the household.The woman was given very little say in who or when she married, but she was allowed to turn down the offer if the man was of bad character (Document 1).A man could divorce his chosen wife for any reason that he wished, though if the reason was other than adultery then the man was made to give up one half of his property to his wife (Document 1).Some reasons that men divorced their wives were: Gaius Sulpicius Gallus:"He divorced his wife because he caught outdoors with her head uncovered.
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"Another, Quintus Antisius Vetus, divorced his wife, "because he had seen her in public having a private conversation with a common freedwoman."A third, Publius Sempornisus Sohus, divorced his wife, "because she had gone to the games without his knowledge." (Document 2) If a man found his wife guilty of adulte..